By Amelia S. Lopez |Planning Commissioner City of San Bernardino|
Recently, while visiting the university campus, I picked up the Chronicle and read an article on the raves at the National Orange show grounds.
The focus of the article was that San Bernardino City should not move the raves from the Orange Show to the San Manuel Amphitheatre located in Devore because the city is in dire financial straits and therefore needs the revenues the concert brings to the city.
I appreciate the point of view, but as always there is more to the story. I would like to offer another perspective.
First of all the City of San Bernardino took no legislative action to ‘move’ the rave concerts to Devore. That action was taken by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors who approved a contract with a production company to hold the events at the Amphitheatre in Devore. Devore has a county form of government.
It is a fact that San Bernardino city officials and especially residents complained and expressed concerns about the raves at the Orange Show grounds; including drugs, alcohol intoxication, public safety, destruction of private property, traffic congestion, noise and tons of liter on the surrounding streets after the concerts.
Who is responsible? Who pays the cost? I have nothing against concerts in general or any large scale special event. The question, however, that any city official must ask is “How is this venue going to impact the community at large?”
It is important to remember that the basic function of city government is to provide essential services needed by residents and the business community in order to thrive.
Essential services such as clean water, sanitation and other health code requirements to prevent disease, streets and roads, lighting and other utilities, zoning requirements to preserve residential areas and promote businesses and manufacturing; and of course public safety, such as fire, medical and police services. At the end of the day these services maintain and enhance the quality of life that we all want in our communities.
It is the community at large; residents, property owners and businesses who pay for these services through their taxes.
City officials have a difficult task weighing the pros and cons; the concerns of their constituents, the concerns of the business promoter, and deciding if it is good for the city. A question that is often asked by residents, “Is this the image that we want for our city, especially now that we are working so hard to change things for the better?”
I attended the September 21 Nocturnal Wonderland 2012 concert at the Orange Show to see for myself what precautions Insomniac Productions had in place to keep concert goers safe. I have to say that Insomniac was doing many things right, like providing more security, scrutinizing attendees at the admission gate and at the search gate where banned items were remove even before attendees enter the concert venue.
Free watering stations were provided to prevent dehydration, first aid stations and a medical triage were set up to handle emergencies.
The down side was that even with greater security police on the first night of the event had already arrested 29 people for drug offenses by 9 p.m. Alcoholic drinks of beer and liquor seemed to be dispensed in a manner that encouraged over consumption which usually leads to another set of problems.
I asked the doctor supervising the medical triage what were the three main problems being treated. He responded alcohol intoxication, drug overdose (ecstasy) and dehydration.
How much money the venue brings in to city, although much needed, is only one consideration.