Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Final thoughts - Monterey Music Summit

In the wake of the indefinite postponement of The Monterey Music Summit, I got to say I'm pretty bummed — but more so embarrassed.

Sure, the county supes approved use of the Laguna Seca venue, however begrudgingly. But they did some back door stuff to make it harder for event organizers to go on.
With the billing of the event as a carbon-neutral, eco-friendly endeavor, free water and public transportation, even a visit from Buddhist monks, the county supes and Sheriff's office still thought it necessary to charge extra for security, to the tune of $30,000-plus.

Do Buddhist monks serve as a potential risk to public safety?

Of course, there was the presence of that one tall, lean, black rapper named Snoop Dogg. While it's hard to ignore any potential spark for gang violence in the wake of a double homicide in Salinas over the weekend, the way the Sheriff's department handled the situation was profiling at the least, blatant racism at the worst.

Snoop and his entourage were expected to endure a search by Sheriff's deputies, the only band required to do so on the bill. Out of 70 bands and artists, Snoop's crew was expected to be cool with this one "request."

Who does that? I mean, seriously, how are you going to allow a show to go on only if one black guy and his friends/managers/roadies are ordered to be held under a microscope?

The county supes allowed it, demanded it, essentially, to ensure piece of mind. Really, they were just making it more difficult for promoters to put on the show.

Which is sad and frustrating and, again, embarrassing. I'm embarrassed that elected officials in my region went along with this. Didn't someone tap one of these guys/girls on the shoulder and whisper in their ear "hey, this could be viewed as a bit racist, you know."

I'm venting, but seriously, we have just exposed ourselves as small-town, non-sophisticates who are unable to have a good time without proper authorities standing watch under lock and key.

This is the message our elected officials have chosen to send to the youth: don't trust anyone unless you can pat them down first. Then, make sure you milk them for all they have.

It will be a while before all of this gets settled down and we can look forward to name pop music acts coming through for large venue shows. This is an embarrassment to anyone in the county who has bought or downloaded a CD in the last five years.

The crusties got their wish. I hope they feel safer now that the threat has been averted. Meanwhile, gangs continue to run the streets of Salinas. Too bad we can't charge them an extra $30k to stay away.

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