October 21, 2006

The "TNT campaign" flyers

As expected the TNT fireworks company is pulling out all the stops. Sor far FOUR color flyers mailed to thousands of homes in Lakewood. Campaign finance reports show "American Promotional Events, Inc., dba TNT Fireworks," in Fullerton, has as of Oct. 21 poured $40,000 in cash into a campaign to defeat Lakewood Measure D. The only other reported cash contribution as of Oct 21. is from the Lakewood Lions Club...for $250!! So I guess we can see who is really benefiting from the fireworks...TNT as they are the one spending the money to keep them.

That's a drop in the bucket given the size of TNT. The TNT flyer notes that "major funding" (like 99.9%!) for the flyers was provided by TNT Fireworks. The flyers lead you to believe that TNT is in Lakewood by using some residence address when the company is based in Alabama with a warehouse in Fullerton. [According to its website: "TNT® Fireworks is the largest distributor of 1.4G Class C Common Fireworks in the U.S....In 2004, TNT® partnered with Millennium Pyrotechnics, the UK’s largest privately owned importer and supplier of retail and display fireworks.]

The TNT flyers headlines mentions that clubs will miss out on $300,000 fireworks funding. Hmmm No mention of the likely $700,000 per year that TNT might loose. Do you think that is why TNT spent its money on the flyers? Oh and how many employees of TNT work in Lakewood? How many employees could TNT have in California when Chinese companies make the fireworks and clubs distribute and sell them for no wages? I guess those facts were not "relevant" to put in the flyer. (No one makes the fireworks here in the USA as that would cut into TNT's profit margin. Also no one in California would want to live near a fireworks factory (safe and sane or otherwise) as it would be too dangerous. That would be as popular as lining next to a prison or oil refinery.)

Quote from the TNT flyer: "The laws were enforced last 4th of July and there were no problems" Did TNT or any of the clubs offer to pay for part of this extra $100,000 police protection cost? NO. Did they assist with enforcement? NO. No problems? The problems were less than 2005 but by no means were there "no problems" Over 125 citations were issued in July 2006 (no word yet on the number of convictions from the $100,000 spent on law enforcement and the anti-fireworks abuse campaign)

The TNT flyers list 27 community groups but very cleverly does not mention that they all endorsed the flyer or the No on D measure. I suppose LAAG could send out a flyer with thousands of pets names on it saying they all support the YES on D Measure due to the fact that pets don't like fireworks (good thing for TNT that pets can't vote).

Quote from the TNT flyer: "Measure D won't prevent another Dunrobin [explosion]" Maybe, maybe not. Who knows. One thing is for sure: the less fireworks around the less likely that FIRES or explosions will happen. Would preventing one house fire (costing $600,000) be worth banning fireworks? Also there were other fires and explosions in Lakewood before Dunrobin where fireworks allegedly played a role. They just were not well publicized as they were smaller fires/explosions.

Another point. At the cross examination of the Sheriff's bomb squad detective in the Miller Dunrobin trial he was asked if it was possible that Miller was using powder and other components from safe and sane fireworks to create larger illegal fireworks. He said it was possible. But as much of the material was burned in the explosion it was had to know. Also Miller's attorney tried to use the legal fireworks use in the city as well as the lax attitude towards the "free for all" activity going on July 4th in Lakewood as justification for Miller's illegal use. Thats right. "Safe and Sane" fireworks being used as an excuse for illegal use. This tactic will likely be used in the hundreds of illegal fireworks prosecutions we have coming up. Once again "safe and sane" fireworks creating an atmosphere friendly to scofflaws. So when you hear "Measure D won't prevent another Dunrobin [explosion]", think again.

Finally as was argued in the Buena Park fireworks referendum in 2004, the issue really is not funding for the clubs but funding for the fireworks companies. The clubs just don't want to bother look for another source as they have been lead to believe (by TNT) that fireworks are the only, or at least an easy source, of quick cash, regardless of the price paid for their use by society as a whole. There is lots of discussion about team uniforms and other sports related subsidies that would be hurt by loosing fireworks. Of course none of this is detailed in any fashion. What percentage of the families with these young children allegedly benefiting from this subsidy actually are spending $100-300 per year on the very fireworks that the clubs are selling? Wouldn't it be simpler to cut TNT's huge profit motive out of the equation and take that money spend on smoke and sparks and donate it to the club and get a tax deduction on top of it? Don't you think that is what other cities do where there are no fireworks (the vast majority of cities in California) along with other corporate sponsorship grants? Think about it. You spend $100.00 on fireworks about 30% or so of that gets to the club. The rest goes to TNT. With a donation 100% goes to the club so you need 60-70% less money with TNT out of the equation. And no one has to work a booth selling fireworks!

The more you think about Measure D the more you realize a "YES" vote is the common sense way to go...

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