Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Fireworks Tonight?


ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE - ALMOST
From the looks of
the most recent agenda report, the Costa Mesa City Council meeting tonight, Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, should be fairly brief. There are a handful of hearings or, rather, re-hearings, that most likely will not require a lot of debate. Katrina Foley is off on spring break with her family, so it's unlikely that there will be much discussion on most of the issues.

FIREWORKS COULD CREATE FIREWORKS

However, o
ne item on the agenda, near the end, may cause some fireworks. That item is, in fact, Fireworks!

LEECE WANTS CHANGE
Wendy Leece has brought forward her proposals for the council to consider and, based on the staff report and attachments, promises to generate more than a little conversation.

WHOPPING TA
X PROPOSAL CAUSED ANGST
Since Lee
ce suggested a 20% tax on the sale of legal fireworks in our city recently, the Daily Pilot blogs have been on fire. Columnist Steve Smith has chimed in a couple times with his opinions and requests for solutions, HERE and HERE. Planning Commissioner Stephen Mensinger wrote a commentary on it, HERE, as did over-the-hill former star jock at Newport Harbor High School, UCLA and on the world track circuit, self-professed marketing guru Brian Theriot, HERE. Theriot, in fact, was a persistent poster on Smith's columns. I suggest you visit those articles and plow through the comment threads (bottom up, if you please) to get a feel for the passion that continues to exist on this issue.

SOLUTION? - FINES AND EDUCATION

Among the "sol
utions" to the fireworks problem that will be considered tonight are:
1) the issuance of administrative citations for those caught using fireworks illegally,
with the cap on such fines raised to $1,000.00. The use of a contract hearing officer to process these cases would cost less than the fines.
2) Determine "hot spots" and illegal fireworks problem areas and notify residents about firework safety and fine amounts using 911 Reverse technology - it would cost around $250 to do that.

I DON'T THINK IT WILL WORK...

Frankly, I think neither will do the trick. The problem here is not fines and n
otification - it's catching the folks in the act using fireworks illegally. There simply are not enough resources available to be effective in enough areas of the city. I suppose, though, that if a few folks are fined $1,000 for such an infraction it may make others think twice next year before violating the law.

WILL ANYONE SHOW UP?

It will be interesting to see how many folks show up for this item on the agenda tonight. As always, the festivities begin at the Costa Mesa City Council chambers at 6 p.m.

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