Tuesday, September 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Fireworks sales rules challenge sense of freedom

By
From page A11 | June 29, 2014 |

With Independence Day rolling around, the yearly tradition of fireworks is sure to light a fire of anticipation in people’s minds.

The thrill of watching professional airborne displays is matched by the ability to create a personal show in one’s neighborhood with friends and family. Throughout our state, a hodge-podge of regulations monitor the marketing and use of personal fireworks.

When discussing fireworks, two general categories come to mind: the “safe and sane” variety that what most people envision, particularly at the temporary fireworks stands that pop up around our county at the end of every June; then there is “everything else.” A rule of thumb: if it launches into the air and explodes, it belongs in the “everything else” category.

To be clear, airborne exploding items are dangerous, particularly when the unit of measurement is measured in sticks of dynamite (e.g. M-80, M-100). A valid case can be made that they should in fact be regulated statewide, and for the most part, they are banned throughout California.

Safe and sane fireworks generally are ones that do not leave the ground. True, “safe” fireworks does not mean “idiot-proof,” since unfortunately, idiots seem to be very resourceful in getting their hands on things they probably shouldn’t have access to. Despite our best intentions, someone in the state will somehow manage to take something “safe” and cause irreparable damage with it. However, if one had to prioritize which variety was more dangerous, the “flying stick of dynamite” variety would come out way ahead.

Should all fireworks be branded with the same stroke?

A case can be made that having the ability to acquire and utilize “safe” fireworks in a community would reduce the demand for far more dangerous, banned fireworks.

Three communities allow the sale and operation of safe fireworks in Solano County: Dixon, Rio Vista and Suisun City. Oddly enough, these towns still stand despite the hypothetical apocalyptic repercussions of selling and operating safe and sane fireworks. To assume that these safe fireworks will not somehow migrate across the railroad tracks, or down a county highway, is naive. How many fireworks sold in Dixon end up in Vacaville? How many Suisun City fireworks end up in Fairfield? More importantly, how many Fairfield and Vacaville firework dollars end up in other cities?

Even when communities allow sales, the process is not without controversy. In Suisun City, safe and sane fireworks are allowed for sale, with some portion of proceeds nobly going to support community events, including the annual fireworks show. However, the caveat is that only three organizations per year may operate booths, and those three are determined by a lottery.
These fundraisers are a vital financial stream to many organizations in our county. A large number of organizations would love to participate in these sales, but are blocked due to restrictive policies. Why should the number of permitted vendors be relegated to a lottery? Let market forces decide how many vendors the community can support.

One redeeming aspect of the Suisun City policy is that there is a profit-sharing program that the city benefits from. Communities that currently don’t permit firework sales could use this concept to provide a funding stream for other Independence Day activities, and/or offset the cost of increased public safety coverage.

It is ironic that a display long associated with American independence is so tightly regulated. To have policies that prevent community members and organizations from celebrating liberty and benefiting financially seems to contradict the purpose of the holiday. In our cities, the conundrum remains: Does the reduced hazard outweigh the lost benefit to the community?

Brian Thiemer is chairman of the Solano County Libertarian Party. He can be reached at lpsolanocounty@gmail.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • CD BrooksJune 29, 2014 - 7:22 am

    Mr. Thiemer, great article and you present some interesting points. I have contacted the Fairfield mayor, city council, fire and police chiefs regarding this issue. Fire Chief Velasquez and councilwoman Moy were kind enough to respond. The law against using fireworks is clear in Fairfield and I am still waiting to see if something will be stated in some fashion publically. I don’t begrudge Suisun for their position but it does make our situation here a bit dicey to say the least. Having said that, the law is the law and I suppose those of you choosing to challenge it will find out how serious our law enforcers really are?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. PracticalJune 29, 2014 - 8:14 am

    Brian, there are a couple reasons why Suisun only allows 3 fireworks sales locations. Each location requires ongoing inspections by our small, primarily volunteer fire department during the sales period. That requires resources during the peak of fire season. Having helped operate one of the non profit booths the first year, I can tell you that if additional locations were allowed, it would not be worth the effort for the non profits to participate. It requires approximately 400 to 500 volunteer hours to operate a booth. The fireworks vendor charges 50% for cost of goods. The city receives over half of the net profit. Of the remaining net profit, the non profit has to pay their expenses which can include a fee for the location space, lanterns, locks, meals for the volunteers (if they choose to do that) and any pre-sales marketing which is critical to a successful fundraiser. The primary purpose of the safe & sane fireworks sales, as you mentioned, is to provide funding for the area's premier annual event. Our city leaders should be applauded for coming up with a creative solution to fund the event that has a minimal cost to taxpayers.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimboJune 29, 2014 - 6:16 pm

    Oh please. All over Vacaville people are setting off not only skyrockets but large mortar type fireworks.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

US / World

California wildfire crews brace for weather shift

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
LA County sheriff’s deputies testing body cameras

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Bear suspected to have killed New Jersey hiker

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Poll: Support for gay marriage may be leveling off

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamic State militants kill 40 Iraqi troops

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sierra Leone, Liberia brace for new Ebola cases

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamist group kidnaps Frenchman in Algeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 3 Comments | Gallery

Pennsylvania governor confident ambush suspect will be caught

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Focus on UVa employee in student’s disappearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Prosecutor: 800 rounds found in intruder case

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments | Gallery

Islamic State offensive poses problems for Turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Study links changing winds to warming in Pacific

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Crews work to clear debris from Shasta mudslide

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial cartoon for Sept. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
Academia needs to act to protect college women

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page:

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Kris Jenner files to divorce Bruce Jenner

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Alaska TV reporter quits on air to promote pot

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Shonda Rhimes lays claim to Thursday nights on ABC

By Frazier Moore | From Page: | Gallery

 
Giuliani to help fight Noriega’s video game suit

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

‘The Lion King’ earns record box office

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Eric Lynch, Howard Stern’s diminutive foil, dies

By The Associated Press | From Page:

TVGrid Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Giants get closer, beat Dodgers 5-2 in 13 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Prep boys water polo: Mustangs go 3-0 in Dixon tourney

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Prep boys soccer: Mustangs hold Indians to 0-0 draw

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
MNF: Bears hold on to beat Jets 27-19

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Jeff Samardzija pitches A’s past Angels 8-4

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Nebraska’s Abdullah: Jameis Winston must grow up

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders have to settle for moral victory

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Home of 49ers lineman Ray McDonald burglarized

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Undisciplined play sends 49ers to 1-2 start

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Kicking game: It is called football, after all

By Barry Wilner | From Page:

US Soccer stands by Solo decision

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
FIFA ethics judge hesitates on World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Braves fire GM Frank Wren after missing playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Royals beat Indians 2-0, gain on Tigers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Bettman says NHL proactive about off-ice conduct

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Silver: NBA will review domestic violence policies

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Concern over McIlroy, McDowell more about results

By The Associated Press | From Page:

NFL vetting process: There are no sure things

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Owner: ‘No misinformation’ by Ravens on Rice

By The Associated Press | From Page:

This date in sports history for Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Kent creates scholarship for Cal women’s athletics

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Treasury to unveil steps to curb tax inversions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Tesco suspends execs over inflated profit report

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GM expert says 21 deaths eligible for compensation

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Apple: 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sold

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

US existing home sales fall in August

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Investors fret Yahoo’s future, stock dips

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Businesses and investors pressing for green policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Garfield Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Beetle Bailey Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Frank and Ernest Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
B.C. Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6