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Coliseum board reviews raves following death

July 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The commission that oversees the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum began discussing the future of raves at its landmark venue Friday as an event promoter announced an overhaul of security measures in the aftermath of the death of a teen who attended a rave at the stadium.The Coliseum Commission held a meeting to consider whether to extend a temporary moratorium on raves that was imposed after the recent 14th annual Electric Daisy Carnival that was attended by 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez who died from an apparent drug overdose.

It may be remembered as the rave to end all raves. At least the way the June event at the Coliseum was executed and policed.

"They should ban these," said parent Ed Lizama. "If they are going to have parties like this they should let parents and people know what kind of parties they are going to be."

Lizama said he had no clue until he saw pictures and learned of Rodriguez's death. The teen is believed to have taken the illegal drug Ecstasy, but autopsy results were being withheld pending the completion of toxicology tests.

Her family is now involved in legal action against the concert producer Insomniac Inc.

Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics handled 226 medical calls and took 114 people to hospitals during the course of the event. Drug overdoses and drunkenness were primary problems, a spokesman said.

Commissioners were given a 14-page preliminary report prepared by a private law firm that noted the Electric Daisy Carnival has grown from 29,000 attendees to this year's crowd of 185,000 in the four years it has been held at the Coliseum. Approximately 120,000 attended last year's two-day event .

The Coliseum board pledges action.

"I scheduled a special meeting today and instructed our management not to enter any new agreements for such events pending the results of today's meeting," said Coliseum Commission President Barry Sanders.

But there are many competing interests to balance.

"They are great," said Earl Simms of Los Angeles. "You feel like your heart is going to jump out of your chest. As soon as you walk in and hear the music it is an amazing feeling."

"What we have to do is make clear decisions about crowd control and setting limits," said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Yet Ridley-Thomas says an event like this nets the Coliseum as much as $1 million. That's jobs for the community during a terrible recession.

The report recommended a strict age limit of a 18 and older at raves and a requirement that a team of trained emergency room doctors be on site.

The concert producer Insomniac says it will also change its policy to restrict anyone under that age.

As a result of the troubled event, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted July 6 to create a multi-agency task force to investigate health and safety issues regarding rave-style events at public venues.

Under the proposal by Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Don Knabe, the task force will include members from city governments, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, the county Emergency Medical Services and Public Health commissions and community health providers to "identify the extent of public health concerns associated with rave parties."

"I don't think they should have these anymore. They are too dangerous," said Lizama.

In the wake of the controversy, another rave -- the annual Hard L.A. concert, originally set for Saturday at downtown's Los Angeles State Historic Park -- has been postponed until Aug. 7.

City News Service and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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