Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
Well, last night the Costa Mesa City Council, during it's discussion of Wendy Leece's proposals for changes in the enforcement of our fireworks laws, affirmed that the elected leadership of this city really isn't interested in shutting down illegal fireworks. They passed both items on a vote of 3-1, with Eric Bever voting "no" and Katrina Foley absent on spring break.
FEW SPEAKERS AT THE MEETING
The fireworks issue - the last item on the agenda - had few speakers either for or against. No self-described "marketing guru". No pistol-packing planning commissioner. Those who did speak did so with controlled passion and respect. And, the upshot of all this hub bub was less than nothing.
ADMINISTRATIVE FINES AHEAD FOR VIOLATORS
Oh, yes, they voted to approve Leece's proposals to make the violations of our fireworks laws an administrative fine, thereby avoiding costly court proceedings. Any people apprehended discharging illegal fireworks or misusing legal ones will be cited and required to appear before a contract hearing officer. Any fines collected will go directly to the city. The maximum administrative fine will remain at $500.00
And, it was agreed that the use of 911 Reverse Technology - calling folks in so-called hot spots prior to the Independence Day holiday to provide information about safety and the fines - would be implemented. The cost is amazingly reasonable - less than $250.00 total, based on the staff report.
ONE GIANT STEP BACKWARD
Perhaps the biggest thing to come out of this was Gary Monahan's manipulation of the process to get the cap on the number of fireworks stands eliminated! Presently, if fewer permits than the authorized number are requested, the next year that number becomes the new cap. Monahan, horse trading in exchange for his vote, required his peers on the dais to authorize 40 fireworks stands, with no cap.
SAME OLD, SAME OLD...
Since only one citation was issued last year, nothing substantive came out of this process. Nope, the only thing that happened was that lots of folks vented their collective spleens on the Daily Pilot blog and Monahan succeeded in allowing even more fireworks to be sold in our city.
I GIVE UP!
I give up... I'm done trying to get folks in this city to give up fireworks. It's going to take a calamity to convince folks of the danger - something I sure don't want to see. So, have a great time on the 4th, neighbors, and please be careful.