July 6, 2008

As memories of the 3/06 Dunrobin explosion fade...

Well it looks like things are back to "normal" in Lakewood. Fireworks problems (legal and illegal) are "better" than they were in July 2004-2005 but not as good as 2006-2007 (post Dunrobin explosion March 2006). One thing is for sure: Lakewood fireworks users don't give a damn about fires in CA! "Just give us our damn fireworks!" For all this overtime we taxpayers are paying for I never saw one sheriff car this July 4 (compared to numerous sightings on July 4, 2006). Hmmm makes you wonder if they spent all that 2008 overtime sitting behind some store.....or watching those new flat screens in the new 20 million dollar sheriff "palace"...We also wonder what portion of Lakewood's sheriff overtime money was spent in Lakewood vs some other nearby cities. From some of the reports (see #5) it sounds as if we may need to call out the national guard. I do know no one at the Lakewood Station takes vacation on July 4, but it sounds to me like they might as well.

LAAG readers report they are not too happy either..here are some reports:

Report 1:

You may wish to be attentive to a news story, or other area resident's stories, regarding a drunk 18 year old igniting illegal fireworks and possibly a stick of dynamite near San Martin Park late last night. It is my understanding that a dozen homes in the area, and cars, were damaged by the blast, including the 18 yr old having a chunk of his leg blown off. Lakewood city hired 50 deputies on overtime (time and a half) to patrol the streets for firework scofflaws. They began at 2 pm and virtually had no activity until 8 pm. So for six hours, 50 deputies fed at the city trough. The new fines and citations won't begin to offset the costs of a police presence. The amount of illegal fireworks I witnessed didn't seem any less then any other year. When you consider the city costs for all of this, you'd think we would come out ahead if the city just went ahead and gifted public funds to the football/soccer/baseball/cheerleader or whatever who claim they can't make it without firework stands. It has to be less then what we are paying deputies to drive around. As for the news story, I haven't seen anything about it yet. But possibly you have some readers that live in the area that are more informed.

Report 2:

We saw a bunch of police cars near the park, but we didn't know exactly what was going on because we had our own issue going on over here. One of our neighbors was shooting off huge illegal fireworks and we called LASD but the only thing they did was come by an HOUR later, then they took one look around the street, found nothing and then left. The neighbors then continued shooting off illegal fireworks until 1 a.m. .... Seriously. This city is a JOKE.

Report 3:

Lakewood sheriffs are the laziest pieces of trash I have ever seen in my life. On the 4th of july our very inconsiderate neighbors fired numerous illegal fire works off and when I called the sheriff's department I got a volunteer that took my complaint and knew nothing about the laws on fireworks in Lakewood. I had to tell him the law on it!

Then I told him that these people here are shooting of the illegal fireworks and hiding them in a vehicle nearby. The stupid, lazy sheriff came one hour later, rolled up in their squad car with police lights on one block away and, of course, all the illegal activity stops. They did the same tactic last year.

If reports come out this year that there were less people cited or arrested, it's not because things are better, it's because the LASD have figured out how to do less work. The sheriff who finally came by, didn't even shine his lights into the vehicle that contained all the illegal fireworks.

Now, if you wanted to catch these people, WHY would you run the police lights up and down the block you might ask? Because they don't want to fill out all the paperwork that would be involved. And why don't they make more arrests? Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, and crap they would get from the jailers for making their 4th of july a lot more work-intensive.

What's the final outcome? Sheriffs are pissed off because they have to work on this holiday and they're going to do as little as possible; the jailers are pissed off if they have to do any extra work; and the law-abiding homeowners are pissed off because nothing is being done on their behalf; The only ones who benefit are the criminals who destroy property and maim others with not only illegal fireworks, but with "Safe and Sane" fireworks as well.

The other problem is that the so-called "Safe and Sane" people shoot off their fireworks right alongside the illegal people. So, next year I wonder what would happen if people put up signs in the neighboring cities that say something like: "THE CITY OF LAKEWOOD WELCOMES ALL FIREWORKS" because by not showing up and cleaning up this mess, that is essentially what they are doing--condoning it. And then call and call to report all the illegal activity going on. Videotape the illegal acts and send a copy to the Mayor and the rest of his Lakewood cronies who probably had a very good night's sleep last night.

Report 4:

I heard a similar story about this [stick of dynamite near San Martin Park], but it was my understanding that it was near Del Valle Park on Woodruff, not San Martin Park. What I heard was similar to what you said: a large explosive device, damaged cars and some drunk injured and arrested.

Report 5:

...With the shortage of trained Lakewood deputies, most of the two man cars assigned to firework abatement were filled on overtime by jail deputies with no patrol experience. And virtually in all of the contacts that deputies made during the night for fireworks, the were confronted with large groups of drunk individuals. Opting to get involved in a major disturbance or confrontation with odds not in their favor, most deputies avoided contact. They were outnumbered and back up wasn't always available. And in many areas of East Lakewood and Hawaiian Gardens, deputies were confronted with drunks firing handguns, rifles and shotguns in the air. Confrontations could have been tragic and the judgement of the deputies to become involved would have certainly been questioned. There wasn't anyway for them to come out with a win situation.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA
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