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Sounding Off:

July 4 pride can be expressed peacefully

April 30, 2008|By Tom Neth

In regards to the Pilot’s article about Costa Mesa and fireworks (“July 4 safety discussed,” April 26) I find several aspects of this situation troubling.

First, Costa Mesa is one of the five cities countywide painfully and stubbornly continuing to allow fireworks. What do the other cities understand about fireworks that Costa Mesa has not learned? Heck, nothing is wrong with fireworks. We all love them and the Fourth of July celebration; but why not just stage a professionally run fireworks display in a central arena?

Secondly, the very essence of the Fourth of July is a celebration of the birth of our country. Yet the problems of illegal fireworks exists, setting off fireworks prior to the holiday, setting off fireworks long after the 10 p.m. deadline, and finally the day after cleanup in many neighborhoods.

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Thankfully, no houses have burnt down and no one to my knowledge has suffered a serious injury or worse. When you consider the celebration of the Fourth of July is all about pride in country and community, too, why do so many disregard community rules? I do not equate an utter disregard for the fireworks regulations as a show of pride.

Finally, the council appears sympathetic toward the needs of our booster clubs and other organizations that use the sale of fireworks to fund many programs. The possibility of banning fireworks sales causes great concern among these organizations, but I guess I would simply ask: What do organizations in other cities do to raise money for programs that benefit their children? Is there something wrong with Costa Mesans’ ability to think differently, be creative, adapt, think outside the box, and develop a new revenue stream to replace the sale of fireworks? Or is it that the loss of a four-day fireworks sale would signal the loss of an easy revenue stream that will require work to replace?

I have an idea: Sell tickets to not have fireworks, and do it all year long. Sell the tickets at OCC and high school athletic events. Perhaps the city could kick in some money too.

After all, it would seem that a savings would be realized with a reduction in overtime of police officers and firefighters who provide additional patrols and oversight on the holiday. Who knows? Perhaps enough money could be raised to share among all the organizations that would meet their needs, and we could return some peace on the Fourth of July. This could also take the pressure off the City Council having to make such a tough decision as to whether Costa Mesa remains one of the five cities that allow the sale of fireworks.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. I hope it’s a safe one and not the insane one most law-abiding citizens will never get used to as long as Costa Mesa continues to allow the sale of fireworks.


 Tom Neth lives in Costa Mesa.

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