Ravers Take To Facebook To Protest Proposed Law That Would Ban Raves On Public Land In California
Ravers got on their feet this week to "protect your right to dance" after a state lawmaker proposed a ban on raves at public venues.
The "Anti-AB 74" Facebook page went up almost as soon as Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, a San Francisco Democrat, proposed the bill in response to the rave-related ecstasy deaths of three people this year -- a 15-year-old who attended a June event at the L.A. Coliseum, and two men who went to a Halloween party at the Cow Palace in the Bay Area.
The Facebook page only had about 70 fans so far. Meanwhile ...
... Pasquale Rotella, the man behind the controversial Coliseum event, Electric Daisy Carnival, issued a statement through a representative late Wednesday, even though he has indicated that he doesn't consider his events to be raves:
"There's nothing criminal about producing events featuring popular music. Electronic dance music events and festivals are produced successfully worldwide. We are disappointed with the Assemblywoman's decision to introduce a bill that ignores our First Amendment rights. We share her concerns about safety and that's why we have worked so closely with local government and law enforcement to develop effective guidelines for safe events."
Likewise, the Facebook group states that Ma's Anti-Raves Act of 2011 discriminates against an entire youth culture.
Ma's bill expresses "ignorant and biased views on the entire electronic dance music community ... She wants to ban an entire culture in which hundreds of thousands of people are a part of in this state in order to solve a drug problem which is not unique to the rave scene, yet electronic dance music is her sole target."
Ma says that "raves foster an environment that threatens the health and safety of our youth. The introduction of AB 74 is the first step toward eliminating these dangerous events."
Earlier this month the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, an appointed body of public officials that oversees the Coliseum and Sports Arena, voted to allow raves to continue at those venues with the caveat that the next Electric Daisy Carnival must come before it for a specific vote of approval next year.
Added: Ma's proposal would overrule that vote and outlaw raves at those state-affiliated venues.
The commission already set the minimum age of the parties at 18 after 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez, who had attended last June's 16-and-up party, died of an ecstasy overdose.
What do you think? Are raves just an excuse to drop E, or are they a celebration of the music?
Update: Ma responds in an interview with the Weekly Thursday afternoon:
I am active on Facebook so I appreciate the protest," she said. "And I appreciate these questions coming in" about the proposed law.
Ma says ravers will be included in the "stakeholders" who will help her shape the legislation over the next year.
"I'll hold hearings to figure out how to further refine this bill so it is the best bill we can craft," she said. "It's going to change significantly I believe from today until November. It's going to be based on input from all stakeholders."
Make no mistake, however, the lawmaker thinks raves are generally bad news:
"One death is too many," she said, referring to the three rave-related deaths in California this year.