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declaration of independence

It’s been 238 years since the Founding Fathers declared these “United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States” and opened an era that has bettered the state of mankind. Let’s not forget what they declared: that our rights are the gift of God and not government, and the latter exists to secure what was given us by the former.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

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july 4 fireworks patrioticThe OC Register published an article yesterday about the sale and use of fireworks in Orange County. Eight cities permit safe-and-sane fireworks: Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Fullerton, Costa Mesa, Buena Park, Villa Park, Westminster and Stanton. Anaheim will join those ranks next year.

The article re-hashes the usual arguments about legalized fireworks: safety versus community group fundraising. Getting short-shrift is the more important consideration: the freedom of Americans to celebrate their liberty and independence with the centuries-old tradition of lighting fireworks.

As Mayor Tom Tait put it when voting to place Measure E on the June ballot:

This is something I think that the people want. I think it is a good thing. It brings people together on the 4th of July, it brings neighborhoods together and it is something that I wholeheartedly support.

Yes, even there is risk of injury involved with the use of safe-and-sane fireworks once a year to celebrate Independence Day. There is also risk of injury involved with using a table saw or chopping onions or using household cleaning chemicals. We risk death every time we get in our cars or walk across a busy street or die a horse. No one suggests banning table saws or horse riding.

Banning safe-and-sane fireworks does not ban fireworks. As Garden Grove City Manager Matt Fertal pointed out in the article, every city has a problem illegal fireworks – a problem that isn’t diminished by banning safe-and-sane fireworks.

Anaheim voters had the good sense to value freedom, tradition and good sense rather than listen to voices that would infantilize us by continuing a petty ban against individuals and neighbors coming together to celebrate their freedom.

july 4 fireworks patrioticAnaheim voters’ approval of Measure E last month didn’t immediately legalize the sale and use of safe-and-sane fireworks in the city. What it did was give the city council the power to legalize them by repealing the City Charter’s prohibition against safe-and-sane fireworks.

Since Independence Day comes fast on the heals of the June 3 primary, there was little opportunity for the city to act on a legalization ordinance, especially since the clear intention of proponents was to leave the fireworks prohibition in place in areas of Anaheim that are more prone to brushfires.

Per the City of Anaheim website:

Recently voters passed Measure E, a ballot measure that repeals the current ban on the use of “safe and sane” fireworks in Anaheim. Measure E will not take effect until at least July 26, 2014, in accordance with election results certification. Fireworks (including “safe and sane” fireworks) are not legal in Anaheim at this time.

As a result, over this 4th of July weekend, the Anaheim Police Department will be enforcing the current firework ban. Further, as specifically stated in Measure E, violation of the firework ban prior to the effective date of Measure E may lead to prosecution by the City Attorney.

 

IMG_8079The polls open in about 12 hours, and Election Day Anaheim voters will cast their ballot on the three charter amendments on tomorrow’s ballot.

TNT Fireworks put another $45,000 into the Yes on Measure E campaign, hoping to persuade Anaheim voters to repeal the charter’s prohibition against safe-and-sane fireworks and allow the City Council to legalize them for sale and use. That brings TNT’s campaign expenditures on the Yes on Measure E campaign to $150,000.

There’s been some late, blog-based griping about legalizing fireworks, as Cynthia Ward and some of her gadflies complain that the Yes on E campaign has tried to address concerns about brush fire danger among Anaheim Hills – apparently not recognizing that Hills residents are next to open space and wilderness areas with there is brush, while the Colony is far away from those areas. Another complaint voiced is that it will be really hard to tell the difference between legal and illegal fireworks, thus making it hard for them to call the cops if they see someone using illegal fireworks. Here’s a helpful hint: illegal fireworks go up in the air and explode. Legal fireworks don’t.

And these are the folks who claim to the be true freedom-loving conservatives in town.

On the Measure D front, the Tom Tait for Mayor 2014 campaign paid for an IE robocall, recorded by my long-time friend Jon Fleischman, publisher of the influential state political blog FlashReport.org. Jon is also the president of California Term Limits. TheLiberalOC.com has a link to the robocall here (at the bottom of the post). Jon takes issue with on of the Yes on D campaign slogans, “Strengthens term limits”:

This is Jon Fleischman, president of California Term Limits, with a warning for Anaheim residents, and urging you to vote “No” on Measure D. Measure D is not term limits reform. Instead, it is an attempt by powerful special interests to prevent Mayor Tom Tait from uncovering their crony deals at City Hall. 

Please vote “No” on Measure D and protect Anaheim’s city treasury.

This message has been paid for by Tom Tait for Mayor 2014.

Gloriaski – why not say Measure D is an attempt by “powerful special interests” keep Mayor Tait from foiling their evil plan to fluoridate the city’s water supply and steal Anaheim’s women?  I mean, if one’s going to spin some campaign yarns, make them good ones!

ward no fireworks for youAnaheim Insider here.

The irascible Cynthia Ward, along with Tait camp follower Brian Chuchua, makes up CATER, the non-profit that sues the city to obstruct policies that Mayor Tom Tait object to. Fresh from driving up the cost to Anaheim taxpayers of the Anaheim Convention Center Expansion, now Ward is waging class warfare against Measure E, which would bring legalized fireworks back to Anaheim after a quarter-century absence.

