Will Anaheim Hills Have A Community Fireworks Show This July 4? That Depends On How Mayor Tait Votes On March 7

On Tuesday, the Anaheim City Council split 3-3 on a proposal by District 3 Councilman Jose F. Moreno that threatens to pull the plug on the annual Fourth of July celebration and fireworks show in Anaheim Hills. Mayor Tom Tait was absent from the vote. This Tuesday, March 7, the city council will again vote on Moreno’s proposal; Mayor Tait’s vote will decide whether the annual Fourth of July parade, festivities and community fireworks show continues or closes.

Councilman Moreno wants to take operation of the city-wide fireworks sales away from the Honda Center and give it to the Anaheim Union High School District Foundation. Under Moreno’s proposal, the AUHSD Foundation would oversee selection of which non-profits (including the potentially the AUHSD Foundation itself), and that “profits that come from [sales] – once you distribute to the non-profits – would go directly to the foundation.”

Dozens of non-profits have participated in the existing model over the last two years, receiving tens of thousands of dollars. Their ability to raise funds was directly tied to how much effort they put into the program. All of these non-profits should be very concerned about this new model, as their participation would be controlled by the AUHSD Foundation. And what incentive for the AUHSD Foundation have to bring in more non-profits that are not AUHSD based, as it only takes funds out of their own pocket.

Even schools not part of the AUHSD, which includes all elementary and middle schools in the City and all schools in Anaheim Hills, could be cut out of the program.

The annual Fourth of July festivities and fireworks show in Peralta Park depends on the $40,000 it receives from city-wide fireworks sales. Anaheim Hills is the only part of the city where residents are prohibited from using safe-and-sane fireworks, so the community fireworks show is the only opportunity for Anaheim Hills families to enjoy this traditional Independence Day celebration.

When asked by council colleagues if his proposal would preserve funding for the Anaheim Hills Fourth of July celebration, Moreno sidestepped the question, remarking there are “lots of parades” in the city.

Councilmembers Kris Murray (at-large), Lucille Kring (District 4) and Steve Faessel (District 5) voted against Moreno’s proposal. Councilmembers Moreno (District 3), Denise Barnes (District 1) and James Vanderbilt (at-large) voted in favor.

Mayor Tom Tait will cast the deciding vote on Tuesday, March 7.

Why the AUHSD Foundation? Councilman Moreno’s stated reason is the foundation needs funding for a summer jobs program it operates. However, there are many Anaheim-based non-profits that can present lists of equally compelling funding needs. As it happens, the Anaheim Union High School District Foundation is the non-profit arm of the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD), which is governed by Moreno’s close political allies such as Superintendent Mike Matsuda; AUHSD Board of Education President Al Jabbar (who was Moreno’s campaign manager). The AnaheimBROS political clubs at AUHSD schools served as foot soldiers in Moreno’s two council campaigns; the AUHSD even used district school buses to transport these student activists to a candidate forum last year to cheer for Moreno (the buses were paid for by a large teacher’s union grant to the AnaheimBROS).

Opponents of Moreno’s proposal point out that Anaheim is only one of five cities within the Anaheim Union High School District, and that Anaheim Hills – where the annual Fourth of July parade and fireworks show takes place – is in the Orange Unified School District.

Councilwoman Lucille Kring pointed out the fireworks show – which is really a day-long July 4 celebration including a parade, a 5K run and community celebration — has been a city tradition for decades. She also noted that Anaheim Hills is the only part of the city where residents are prohibited from lighting legal fireworks in their yards and neighborhoods; the fireworks show is unlikely to continue absent funding from the fireworks sales program.

Anaheim Hills residents have every reason to be concerned that Moreno’s plan would result in ending funding for the annual Fourth of July celebration – which would likely lead to its cancellation. With the council split 50-50 over Moreno’s plan, the outcome – and the continued existence of the Fourth of July parade and community fireworks show – entirely depends on Mayor Tait’s vote.

15 comments

  1. From 1965 to 1975 I worked in the fire works stand on Katella and Euclid for a charity. I asked a member of the charity that ran the stand at that time how much they made. In 1970 the one stand made $10,000 net profit for the charity.
    It is my opinion as with any charity or school fundraiser it is the people committed to working that make it happen. Each school runs it and pockets the money for their effort that is simple enough. The parade I have no opinion.

