Fireworks ban once again topic of hot debate in Pacifica during holiday weekend

ByTim Johns via KGO logo
Sunday, July 3, 2022
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As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, Pacifica community is debating the risks and safety of fireworks over revenue nonprofits can benefit from.

PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) -- Fireworks, the quintessential Fourth of July symbol, are once again causing an explosive debate in the city of Pacifica.

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In November, local voters will decide whether the town should continue to allow the sales of fireworks in their community or ban them for good.

It's a question that's divided the city for years.

With opponents pointing to the environmental damage they can cause, and those in favor saying the local nonprofits that sell them in booths around town rely on them for revenue.

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"It would be detrimental. We would lose, it's about half our budget. Half our income from this at least," said firework vendor, Grant Palmer.

All of the booths combined will make anywhere from $180,000-$200,000 over the holiday weekend.

Money that's then put back into the community in more ways than one.

"And, also, the tax from the fireworks pays for overtime for our law enforcement," said Pacifica Mayor, Mary Bier.

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Customer Shannon Sims says she sees both sides of the argument.

She wants the local nonprofits to get their money, but also worries about the increased risk of wildfires.

"That's a tough one, actually. Because I know it's a big fundraiser for our community, but with wildfires being what they've been, especially over the past few years," Sims said.

But some fireworks proponents say they think the wildfire fears are overblown in a town like Pacifica.

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"These are safe and sane fireworks. These are not the fireworks that you buy illegal that go up in the air. These, you know, barely go above six feet," said Palmer.

This isn't the first time the fireworks question has been on the ballot. Pacifica voters also decided on the same issue back in 1983 and 1996.

Back then, voters approved the sales of fireworks by margins of 24% and 40% respectively

A trend Palmer says, he's confident will continue this fall.

"That's why we don't have really a backup plan at this point, because we don't think it's going to pass. We think fireworks are here to stay," he said.

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