Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Independence Day Holiday Weekend Safety

This year the Independence Day Holiday will be a very different event than in previous years. This year we may have the perfect storm for calamity in our city.

Let's get this part out of the way first. While I love a good professional
fireworks show, I am not a fan of so-called "safe and sane" fireworks. I've written about it for several years and my opinion has not changed. However, I realize I may be a minority of one in our city, and, with that in mind, I wanted to remind you of some facts about this holiday.

Costa Mesa is one of the very few cities in Orange County that permits the sale and discharge of "safe and sane" fireworks. In years past that typically meant that you could purchase fireworks in the city and families could put an exclamation point on their neighborhood holiday celebrations by shooting off an array of fireworks - most of which were acquired at booths throughout the city that sold them to provide funding for a variety of organizations. Usually it was youth sports groups that were the beneficiaries.

This year, however, our city council changed the rules. Not surprisingly, they've decided to put the funding of youth groups before public safety
- in a variety of ways. This year you can purchase fireworks from booths in Costa Mesa from Thursday, June 30th through Monday, July 4th. AND, you can also legally discharge them from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on July 2nd, 3rd and the 4th, which means an entire weekend of traumatized pets and sleepless nights.

It also means that those folks who journe
yed over to Pahrump, Nevada and other venues to purchase ILLEGAL fireworks are going to put their neighborhoods in jeopardy over the entire weekend. Heck, it's already started on the Eastside of town where I live.

The City has made available to you a Public Service Announcement on the city web site via streaming video, HERE, and on Costa Mesa TV, Channel 24 on Time Warner Cable and Channel 99 on ATT U-Verse, that will be instructive for those of you even thinking about possibly firing off illegal fireworks. It will also be useful for you to view if you and your neighbors are just going to shoot off those "safe and sane" products you bought to support your favorite youth sports program. Here's the play schedule for the CMTV presentation:


Adding to the potential for chaos this weekend is the fact that 1) the Police
Department is working with a severely reduced staff; 2) the Fire Department staff is stretched thin and 3) the A.B.L.E helicopters will make their last flights on Thursday, June 30th and will not be available to support our diminished public safety organizations over the weekend. Some of you planning to fire off ILLEGAL fireworks may cheer this situation, but if your actions cause the loss of life or property or the injury to anyone, I think you'll change your tune.

I hope you all will exercis
e good judgment when discharging fireworks this weekend. Even the "safe and sane" fireworks can be dangerous if mishandled. An injury to a child is a stiff price to pay for a little carelessness or inattentiveness. Please be safe this holiday. And, oh, yes...


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Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Hi Geoff,

I know you are not a minority of of one. In fact the community seems pretty evenly split by all indications on the issue.

I love fireworks and have always enjoyed the ones we set off at home. I will admit that they have become far less dramatic and outrageously expensive for what they are over time, but I still enjoy them.

That being said, I am appalled and disgusted by with the lack of responsibility that a number of our city's residents exhibit by setting off illegal and modified fireworks. Those activities represent a significant danger to everyone.

Your comment about injured children is also a point that should not be taken lightly. Children should be well supervised around fireworks by adults that are not under the influence of alcohol, pharmaceuticals, etc.

I wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day celebration!

6/29/2011 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Original Max said...

I'd much rather watch a professional fireworks show at The Fairgrounds than worry about my roof catching fire (my neighborhood does tons of illegal fireworks). A few years back I had one burn a shingle. Had the rocket burned any longer it might have burned through it.

I would support a fireworks ban if we could get The Fairgrounds to host a community Fourth of July celebration where you could select what local school or local charity half of your admission fee would go to.

Having said that, Happy Fourth! We live in one pretty awesome country ever since our independence from England.

6/29/2011 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger patches said...

I for one, am not thrilled about three days of fireworks.So, this is about bringing in more money for the football teams? Um, I'm guessing they have kids attending high school. How nice, that they will look like such heroes to the coach but what about the rest of the citizens? What about the child with asthma? What about the seniors with breathing problems? Were they taken into consideration? I think not! Three days of smoke polluted air!Any hospital bills,SEND TO RIGHEIMER C\O C.M.CITY COUNCIL

6/29/2011 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Brigham said...

Can't believe I accidentally followed a link to this crap. I was expecting something bad about the nuts running Costa Mesa, instead I got this rambling paranoia from an even bigger nut.

Do you know what's way more dangerous than fireworks? Christmas Trees. Kill more, injure more, cause more fires, destroy more property.

This isn't based in any reality, it's just a panicked, knee-jerk reaction from somebody who's scared of things that go boom.

6/29/2011 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Geoff... I am looking forward to my family lighting some safe and sane fireworks on the FOURTH. We will support Kaiser elementary school as the funds will go to their science program. They spent the last of the money donated by an anonymous donor (I think $1M+).

My concern for the day is my 165 lb. Mastiff chewing our laundry room door up. Can I send the bill to the boys?

You forgot to mention Avi as a place to get the fun fireworks. Its a great Indian casino on the Colorado river. Nice pool, $.99 buffet, cheap tables and a movie theatre.

6/29/2011 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Snowden, Sr. said...

Geoff: Nice of you to post John Wayne reading America Why I love Her. It is a terrific piece. It was written by Robert Mitchum's brother John Mitchum.
Perfect reminder of what a great country we live in.
Thank you.

6/29/2011 04:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Gail said...

My family has had 2 really bad experiences with fireworks.

