Tuesday, April 21, 2015
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 [email protected]

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
.

Solano News

 
Kids Day of Fishing began with $20 donation

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Chabad will begin Torah for Solano Jewish community

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Library foundation executive moves to Child Haven

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Theater schedules free screening of Sundance film

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A8

Vacaville plans recreation expo

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Frazier to discuss transportation at EDC breakfast

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Fairgrounds site of horse-betting seminar, brunch

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

Il Fiorello schedules vegetarian cuisine class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

 
Fairfield police log: April 19, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 19, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Lawmakers seek FDA review of ingredients used in cosmetics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prosecutors: Capsized boat captain and crew member arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
High-speed rail approves 5 bidders for more construction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sheriff’s domestic violence-related conviction erased

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Utah woman gets up to life in prison in deaths of 6 newborns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Police: Video didn’t capture suspect’s fatal spine injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

California Uber driver accused of running down bicyclist

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US warship heads to Yemeni waters; could block Iran weapons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lawyer: Washington Post reporter in Iran faces 4 charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Bombs shatter houses in Yemen capital, hit near Iran Embassy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Questions, answers about federal anti-radicalization effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Where US sees terror prevention, some Muslims see profiling

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments | Gallery

Sacramento woman eats 3 steak dinners in 20 minutes in Texas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Chemistry Ph.D. student illustrates her thesis in comic book

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Public memorial held for the Rev. Robert Schuller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
SC paper wins Pulitzer for reporting on domestic abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Opinion

 
Why does Fed insist on targeting inflation?

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Income disparity study results ironic

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 21, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd pleads guilty to threatening to kill

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bobby Brown’s lawyer: Bobbi Kristina Brown has opened eyes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

US writer who fled Austria to escape Holocaust dead at 90

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Vice News, NPR, CNN, WNYC win double Peabody Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

HBO planning to deal Web pot sitcom ‘High Maintenance’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Kolbert’s ‘Sixth Extinction’ wins Pulitzer for nonfiction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Wolfe’s ‘Anthracite Fields’ wins Pulitzer for music

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Anthony Doerr wins Pulitzer Prize for fiction

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Elizabeth A. Fenn wins Pulitzer Prize for history

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Gregory Pardlo’s ‘Digest’ wins Pulitzer Prize for poetry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

David I. Kertzer wins Pulitzer for biography-autobiography

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Stephen Adly Guirgis wins Pulitzer for drama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Sports

Mustangs rally in seventh inning to top Falcons

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
AP source: Peterson stays home from Vikings workouts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Report: 2 teams needed to make California stadium profitable

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Data deluge: MLB rolls out Statcast analytics on Tuesday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Doug Buffone dead at 70

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
New format means injured drivers no longer must race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Saunders: ‘I’m the coach until I say I’m not’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Faldo to make final appearance at British Open this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Braves’ McKirahan suspended 80 games for positive drug test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raptors Lou Williams wins NBA Sixth Man Award

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Ugly Olympic conflict breaks into open at Sochi conference

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Pacquiao gets in 2 words before conference call cancelled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Eagles sign quarterback Tim Tebow to 1-year contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McLellan out after 7 years as coach of San Jose Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pelicans coach says Warriors arena noise might be too loud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Police: LA Kings’ Jarret Stoll had cocaine, Ecstasy in Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Desisa wins 119th Boston Marathon; Rotich takes women’s race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Jockey Chris Antley leads Racing Hall of Fame class

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

.

Business

Judge returns ultra-rich club founder Tim Blixseth to jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Running out of time: Limited-time deals can be limiting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

$134M proposed for 10 BP-funded oil spill recovery projects

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Hormel says bird flu outbreak will hurt turkey sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Bird flu confirmed at Iowa farm with 5.3 million chickens

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US stocks gain, rebounding from Friday’s slump; Hasbro jumps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Survey: US businesses expect sales rebound, more hiring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Bristol-Myers: 2 cancer drugs beat 1 against melanoma

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Halliburton says has cut 9,000 jobs in wake of oil’s drop

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: B4

Labor group seeks rehiring of workers at 5 Wal-Mart sites

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Frederick’s of Hollywood files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Willie Nelson becomes latest celebrity in marijuana business

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Kraft Mac & Cheese shedding the dyes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

ESPN says Verizon’s new FiOS TV packages violate agreements

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Lawsuit: Southwest failed to respond to medical emergency

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Bridge April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
Get Fuzzy April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Peanuts April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Rose is Rose April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Frank and Ernest April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baby Blues April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

For Better or Worse April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Dilbert April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
Cryptoquote April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

Sally Forth April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Garfield April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
B.C. April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Wizard of Id April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Blondie April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baldo April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Zits April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Pickles April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8