"We believe that there are too many adverse effects in the community from the rave events, and these concerns are not new to the promoter and the National Orange Show," Police Chief Robert Handy said.
While at first embracing the shows because of the economic benefits they brought to the cash-strapped city, officials now believe the public-safety and nuisance issues they bring far outweigh those benefits.
In September, several police officers got into a physical altercation with several patrons at the annual event when officers attempted to arrest someone selling ecstasy, known as the "rave drug," to an undercover officer, Handy said.
And during the Escape from Wonderland show in October, promoter Pasquale Rotella refused to lower the music volume when police told him of noise complaints coming from as far away as Grand Terrace, Colton and Loma Linda, the chief said.
"The promoter was receiving a lot of negative feedback that the music wasn't loud enough, and they felt they were going to lose money, so they refused to turn the music down," Handy said. "They basically told us `you do what you want to do but we're going to do what we have to do to turn a profit.
Grand Terrace Councilman Bernardo Sandoval was one of several officials at a town hall meeting at the Lytle Creek Community Center in San Bernardino on Dec. 18 to address the complaints and concerns surrounding the shows.
He said homes near Blue Mountain in Grand Terrace were hardest hit by the vibrations emanating from the show.
"Windows were actually rattling inside houses when the raves took place," Sandoval said. "They completely ignored the concerns of the residents of Reche Canyon (in Colton), Grand Terrace and Loma Linda."
Neither Rotella nor representatives of his company, Insomniac Events, returned telephone calls and emails seeking comment.
It remains unclear if Live Nation Entertainment's getting approval from the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to hold electronic dance show events at the San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore is related to the problems in San Bernardino involving Rotella and his ever-popular soirees.
Bret Gallagher, vice president of Live Nation's Southern California and Las Vegas divisions, didn't return repeated emails and telephone calls seeking comment.
City Attorney James F. Penman said the city is considering filing narcotics- and nuisance-abatement actions against the Orange Show Events Center and Rotella in an effort to stop the shows.
He said the city used nuisance- and narcotic-abatement actions in 2011 to shutter the Hudson Theater, where drug sales and violations of the city's curfew occurred regularly.
"This office is prepared to use the abatement actions against National Orange Show if it comes to that. We hope that that will not be necessary," Penman said.
The news came as a surprise to Orange Show Events Center General Manager Dan Jimenez, who was under the impression things were fine.
"No one has contacted me and made any comments about coming after us aggressively," Jimenez said. "We're the only entity (in the city) that's making a positive economic impact."
According to an economic impact analysis prepared by Los Angeles-based Beacon Economics LLC for Insomniac Events, the two-day Nocturnal Wonderland event in 2011 generated roughly $11.9million in economic output countywide. Of that amount, $11.7million was in direct spending, and the event generated roughly $840,000 in state and local tax revenues in the county.
"It's incredible what happens the weekends that they're here," Jimenez said.
The potential loss of the tens of thousands of rave fans got an instant reaction from Tim Jenkins, general manager of the Hilton in San Bernardino.
"Don't do it," he said. "That would be a huge hit."
The city's hotels build their business plans around certain big events, raising rates well in advance, he said, and other than the Little League Western Regional playoffs, no event brings more money to hotels than the raves.
Guests aren't any more problematic than at other times during the year, he said, but they spend more.
"We get a lot of people that travel a long way with their daddies' BMWs and their daddies' credit cards, and they spend that money," he said.
Mayor Pat Morris isn't opposed to raves, but immediate economic benefits need to be balanced against residents' concerns, said Jim Morris, the mayor's son and chief of staff.
"Our first and foremost obligation is to ensure we don't have nuisances that arise from excessive noise levels," he said. "There have been raves in the past that followed those guidelines, then it seemed to backslide a bit."
The city plans to work with rave producers to mitigate issues as much as possible.
"The door is always open for discussion, but whether we're able to obtain that kind of compliance based upon discussions and mutual agreements about how they operate is an ongoing discussion," Morris said.
It's not just noise that concerns people like Marcus Gaede, though.
"People use all kinds of drugs, not just ecstasy, and there's a huge safety issue," said Gaede, who witnessed a drug-related death in 2007 and describes himself as an anti-drug activist.
Raves are often a hotbed of drugs and drug-related deaths, he said.
"There's a lot that's hidden, that people don't know about what goes on," Gaede said.
Handy said he will meet with Jimenez on Thursday.
In March, Rotella and several others were indicted in a scandal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum involving allegations of bribery, embezzlement and conspiracy. Rotella and the other five defendants are accused of stealing millions from the stadium.
Rotella has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney, Gary Jay Kaufman, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Jimenez said his experiences with Rotella have been nothing but positive.
"Our experience with Mr. Rotella has always been on a professional level. He has never ever given us any indication he has done anything wrong," Jimenez said. "He's been an incredible contributor to the city for a lot of nonprofits, and he's been trying his best to be a good neighbor."
Reach Joe via email, call him at 909-386-3874, or find him on Twitter @SBCountyNow.
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