  2. Moreno Valemierda

    Moreno is up to no good made a mess with the Anaheim Elementary School District now. No the Anaheim Union High School District is not the only District serving the students of Anaheim. Placentia Yorba Linda School District along with OUSD serve students and families opt to transfer out because of better education. Auhsd already receives a lot money for the schools because they are title 1 schools so that should be enough. Also all those bonds that people have voted for for the schools in AUHSD and AESD when the education kids receive is poor. Moreno takesva shit in everything he does abd no he is not the savior of no hispanics or the one who will be transparent. He is just using those tactics to tell the people that are not informed. People that are informed know what an asshole he is and his agenda is to serve himself and not the people. Anaheim open your eyes and do more research you will get to know how evil this guy is. Also the idiot of the superintendent for AUHSD has to go.

  3. Mayor Tait,
    Please vote to continue this wonderful community celebration. Three generations of my family enjoy it year after year. Many thanks!

  4. We hope the 4th of July celebration will continue. Our family enjoys the entire day from the walk to the amazing fireworks show.

  5. Anaheim Hills and the parts of Orange also in the hills are unique communities in that they’re nowhere near the heart of the cities in which they’re located. The 4th of July celebration is one of the few events for this community, and it’s truly important for neighbors to come together to celebrate not only the country, but our community.

    It’s absurd to hand over the profits to the Anaheim district only when a large chunk of Anaheim students are not part of the district. I’m sure the mayor will do the right thing on March 7.

  6. Mayor, we work extremely hard on this show every year, please do not take it away

  7. My family, extended family, and friends attend the festivities every year. We start with the pancake breakfast and dog parade, which our dogs love. We then go pick out a spot to watch the parade. A quick lunch them off to the park to hang out and wait for the fireworks to start.

    If this is taken away, our family is left with no alternative options. We love our city and prefer to attend special events where we live.

    Don’t take this away!

  8. What’s up with this? “Dozens” of non-profits getting “tens of thousands” of dollars?? I thought this was just for high schools in AUHSD! And the last I saw, they only got a few hundred dollars each. I certainly won’t go all the way to the Pond for fireworks if there are stands a few blocks away serving other non-profits in my neighborhood. It seems the Honda Center profited from the city fireworks ordinance nicely!

    • The Honda center fronts all the costs and all of city’s non profits can participate. No one is limited by how much they can sell or make. Under Moreno’s plan, funds would be given to one school district out of the half dozen that exist in Anaheim, and a lottery would select who can and can’t participate. How is that fair? Also what assurance do residents have that the school district – conveniently run by his political buddies – even has the capability to run the program effectively? This is a power grab at expense of residents and nothing more.

  9. Major Tait, Please vote to continue this yearly Anaheim Hills tradition as it currently is. It is a great community celebration and many local groups and charities profit from it. Please vote against changing it.

  10. July 4th is a family and community day at Peralta Hills Park, and is a long-time tradition enjoyed by the residents of Anaheim Hills. The day is filled with picnics, games, music, dancing, and the enjoyment of families and friends celebrating our patriotism and camaraderie. This is a HUGE gathering that we all enjoy – to take this day of celebrating America is downright unpatriotic – especially in Anaheim – the home of Disneyland and a worldwide favorite vacation spot for families. #keepthe4thcelebration. #godblessamerica. #listentothepeople

  11. For the pride and love of this country and for the celebration of the brave men and women who have fought and died for Old Glory from the founding of America up to and including the brave Marines and Sailor’s of Anaheim’s very own adopted 13th MEU …. and for all that is good and right ….. KEEP AMERICA’S BIRTHDAY PARTY !!!!! Why “fix” something that “isn’t broken” ?? There are enough issues that need fixing, this celebration isn’t one of them !!!! What message are you sending our community if this wonderful celebration is cut ?????? NOT A GOOD ONE !

  12. Mayor Tait- please vote FOR the Anaheim Hills July 4 celebration we have all worked so hard to establish as tradition!

  13. We have been celebrating with our family and friends since we moved to this neighborhood in 1998. Please do not let this wonderful event end. We absolutely love this event as do all of our friends. Keep fireworks at Peralta park.

  14. So how did the vote go? I really hope that we keep the fireworks. My family loves the show.

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