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Mailbag: Plenty of good with legalized fireworks

January 09, 2013

In reading your article in the Independent today, you seem to illustrate the negatives of the fireworks program. 

It was set as a two-year trial period; in the first year, 10 local nonprofits benefited from more than $400,000 in revenue for four days of effort.

It is anticipated in 2013, with additional groups totaling 20, the sales volume will increase to more than $1.5 million gross and at least a 50% increase in funds raised for local nonprofits, totaling perhaps $750,000 dollars. It would be a great disservice to the community nonprofits to eliminate this on personal ideology of various council members without a citywide ballot on the specific subject for a citizen decision.

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Council is elected to financially manage the city, not  promote private agendas.

There was a $58,000 inspection fee assessed by the city on these groups for a purported inspection team when in fact no additional personnel were hired for these duties and all hands are already on deck with no leave on the 4th holiday every year; so it was just an enrichment to the public trough at the expense of local children's groups.

Plus the city was enriched by its share of the sales tax on nearly $1 million worth of retail sales — way more in four days than a small local retail establishment might gross in a year.

There were no violations found by these so-called inspection teams resulting from "safe and sane" fireworks, only from illegal fireworks.

The police and fire were unable to keep up with calls for illegal fireworks in years past so it is not fair to blame response time in 2012 on legal, "safe and sane" fireworks violations when none existed. No specific major event call was related to the violation of "safe and sane" fireworks per the council report after July 4th.

Public safety departments by design and culture are, and will always be, against anything that requires them [to perform] additional duties to do the job they are paid to do by taxpayers — to seek out illegal activity.

Fireworks are a tradition and a moneymaker for all involved and a bureaucratic decision will not result in eradication, just underground activity, as when prohibition was unsuccessfully cast upon an unwilling populous.

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