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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.

I reached out to Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley yesterday to find out the voter turnout in Anaheim for Tuesday’s primary election. The news isn’t very heartening:

Anaheim has 123,485 registered voters – very few of whom cast ballots in this election:

Anaheim turnout 6-3-14

In a disheartening manifestation of this low turnout, the first vote update from the ROV on Tuesday night increased the Anaheim vote count by only 14 votes.

Regardless of where one stood on Measure C, D and E, I think all would agree it is sad so few Anaheim voters exercised their voice on these proposed amendments to their city charter. In a Voice of OC article about the Measure D result, Mayor Tom Tait said “The people have spoken, and I think it shows that people are concerned about the effect of money and special interests on politics.”

 

You can certainly say some of the people have spoken – in this case, 14.8% of them. Also, I disagree with the mayor’s analysis – who the “special interests” are depends on which voters you talk to and their political leanings. However, one of the problems with such abysmal turnout is it undermines elections as indicators of what the voters want or don’t want, and their power to settle political issues. That isn’t spin directed at Tuesday’s results. It’s a lamentation over the corrosive effect low voter participation has on representative self-government.

Yesterday, Anaheim voters spoke on three proposed amendments to the city charter that emerged from the Charter Review Commission process. A bundle of largely technical fixes and updates to the charter (Measure C) won handily. The prohibition against safe-and-sane fireworks was repealed, and a proposal to change the mayoral term from four to two years failed:

primary election results

 

Measure C has caused great angst among the loud-but-little knot of blog-based conspiracists who think everything is a well-orchestrated back-room deal. They convinced themselves Measure C was a sinister scheme by “special interests” to loot the city treasury – which begs the question of why that powerful (but imaginary) cabal didn’t mount a pro-C campaign if so much was at stake.

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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!

The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC has published its voter’s guide for the June primary: 

ACC voter guide for June 2014

MEASURE C — VOTE “YES”
Various Charter Amendments
Shall the Charter be amended to: modernize and remove outdated language to reflect changes in the City and law; authorize financial documents’ availability in electronic format; update matters regarding boards/commissions; allow setting City Manager compensation by agreement, resolution or ordinance; authorize methods for selling municipal property; permit City Council to delegate Treasurer’s appointment/removal to City Manager; allow Treasurer and Finance Director to be the same person upon Council approval?

REASON FOR OUR POSITION
Measure C makes several modifications to the City Charter. These modifications are designed to streamline our local government, create additional financial safeguards, close potential loopholes, and increase transparency at City Hall.

For these reasons, we ask all voters to vote “YES” on Measure C.

MEASURE D — VOTE “YES”
Change to Term of Office – Mayor
Shall Anaheim City Charter Sections 500 and 504 be amended to change the term of office of the Mayor from four years to two years, and to clarify how “eight years of service” is determined for the purpose of calculating term limits for someone serving as Mayor by also amending Section 503.5?

REASON FOR OUR POSITION
Measure D is a simple and straightforward measure:
• Changes Anaheim Mayor term to two years
• Increases accountability by requiring the Mayor to face voters every two years
• Limits Mayor to eight years in office
• This is the same as every other City in Orange County with a Directly-Elected Mayor
• Allows voters to reaffirm a good Mayor or more quickly remove a bad Mayor
• Strengthens Anaheim’s Term Limit Law
• Keeps Mayors focused on our priorities – keeping Anaheim safe bringing jobs to our city, and improving neighborhoods
For these reasons, we ask all voters to vote “YES” on Measure D.

MEASURE E — VOTE “YES”
Safe and Sane Fireworks
Shall Anaheim Municipal Code Section 6.40.030, which prohibits (bans) the retail sale, possession or use of safe and sane fireworks in the City of Anaheim except pursuant to a public display permit issued by the Fire Chief, be repealed and the City Council granted the authority to regulate safe and sane fireworks?

REASON FOR OUR POSITION
We support Measure E because it:
• Restores Anaheim traditions by allowing Anaheim residents to participate in a long-standing holiday tradition of celebrating our freedom
• Supports Anaheim’s Community by allowing the legal sale of Safe and Sane fireworks by charitable organizations that get to keep a large portion of the profits
• Is safe for the community by allowing residents to purchase fireworks specifically authorized by the state government
• Provides major benefits to Anaheim by not forcing residents to celebrate the Fourth of July in neighboring cities
• Received unanimous support by Anaheim City Council
• Allows City Council to continue to restrict fireworks from areas (such as Anaheim Hills) where Fire Chief recommends
For these reasons, we ask all voters to vote “YES” on Measure E.

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.

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