A two-year trial to reintroduce safe and sane fireworks in Huntington Beach after a 25-year ban expires on Friday, according to the O.C. Register.
The issue has quickly become a partisan scrum. H.B. Councilman Joe Shaw, a liberal Democrat, posted this message on his Facebook page today:
Don Hansen will be running his candidates for City Council next year: Devin Dwyer and Barbara Delgleize and Matthew Harper will be joining with TNT fireworks to put fireworks on the ballot in 2014. They will gather signatures and it will be paid for by TNT. Devin Dwyer <email@example.com>; Barbara Delgleize
com>; Matthew Harper <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
E-mail them now and let them know what you think.
He followed that screed up with this message:
Here’s what happens: a fireworks company comes to town, doles out campaign contributions to whomever will support fireworks – in this case the Hansenistas – Dwyer, Delgleize & Harper – and the fireworks companies go along bring along their sure-fire scheme – let school children sell them and we’ll share the profits. What they don’t tell you is that you will be inundated with illegal fireworks and law enforcement will be overwhelmed. In a city where we see an influx of 500,000 people on the Fourth, the possible amount of illegal fireworks brought into the city are impossible to do anything about it. If the fireworks companies were honest and upright they would recommend using those profits to shore up enforcement efforts against illegal fireworks. But it’s a whole marketing scheme that works for them. Meanwhile our citizens -many of them seniors- and their companion animals live in terror for several days.
Schoolkids selling fireworks? That seems inconceivable. It turns out Shaw was flat out lying. Click here to read the H.B. fireworks ordinance, which clearly states that “No person under the age of eighteen (18) shall sell or participate in the sale of “Safe and Sane Fireworks” within such stand.”
Shaw clearly would rather spend the fireworks money on more cops, on overtime of course, than let charities make the money. What is he thinking? Perhaps he doesn’t understand what selling fireworks means to families and the youth organizations in H.B.? He is a single man and he has no kids, according to his Facebook page.
I have four kids and this week my wife and I volunteered at two fireworks stands in Santa Ana, for the local Little League team and for my ten-year old son’s fifth grade science camp fund. We worked a total of six hours and I personally sold at least $1,500 in that time. At least 40% of that money went directly to these non-profit organizations.
You want to know who benefit from fireworks sales? Click here for a list of the non-profits in Santa Ana that ran the 75 fireworks booths in our city. Note the list is full of churches, schools, and youth sports leagues. Clearly Shaw doesn’t care about such organizations, does he?
So was the 4th of July really a criminal hotbed in Huntington Beach? Let’s go to the scoreboard: In Huntington Beach, which years ago was the site of Fourth of July yard pissings, fistfights and riots with police cars overturned and set on fire, there were 22 arrests from midnight to midnight, July 4-5, according to the OC Weekly. Newport Beach, by comparison, had 100 arrests. Santa Ana had zero arrests for fireworks, according to the New Santa Ana blog, and 27 arrests overall.
So why is Shaw really all that upset about this issue? Let’s go back to his Facebook page. Here is what he wrote “In a city where we see an influx of 500,000 people on the Fourth, the possible amount of illegal fireworks brought into the city are impossible to do anything about it.”
Now hang on a minute. This anti-outsider point of view that Shaw is suddenly expressing with regard to fireworks stands in stark contrast to what he has said about saving the Huntington Beach fire pits. Check out what he told the New York Times:
Joe Shaw, a city councilman in Huntington Beach, said the tradition of gathering around fire pits at night “epitomizes the California dream of so many.” Each weekend, scores flock to Huntington Beach’s more than 500 fire pits, which bring in an estimated $1 million annually for the city in parking fees alone.
“I grew up in Oklahoma, and when I was a kid, all I could do was wish that I could live someday in a beach town where they surf all day and clambake all night,” Mr. Shaw said. “That’s what California is to a lot of people. Let’s preserve that.”
Didn’t they have legal fireworks in Oklahoma too? We all grew up with safe and sane fireworks and it wasn’t until NIMBYs and local politicians outlawed them that they became much of an issue.
It seems like Shaw is saying that he would like for Orange County residents to NOT come to his city on the 4th of July, which means of course that they would not spend any money on parking or on restaurants, bars, or local stores and snack shops.
Hang on, doesn’t Shaw know that this attitude is anti-business? Well here is the rub. Guess what Shaw does for a living? According to his City Council bio, “he is currently a partner in a public affairs consulting firm.” Well there you go. There are no bigger rats in our County than the public affairs types who litter our local government – and who make a living in government while supposedly serving the public.
Now mind you I am no fan of H.B. Councilman Matt Harper, but if Harper is looking to put the sale of safe and sane fireworks in H.B. on the ballot this blog will support that effort 100%.
It is ironic that we are having this debate about a holiday that is supposed to be about celebrating our nation’s freedom. It seems that the elected Democrats in H.B., which include Mayor Connie Boardman, and Shaw of course, don’t value freedom much after all.
Boardman and Shaw are listed on this Facebook page as being in support of banning safe and sane fireworks in H.B. Boardman by the way also appears to have no kids, as per her own Facebook page. That anti-fireworks site has only 23 likes! Maybe the good people of Huntington Beach need to elect folks who actually represent their values and interests? I cannot imagine that the voters in H.B. will appreciate it if Shaw and Boardman continue to stand against funding local youth sports and non-profits.