The business of these illicit concerts and music parties has thrived for years in L.A. and elsewhere, despite operating in violation of fire and building ordinances.
The events generated little scrutiny from public officials until earlier this month, when the deadliest fire in modern California history cast a tragic spotlight on the dangers.
Flames swept through the Ghost Ship, an illegally converted warehouse in Oakland where a concert was underway. Thirty-six people died.
Los Angeles’ record of cracking down on such concerts has been sporadic and infrequent at best, according to city data and interviews.
The underground clubs present shows within blocks of L.A. Fire Department stations, but the agency has cited fewer than 10 of them in the last three years.
The feckless city Building and Safety Department says its inspectors do not take the initiative to look for violations in areas known for the music pop-ups, such as downtown’s industrial and fashion districts.
Rather, the lazy department employees waits for someone to file a complaint about a specific address.
Los Angeles has not seen a catastrophe on the scale of the Ghost Ship. But experts said the city is at risk given the size of its music scene and the large number of warehouses and other properties whose owners are willing to host concerts.
Read the whole story in the LA Times