This week we saw a deadly explosion caused by fireworks in Ontario, California, prompting evacuations of the immediate area, causing two deaths, shattering nearby windows, sending a large plume of smoke into the air, and spreading debris across 80 houses. This is a vivid example of how fireworks continue to pose a threat to our communities, causing injury and distress to people and their animals, and exacerbates the residual environmental impacts of air pollution. Thank you to members of my community that worked with my team and I to build awareness in advance of July 4th; I introduced legislation this week calling for a comprehensive plan to address illegal fireworks.
My motion directs City Departments to:
- Create a fireworks buyback program
- Create a reward program to encourage individuals to report major suppliers of illegal fireworks
- Expand the current seasonal online portal via the LAPD website
- Report with data on the number of dead and recovered animals during periods of increased fireworks usage.
We must proactively shift the culture of fireworks use. This effort will pursue those illegally distributing in order to protect our communities from enduring trauma and injuries associated with fireworks and improve the quality of life for residents and their beloved pets.
Councilmember Monica Rodriguez
Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Room 455, Los Angeles, CA 90012
CA cities to reduce illegal fireworks beginning NOW !
Maximum fine doubled to $1,000 for fireworks in Hemet Those who launch them can be fined — as can the owners of the property on which they’re used. It’s about to get much more expensive to use illegal fireworks in Hemet. The Hemet City Council voted 4-0 at its Tuesday, Feb. 23 meeting, to boost the maximum fine for illegal fireworks to $1,000 per incident — the highest allowed under California law. Council member Linda Krupa was absent. “The citizens have been complaining and frustrated about the excessive amount of fireworks for the last several years,” Mayor Karlee Meyer said Wednesday, Feb. 24. “We talk about it before New Year’s and talk about it before Fourth of July, but nothing gets put into the system before it’s too late. So this is big progress for the city.” All fireworks, including those called “safe and sane,” are prohibited in the city, unless authorized by a permit from the fire chief and police chief issued at least two weeks in advance. The previous ordinance authorized fines starting at $100 for the first offense, going up to a maximum of $500 for the third and later offenses. Meyer said she has visited residents’ neighborhoods as illegal fireworks go off. “I’ve been at trailer parks at 11 p.m. because of fireworks,” she said. “They’re scared, their houses are shaking. Their pets are scared. It’s unfair.” The $1,000 maximum fine doesn’t just apply to the person using illegal fireworks. “Not only can the person setting off fireworks get fined, but the owner of the property can get a violation, because it’s got to stop,” Meyer said. “And we don’t need to get parts of our city wiped out with fire.” The new rules go into effect should the city council approve them upon a second reading. That’s scheduled to happen at the Tuesday, March 9, meeting. The mayor doesn’t expect to get much pushback from residents — some of whom are likely the ones setting off fireworks illegally. She believes the majority of Hemet residents will approve of the changes. “I think that the citizens have made their concerns very clear,” Meyer said. “I’ve heard it for the past four years and it’s increased over the last year. I think the citizens will finally feel like they’re being heard.” By BEAU YARBROUGH | firstname.lastname@example.org