April 3, 2007

Stockton CA City Council bans 'safe and sane' fireworks

As you can see the police and fire departments think outlawing safe and sane will draw more illegal fireworks into the city. Well had they read the LACFD report from 2005 (see our story here ) they would know that it has just the opposite effect, much to the dismay of the smoke and fire (safe and sane) peddlers.

By David Siders
Record Staff Writer
April 04, 2007 6:00 AM

STOCKTON - The City Council outlawed fountains, spinners and other backyard fireworks Tuesday, ruling even fireworks designated by the state to be "safe and sane" are a hazard.

The prohibition - affecting fireworks that typically do not fly or explode - formalizes a ban the city enforced for years, before finding last year that no rule existed. It allows officials to confiscate the fireworks they find.

Fire and police officials warned legalizing even some fireworks might prompt the peddlers of illegal fireworks - fireworks that are not designated by the state to be safe and sane are illegal across California - to sell dangerous firecrackers and rockets near legitimate stands. Police have more important work to do than to regulate the industry, Police Chief Wayne Hose said.

The council grieved briefly for the pyrotechnic spirit of the Fourth of July; that sentiment did not prevail. "This is for the safety of our community," Councilwoman Rebecca Nabors said.

A fireworks company and Stockton Baptist School, which sells fireworks to raise money but has previously had to travel to do so, said fireworks are a tradition worth having. They have said the designation "safe and sane" suggests the state does not find such fireworks hazardous.

TNT Fireworks Inc.'s Don Pascarella asked the council to "give it (legalized fireworks) one try."

Fireworks designated by the state to be safe and sane are legal unless a local body votes to prohibit them. Fireworks are legal in Manteca, Ripon and Escalon, but not in Tracy, Lodi or unincorporated San Joaquin County.

The council's decision to ban fireworks followed the city's announcement this year that it was too dangerous to continue the public fireworks display at Weber Point. Deputy Fire Chief Dave Hafey said Tuesday that the city is close to a deal with a private landowner to launch the show from a different place.

Contact reporter David Siders at (209) 943-8580 or dsiders@recordnet.com. Visit his blog.

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