WEST COVINA — Legal fireworks displays are a thing of the past in this city.
Voters doused the use and sale of "safe and sane" fireworks by better than a 2-1 margin Tuesday with a vote of 4,468 to 2,011.
The outcome makes West Covina the 16th San Gabriel Valley city to ban recreational pyrotechnics. Fireworks are also prohibited in unincorporated areas of the county.
"Now we can go forward and really take steps to protect our homes, our pets and our children," said Steve Millar, chairman of Citizens to Ban Fireworks. "The first year is going to be an education process. Even though we had good support (Tuesday) night, the general populace is going to have to be better informed."
The City Council outlawed fireworks on a 3-2 vote in August, but a coalition of veterans groups forced the referendum by gathering signatures from 10% of the city's voters. One fireworks manufacturer has estimated that the five veterans groups, the only organizations previously allowed to sell fireworks, made $120,000 from the sale of pyrotechnics for the Fourth of July last year.
Firecrackers, bottle rockets and more potent fireworks are prohibited in California. Sparklers, cones and other fireworks that emit sparks but do not shoot or explode have been deemed "safe and sane" by the state fire marshal and are regulated by local governments.
On Feb. 7, voters in La Verne upheld that city's fireworks ban by a 3-1 margin. As in West Covina, the ban was opposed by service organizations and fireworks manufacturers.
In both referendum elections, ban supporters were outspent by large margins.
30 of 30 precincts, 15.3% turnout
BALLOT MEASURE Shall West Covina city ordinance No. 1790 banning the sale and discharge of all fireworks in the city be adopted?
Vote % Yes 4,468 68.9 No 2,01 31.0