Ward sent out an e-mail today against Measure E. In her typically over-the-top style, Ward wages class warfare against fireworks, trying to paint the election as Hills elitists v. the salt of the Earth flatlands folk. She actually infers passage of measure will turn Independence Day into “Elitists Day!”

Ward makes it clear she opposes legalizing safe-and-sane fireworks, which she calls “carcinogen bombs.” For conservatives in Orange County, legalizing fireworks has long been an issue where rhetoric is supposed to meet the road. All the Fullerton libertarian-conservatives types Ward is super chummy with were rightly gong-ho to legalize them in 2012. However, the conservative principles Ward pretends to champion melt away because fireworks once a year bother her dogs, which she cites in her e-mail as the top reason for her hostility to Measure E.

The self-anointed “Truth-Teller” twists the truth into a pretzel:

“Steven Albert Chavez Lodge announces he will be using the sale of carcinogen bombs in the flatlands to backfill his inability to raise money for the Anaheim Hills fireworks displays, in an area not subject to the impacts of the fireworks his group will be dumping into OUR neighborhoods.”

In Ward’s convoluted mind, Measure E is a sinister conspiracy of Anaheim Hills elitists to gull flatlands rubes into funding the Anaheim Hills 4th of July fireworks show by buying boxes of safe and sane fireworks from greedy community groups. She gets all that by twisting beyond recognition a couple of quotes from a mail piece targeting Hills voterswho have a more heightened sensitivity to brush fires. that makes sense because there is a lot more brush in the Hills than the flatlands.

Real vote of confidence from Ward in her fellow flatlanders, thinking we’ll burn West Anaheim down the minute we light off a “Jumbo Purple Rain.”

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The campaign to bring safe-and-sane fireworks back to Anaheim continues, as the “Yes on Measure E” campaign has dropped two more pieces of mail.

This piece landed in mailboxes late last week:

MillionsV8

A fourth mailer targeting Anaheim Hills voters hit mailboxes this week:

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The campaign to return legal safe-and-sane fireworks to Anaheim has begun in earnest since vote-by-mail ballots started going out on May 5. The “Yes on Measure E” campaign has sent out two mailers in the last week:

Measure E mailer 2

You can see the mailers here and here.

American Promotional Events dba TNT Fireworks deposited $40,000 into the “Yes on Measure E” committee on April 22, and another $40,000 on May 7. Thus far, there is no organized or even disorganized opposition.

I don’t think there is any polling on this issue, but I’d be surprised if the voters do not approve it.

The cajuly 4 fireworks patrioticmpaign to return safe-and-sane fireworks to Anaheim is getting organized. On the June ballot will be Measure E, a product of the Charter Review Commission that would legalize safe-and-sane fireworks, which were banned by Anaheim voters back in 1986 by a vote of 56%.

The “Committee for a Safe 4th of July – Yes on Measure E” was formed on April 22. The same day, American Promotional Events West dba TNT Fireworks deposited $40,000 into the campaign account.

As far as I can determine,m there is no organized (or even disorganized) opposition to Measure E. And that is a good thing, because there is no good reason that safe-and-sane fireworks should not be used legally in Anaheim to celebrate our liberty and independence. Even the warring factions in and around City Hall are united in their support for Measure E (I’m assuming CATER hasn’t found some legal technicality to hang a complaint upon).

Some prominent supporters of legalizing safe-and-sane fireworks are also prominent opponents of Measure D (two-year mayoral terms) – which is interesting because one of the arguments they make against Measure D is it should be defeated because the voters already decided the issue back in 1992 and it would be wrong to re-visit the issue. At the same time, they support re-visiting the issue of fireworks, even though the voters already spoke on that issue in 1986.

On Tuesday night, the Anaheim City Council took up the Charter Review Committee’s recommendations, which staff had packaged into four proposed charter amendments for the June ballot. Anaheim voters will have the opportunity to say yes or no to changing the mayoral term from four to two years; legalizing safe and sane fireworks; and enacting a bucket of government efficiency reforms. The council unanimously rejected placing the repeal of term limits on the ballot.

july 4 fireworks patrioticLegalizing Safe and Sane Fireworks
Measure 4 would repeal the city charter’s ban on the sale and use of safe and sane fireworks, which 59% of voters approved in 1986, and the council was unanimous in its support not only for putting the measure before the voters but in hoping they would approve it.

“This is something, I think, that the people want. It’s a good thing. It brings people together on the Fourth of July, it brings neighborhoods together, and it something I wholeheartedly support,” said Mayor Tait. Well put.

As someone who strongly believes we ought to be able to celebrate our freedom and independence with safe and sane fireworks, this is a great development and continues a trend toward reversing the tsunami of fireworks bans that swept Orange County cities in the late 1980s. Fullerton voters legalized fireworks in 2012, and Westminster and Villa Park have also reversed their bans in the last few years.

Two-Year Mayoral Term
The Charter Review Committee recommended this change by a vote of 5-2, with Tom Tait and Lucille Kring’s appointees voting in opposition – and that is how their appointors voted on Tuesday night as the council voted 3-2 to place Measure 2 on the June ballot.

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