September 19, 2007

Seaside CA residents want fireworks ban

Seaside residents split on fireworks ban
Some worry about noise, others about loss of revenue for nonprofits
Herald Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 09/14/2007 01:40:45 AM PDT

Dog owners in Seaside who complain that they have to sedate their pets on the Fourth of July may just have to keep a few bottles of Puppy Prozac handy.

Residents who say their neighborhoods sound like wars zones come Independence Day pleaded with the City Council on Thursday to ban "safe and sane" fireworks.

But a majority of attendees at the special council session expressed support for continuing the traditional fireworks sales, saying a ban on legal fireworks would hurt nonprofits that depend on the revenue generated from the yearly sales.

"I'm not really sure that banning fireworks is going to solve the problem. I think there are a lot of things we need to talk about before we ban fireworks," said Mayor Ralph Rubio. "We need to talk to neighborhoods, we need to talk to businesses. There have got to be ways to keep (safe and sane fireworks) and keep the city safe and keep it clean. Mostly, what we are concerned about are the things that fly and the things that go boom."

Fireworks opponents hoped a ban on legal fireworks would discourage the use of illegal ones.

Nine-year resident Dwight Marshall said the noise was so bad that he had to leave town for at least four days over July 4.

"If we don't do something, it's going to be a more serious problems every year," he said. "You're going to lose people who are going to leave the town of Seaside. It's not just the Fourth of July, but at least a month before and a month after, you've got explosions
going off all over the place."

The city has allowed the sale of safe and sane fireworks for more than 40 years, and sales are conducted by church organizations and service clubs. Marina, Greenfield, Gonzales and Soledad also allow the sale of the safe and sane fireworks, which don't shoot up in the air or cause explosions.

Mel Mason, former president of the Monterey Peninsula branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement sent to the council that banning illegal fireworks would not curtail their use.

"The immediate beneficiaries (of safe and sane fireworks) are the many community-based organizations that serve youth," Mason said. "Ultimately, it is our youth who benefit from these yearly sales, through organizations that are generally volunteer-run, without agency type infrastructure, financially beleaguered and always struggling to work miracles without a magic wand."

Most who support a fireworks ban said it is the best way to keep the influx of illegal fireworks out of the city.

"I understand safe and sane fireworks, but I'm talking about pyrotechnics," said five-year resident Murray Macdonald. "The stuff is going off so loud that the foundation of my house shakes. I have to sedate my dog. I would like to see the work of the nonprofits continue, but if the legal fireworks can't be distinguished from the illegal fireworks, there should be a zero-tolerance policy."

La Bridga Adams suggested that a task force be created to search out illegal fireworks so the sale of legal fireworks could continue.

"My concern is that these children who work in this community suffer for something that the bad guys are doing," she said.

City staff members will come back to the council with alternative suggestions to banning legal fireworks at a future meeting.

Andre Briscoe can be reached at 646-4436 or

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | | Lakewood, CA
A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™

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