Grand Terrace Split Over Fireworks Ban Measure
Friday, October 8, 2010
San Bernardino County Sentinel (SBCS)
Measure Z, which will go before voters in Grand Terrace on November 2, has sharply divided this normally sedate town of 12,500 once known as the Blue Mountain City. Grand Terrace Split Over Fireworks Ban Measure
Measure Z would ban fireworks in a move to reduce the incident of fires, like the one that raged across Blue Mountain in 2003, taking with it the blue lupine flowers that formerly bloomed there every spring, giving it and the city its name.
Those flowers, and the blueness of Blue Mountain are gone now, presumably forever.
One group of residents, including city councilman Walt Stanckiewitz, whose home near Lake Arrowhead burned down three years ago in a fire that devastated the San Bernardino Mountains and resulted in Stanckiewitz’ decision to move his family to Grand Terrace where he has for two decades operated a restaurant, feels that the patriotic tradition of blasting off Fourth of July fireworks in a place where the hot summer sun has parched the indigenous vegetation into tinder is a luxury fraught with too much risk.
Others, including some of the parents of 450 children who participate in Little League and 800 children who compete in the city’s soccer programs, insist that the risk of fireworks, which are at present legally sold from two booths in town located at Mt. Vernon and Barton Road and bring in more than $14,000 for those youth sports leagues, represent no realistic threat to the health and safety of the town and its residents.
The supporters of fireworks have vowed to vote out of office any politicians who collectively vote on the council to ban the so-called “safe and sane” pyrotechnics. The term safe and sane was first used in the 1950s to refer to fireworks represented as being safer than firecrackers and cherry bombs and bottle rockets. Safe and sane fireworks include fountains, sparklers, wheels, smoke and snake items, and ground spinners. Nevertheless most of these novelty fireworks are capable of touching off a fire.
While the issue of firework safety and their eventual banning in Grand Terrace has been under discussion since 2003 – a full four years before Stanckiewitz’s arrival in town – council members were wary of taking a stand on the issue. Two years ago, the council seriously considered coupling a ban with the appropriation of funds to make up for the losses the youth leagues would sustain if not permitted to make the sales. The youth leagues protested, however, that the amount of money the city was offering would not equal the amount of money that would be realized in firework sales. With Stanckiewitz’s ascendency to the council, the panel this year elected to allow the city’s residents to make a decision on the matter.
Even with the matter on the ballot, however, no individual or group has come forth to loudly remonstrate against fireworks, likely out of fear of a backlash from youth league advocates. Thus, no organized group or committee to push for the passage of Measure Z has manifested.
Opponents of the measure are less shy, and they paid for and authored a ballot argument, included with the sample ballot sent to all voters in Grand Terrace, asserting that disallowing fireworks sales will cripple fund-raising efforts for Little League and the city’s soccer programs and merely redound to the advantage of fundraising efforts on behalf of the youth sports groups’ counterparts in Colton and San Bernardino.
Fireworks have sparked eight fires in Grand Terrace since 2000, all of which were extinguished before they could rage out of control.
In the meantime, those who would like the city to dispense with fireworks have subtly floated the suggestion of substituting a minor vice – temporary legalized gambling in the form of roulette tables, fifty-fifty raffles, keno, blackjack and a poker tournanment two or three weekends a year – carried out under strict guidelines and with all the proceeds going to a registered charity tied to the leagues to replace the money that has traditionally come from fireworks.
Gramps Suggests a Vote to Ban Fireworks: Fire Burns it is simple.
Gramps pledges 20.00 per year donation to the sports teams if and when Fireworks are not sold in GT. That is 20.00 they didn't see in the years they were sold.. Citizens there are other ways to support the youth than to risk burning them or their homes or other property.