Independence Day, 2009
SMITH FORCED MY HAND
Well, I'd planned to wait another day or two before posting anything about neighborhood fireworks celebrations this year, but Daily Pilot columnist and would-be nannie-to-us-all, Steve Smith, forced my hand.
BAD INFO FROM A BAD SOURCE
In his column today, HERE, Smith attempts to give us all some helpful pointers on the use of fireworks in our city. Unfortunately, he took his lead from one of my neighbors here on the Eastside - local high school hero, international track star, self-anointed marketing guru and 4th of July pyromaniac, Brian Theriot.
In his list of things to do when shooting off safe and sane fireworks - the only kind legal in Costa Mesa - includes the following sentence: "7) Only persons older than 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type." Well, that's just dandy, except for the fact that sparklers of any kind are specifically prohibited in Costa Mesa!
`CITY PRESS RELEASE
The City of Costa Mesa issued a press release on Monday outlining the city policy on the use of fireworks. Within that press release is the following paragraph: "Only fireworks classified as "safe and sane" by the State Fire Marshall can be discharged within City boundaries. Sparklers of any sort are prohibited. Fireworks can only be discharged on the Fourth of July between the hours of 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm. You must be at least eighteen years of age to discharge fireworks. It is illegal to throw, toss, project or position fireworks to come in contact with another person’s body, private property or real property. Possession, use or sale of even one illegal firework or illegal use of just one "safe and sane" firework is a violation of the City's Municipal Code. Violators will be cited and fined up to $500. " The emphasis was mine.
FIRST ILLEGAL FIREWORKS OF THE SEASON - LAST NIGHT!
As I was reading Smith's column late last night I heard the first illegal fireworks of the season, being discharged within a couple blocks of my Eastside home - on June 29th! It's that kind of flagrant disregard for the law that may get ALL fireworks banned from this city in the future.
FIREWORKS ARE TOO DANGEROUS
I've made no bones about my feelings about neighborhood fireworks. While they are fun and exciting, I think they are too dangerous - particularly for children. Take sparklers, for example. One reason they've been specifically banned from our city is that they account for a large segment of fireworks-related injuries to children nation-wide... depending on the report, anywhere from 15% to 35%. The heat generated by a sparkler is the same as a welding torch - over 1600 degrees!
GIVEN UP THE BATTLE, BUT NOT HOPE
My views on fireworks is well known. I'm a member of a very small minority in our city who thinks so-called safe and sane fireworks should be banned. Costa Mesa is one of only 5 cities in Orange County that still permit them. I know the sale of those fireworks form the foundation for funding all measure of youth sports programs in our area. (Click HERE for an excellent map provided on The Daily Voice that shows the sites of all fireworks stands in Costa Mesa this year.) I've given up that battle, but I've not given up hope that those brainless idiots among us who simply must import and fire off illegal fireworks will not ruin the festivities for the rest of you who enjoy them so much.
HAVE A SAFE, FUN 4TH
I hope each of you enjoys your Independence Day celebration on Saturday, and that you do so safely. I hope you'll have the courage to tell your neighbor who shoots off illegal fireworks that he's going to ruin it for the rest of you.
HERE'S A LITTLE INDEPENDENCE DAY GIFT FOR YOU
On that happy note I leave you with this wonderful July 4th fireworks display. Have a safe and sane celebration, neighbors.