Some cities re-think fireworks displays

June 23, 2008 7:19:11 PM PDT
All of these fires have a number of cities re-thinking their 4th of July celebrations.

Scotts Valley has cancelled the city's annual fireworks display, but several cities do allow for so-called "safe and sane" fireworks.

There is little for Bruce Begley to salvage. The Trabing Fire not only took his home, but destroyed his collection of guitars and about 2,500 hundred records. His reality makes the thought of shooting off any fireworks an absurd notion.

"I think it's absolutely insane, unsafe and insane is what I think," said Begley.

Dry conditions in Santa Cruz County have helped fuel three devastating fires in the last month. That could be enough to suspend a policy the city of Watsonville has had in place since 1975.

There's some 30 booths set up around Watsonville ready to sell safe and sane fireworks from July first to the fourth.

Watsonville is the only city in Santa Cruz County to allow 'safe and sane' firework sales, but now the city's mayor has called a special council meeting for Wednesday to consider a one-year moritorium.

"My concern is to be able to stop this, because not only people from our community able to buy fireworks, but also other people from other cities come and buy fireworks," said Watsonville Mayor Pro Tem Antonio Rivas.

There are dozens of non-profit organizations and high school athletic groups who depend on firework sales.

Gary Garcia says his wrestling program is one of them. They say they're sensitive to what many homeowners have been through but will argue safe and sane fireworks are not to blame and should not be banned.

"So it's going to have a devastating effect and my hope is that when the council makes its decision, they make the decision based on facts," said Garcia.

"There's other ways to make money. I mean if one thing burns in the last 20 years, it wasn't worth it," said Begley.

An emotional debate and council vote is expected Wednesday night.