In the first case, a 3 year old neighbor boy was in his backyard with his parents when he heard fireworks going off in his front yard. He ran around the side of the house and into the front yard, ---- and directly into a fire cracker in mid air (at his eye level). Needless to say, the fire cracker put the little boy's eye out. As I approached the screaming child I could see his eye hanging down his cheek by what looked like a string. Although he was rushed to the hospital, the eye could not be saved. This boy is grown now and has had to wear a glass eye all these years ----- due to "safe and sane" fireworks.

In the second case, neighbors down our street decided to launch what I must assume were illegal fireworks (and they still continue to do so, --- every year, without fail). One of them landed on our roof and caught it on fire. Thank God we were home that year, and not at the fireworks show we usually attend. It happened so fast we didn't even have time to call the fire department. Everyone grabbed a hose from different faucets and aimed them at the fire. Within 5-10 minutes the fire was under control. As a result of this incident, we no longer leave our home unattended on the 4th of July. This year we will be house bound for 5 days due to the recently relaxed Costa Mesa laws.

I can only hope people will be careful with their fireworks this year. What happened to our home could easily happen to YOUR home. I sure hope our city council members read my comment. We don't need anymore children losing an eye!

Our council is leaving the city wide open to a nasty lawsuit over this year's fireworks regulations. In all other respects, however, my family supports this city council.

6/29/2011 04:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Paco said...

Wow, 1st off Bottabringham go find another link. If the the crap you don't like on this link, it's simple skip it. Gail, all caused by illegal fireworks. Safe and sane fireworks are safe in the right hands. It is a great fund raiser for our youth activities. Let's go after our illegal fireworks first. Opps, we do not have our ABLE program to support such efforts. Have a safe 4th of July.

6/29/2011 09:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Captain Kirk said...

Mr. West,

Finally something you write about I agree with. Yes, I am a big supporter of the Council you have so much negativity for but on this issue, I agree. I would support a complete ban on all fireworks in our city. People should be encouraged to attend professionally produced events and not express their inner pyromaniac needs in the streets. I never understood the fascination people have with all this. Must be some very primitive need to play with fire. I grew out of that need at about age 12 because it was too expensive and I found it boring.

Historically, as soon as fireworks go on sale, people start shooting them off so I don't know how much different things will be now it is legal to shoot off sooner. On the positive side, this is a one year experiment that will be reevaluated next year. Hopefully there will not be any serious injuries and we can at least go back to celebrating the 4th on the Fourth.

6/29/2011 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Dear fellow CM residents,
If you have any problems and/or concerns
after this four-five day firework fest, please
come to the CM City Council meeting at CM City
Hall at 6 pm, July 5th and voice them.

6/30/2011 12:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Council or Residents the issue? said...

To link illegal fireworks with safe & sane demonstrates a lack of understanding. A very few folks will say anything to say negative things against this Council.

Newport Beach has outsourced, Costa Mesa has not. NB plans more. Yet their residents are not up in arms.

I think this speaks more about Costa Mesa residents than it does about a City Council.

Good news is this weekend we celebrate our rights to be able to share our differences.

Light'm if you got'm.

6/30/2011 07:45:00 AM  
Anonymous HereWeGo! said...

I hope the PD forwards the fireworks/disturbance calls at 1001 pm right to the the Council.

A few vocal advocates will say there were no problems. I'm sure this year will be awful.

I hope that there are LOTS of videos available on the 5th!

6/30/2011 08:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Woe is you said...

I'm wondering how it must be to go through life always believing that the worst will happen. When we wake up on July 5 and discover that the city is not in flames and that many youth programs that are suffering from a lack of revenue suddenly have more cash than before because of extended sales, you will owe the council majority an apology. And because I'm an optimist, I look forward to reading that.

6/30/2011 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

And, conversely, if bad things DO happen over the weekend, what kind of a response will you be looking for from the council majority?

6/30/2011 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Sheesh! The shills and suck-ups really got their marching orders on this one.

Next: Fitzpatrick will become a human bottle rocket with strategically-placed charges in his body, soaring skyward carrying a giant banner that says "I'm a Riggy/Menssy Kinda Guy."

6/30/2011 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

I share your disdain for safe and sane fireworks, but from the other side. Grandfather was a southron gentleman (former superintendent of Saint Louis schools), and he drove us to Hematite, MO, on Christmas day with a case of greasy yellow dynamite behind the driver's seat. His ostensible purpose was to eliminate an objectionable stump in the pasture. We rammed a hole under it with a crowbar, and dropped in two sticks of dynamite, the top one capped and fused. When it went off, it rained cow manure for about half a minute, and all that remained of the stump was sawdust. It was a proper southron way to celebrate, and it's appropriate for Christmas, New Year's, and the fourth of July: our freedom was bought with gunpowder, loud noises, and stubborn intestinal fortitude, and a supreme disregard for personal safety.

Posting on your website, Geoff, with the current city council, has some strong elements of the latter three, and I expect Tuesday's city council meeting will not be without some fireworks. See you there.

Viva la cherry bombs!!

6/30/2011 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Take action said...


If you know who the neighbors are who set off illegal fireworks - call the cops!

6/30/2011 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous For What It's Worth said...

Why are we teaching our children to play with matches and play in the street?

That's what you are doing if you throw block parties or encourage home based fireworks.

Monkey see, monkey do.

6/30/2011 11:54:00 AM  

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