Nearly three months after the tragic Ghost Ship fire that took 36 lives, Oakland police are taking action.
The new Oakland police directive issued Friday requires “all personnel to report unlicensed cabarets and unpermitted special events” in detail to the Special Event Unit.
In other words, police are cracking down on underground parties.
Leading up to the Ghost Ship fire, such events were broken up — even dozens of times — but never cited, despite illegally selling booze, use of drugs, and charging cover without permits.
But, as the Oakland police department strives to prevent another warehouse tragedy, others argue this will force ravers even further underground, and the arts may suffer.
An organizer with the Oakland Warehouse Coalition, Jonah Strauss, believes it’s a misguided attempt that won’t keep the partiers safe. Furthermore, “this will not encourage any underground spaces to go get a special events permit.”
Permits can be expensive, and a hardship for struggling artists and musicians who want to make it on the scene. Days after the fire, Mayor Libby Shaaf granted $1.7 million in philanthropic funds to support affordable and safe options for local artists and organizations.
How these new orders and grants will affect the underground rave scene is unclear, but one thing is for sure… police, artists, and the community need to work together to find a way to party safe.
Source: East Bay Times