Ban the Bags, Free the Fireworks

By now, it has the weight of a bad habit.  Summer arrives, the City Council approves the new budget, and the City doesn’t stage its legendary and utterly gorgeous Fourth of July fireworks display at the Santa Monica Pier.

In fact, this is the 20th anniversary of no fireworks at the Pier — a decision that continues to live in infamy.

The City bosses didn’t care that the  fireworks were dazzling, mesmerizing, essential. In City Hall’s view, they were  just too much trouble — too many people, too much traffic,  and there were “incidents.” City Hall hates  “incidents.”

In an  effort to shrink the crowds and eliminate incidents, the City moved the fireworks from the night of the Fourth of July to early morning – “Dawn’s Early Light.” But there were more people, and there were “incidents.”

Soon after that, the City canceled the fireworks altogether.

City Hall now spends about $3 million annually to attract crowds and there are still “incidents.”

Since then, the City and Santa Monica College have collaborated on an annual fireworks show. But it is never on the Fourth, and is as wan as the Pier show was slam-bang. They’re set
to go off Monday, June 29, this year.

But, if the Pier Restoration Corporation has its way, fireworks will return —  briefly –  to the Pier on  September 9, the 100th anniversary of the Pier’s opening.

City Councilman Kevin McKeown immediately challenged the notion of a fireworks display, and more or less  ordered the staff to prepare a chemical analysis of fireworks in order to ensure that they were “environmentally friendly.”

Please! The beach at the pier has been the dirtiest beach on the coast for years. And the Council banned smoking on the beach, and dogs, but
litterers come and go freely, trailing clouds of garbage, and are not challenged, much less chastised, or,  better yet, jailed. But McKeown is worried about a fireworks display.

We are at the dawn of a new age, in which we must attempt to undo the damage we have done to this planet out of ignorance, sloth and greed. There are any number of things we must stop doing, but simple pleasures – and hardly any pleasures are simpler than fireworks – are not among them.

In contrast, the ban on plastic bags is vital. According to one study, there is now more plastic than coral in the ocean. But the City continues to dance around the ban rather than simply imposing it.

So, Mr. McKeown, ban the bags, jail the letterers, but leave the fireworks alone.

2 thoughts on “Ban the Bags, Free the Fireworks”

  1. Fireworks? With record deficits in California you’d think you might might want to apply the thousands of dollars for pyrotechnics to beach clean-ups! Add to that the heavy chemicals that make up the lights in the sky (that eventually fall into the ocean if they fail to ignite) and the noise pollution that they generate (scaring dogs and small children for miles around) and you see that maybe, just maybe, fireworks aren’t such a great idea. Bah humbug.

  2. Enforce the litter fine, double it for plastic bags, triple it for glass and use the collected funds to have fireworks. Put offenders in jail over the weekend. That will teach them a lesson.

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