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Fireworks and Freedom

May 11, 1986

I've seen the quote, "Your rights end where my nose begins," used a lot lately. It has a certain validity when over 8 million people live in this basin.

I was not able to attend the April 28 Culver City council meeting. In a way, I was relieved. I don't even remember how many years I've stood up and spoken against fireworks. I do remember my son was 10 years old when he accidentally set a fire in the hills with some "safe and sane" firecrackers his friends had brought for them to play with. . . . Thank goodness we do have a fine Fire Department, and it wasn't windy and dry.

I grew up on an Indian reservation among the tall pines in the mountains of Arizona. Every Fourth of July we lived in fear of the crazy "civilized" fisherman or camper who would insist on celebrating his "independence" with fireworks. Now I live in fear of the crazy "civilized" homeowner who will insist on celebrating his "independence" by landing a hot sparkler in some dry brush.

It's one thing to say "safe and sane" fireworks are legal in Culver City and quite another to place our stands all around the boundaries of our city so that they are easily accessible to all of the areas where fireworks are illegal. Clearly, the $500,000 spent on fireworks each year does not come solely from Culver City residents--we would all be broke!

I suppose if there is a fire in the Santa Monica Mountains or Griffith Park or the Baldwin Hills, we can always claim a match started the fire, not the fireworks.

I wonder how much money we cost our neighbors by way of extra patrol and protection on the Fourth? Ah, I can hear the rebuttal already: "They would have to do it anyway." Perhaps, but we would not be a part of the cause.

I read in the paper this morning that Councilwoman (Jozelle) Smith does not want to "pull the rug out from under the nonprofit groups who have based their budgets on this year's fireworks proceeds." Do you mean to say that we just went through three months of election campaigning against fireworks and none of these groups thought to prepare an alternate budget?

I hate to see the first woman on our Culver City council in years buckle so soon.

The newspaper also reports that Councilman (Richard M.) Alexander considers the fireworks issue "trivial." Mr. Alexander, being a good neighbor to 8 million other people is not "trivial."

Thank you, Councilman (Paul A.) Jacobs, for being a man of courage and trying to stop the buck where it should be stopped, in the City Council.

I smoke, but my right to smoke ends where my neighbor's nose begins. On the issue of fireworks, we are burning our neighbors' noses.


Culver City

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