Last night the Anaheim City Council approved adding a second location for the sale of safe-and-sane fireworks for the celebration of Independence Day, and reduce the fines for violations related to the use of safe-and-sane fireworks. Mayor Pro Tem Lucille Kring and Councilmembers Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman voted in favor of adding a second location; Mayor Tom Tait and Coiuncilman James Vanderbilt voted in opposition.
In 2014, 54.8% of Anaheim voters approved Measure E, which re-legalizing the sale and use of safe-and-sane fireworks, which voters had banned in the 1980’s. 2015 was the first year in which this had effect, and fireworks sales were conducted at a “superstore” located in the Honda Center parking lot and operated by Anaheim Arena Management (AAM). 30% of the gross sales revenue goes to participating community non-profits and 10% to the Anaheim Community Forum. According to the staff report:
“Together those nonprofit organizations received more than $24,000 in new donations as a result of the fireworks program. Additionally, another $60,000 was provided to the community in the form of grants to the Anaheim Community Foundation and
sponsorship of the City’s annual 4th of July celebration in Anaheim Hills, where safe and sane fireworks are prohibited.”
This year, it was proposed to add a second sales location on a commercial property along and west of Brookhurst Street in West Anaheim in order to make it more convenient for residents of that part of the city. The reality is West Anaheim residents could more easily purchase fireworks in neighboring Stanton and Garden Grove, which defeats the Anaheim community group fundraising aspect of re-legalizing them in Anaheim.
The council’s action allows AAM to open a second sales location in the west, and give community non-profits more time to organize their participation in the program.
Personally, I agree with Mayor Tom Tait’ that Anaheim should simply adopt the same neighborhood fireworks stand system as other cities, but I disagree with his vote against adding a second superstore in West Anaheim is an improvement. If one supports more fireworks sales locations, why cast a vote the net effect of which would be to limit those sales to a single location? That’s an exercise in letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. As Councilwoman Kris Murray stated, if the two superstore approach is inadequate, then the city can re-visit it again next year (and I hope they do).
Finally, the council majority also reduced fines for the illegal use of safe-and-sane fireworks. The first offense fine will be cut to $250 from $500; second offense to $500 from $1,000; and the third offense to $1,000 from $1,500.