Citizen Scher

Officials in Kensington, Calif., might have thought they heard the last of former Bill Graham Presents exec Danny Scher once his protracted battle with Contra Costa County officials over his backyard amphitheatre ended in December.

Scher was awarded nearly $30,000 in legal fees and other expenses stemming from the dispute and the county enacted an events ordinance restricting him to three events a year at his private shed, dubbed Coventry Grove.

If they thought that was the end if it, they were wrong. Scher recently took out papers to run for a seat on the Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District Board and, he says, he’s “in it to win.”

Scher told Pollstar he thinks a small group of neighbors targeted him for holding a 2004 fund-raising concert at his 300-seat Coventry Grove on behalf of then-presidential candidate John Kerry.

Over a period of two years, he was cited three times for holding similar concert benefits at his home without permits. The citations were dismissed by a judge in December.

“In all of the years that I had my hassle with the community, Kensington, and Contra Costa County, I never had a single vote of support by any elected or appointed official,” Scher said. “Not one person ever said, ‘Let’s try to look at it from Danny’s side,’ except for the chief of police, and they ran him out of town!”

So when members of the police protection board approached him to serve on a citizens’ commission to discuss the departure of the chief, he turned them down – and promised to run against them for their own seats.

“The good news is, if I win there is only one meeting a month,” Scher said, laughing. “But I am doing this to win. I’m doing this to bring tolerance and civility back into our community. Because there are just a few people that have convinced the county and the elected officials to do things that violate freedom of speech.”

Whether he’ll hold a fund-raising concert at Coventry Grove for his own campaign remains to be seen.

– Deborah Speer