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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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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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Tomorrow night, the Anaheim City Council will take up the recommendations of the Charter Review Commission. The staff recommendation is to package the recommendations into four ballot measures and proposed ballot summary language is proposed – which, if actually used, will probably doom these charter amendments to defeat.

Measure 1 is essentially a bundling of charter amendments sought by city staff, which fall mainly into the category of modernizing and streamlining city government operations. Here is the proposed ballot language:

Measure 1

If Measure 1 appears on the ballot like this, it will very likely be rejected by the voters. Keep in mind that this is all the information upon which many, if not most, voters will base their decision.

  • “Address methods of setting City Manager’s compensation”? That sends up a red flag the minds of voters in the post-Bell era.
  • “Clarify and validate application of utility rate transfer to retail rates” – what does that even mean?

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