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Will Lathrop allow fireworks this year?

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POSTED May 3, 2010 1:33 a.m.
LATHROP - The Lathrop City Council will determine tonight whether nonprofit groups in the community will be selling Safe and Sane Fireworks for the Fourth of and the city’s birthday celebrations and raise funds at the same time.

At least one council member, Christopher Mateo, has already adamantly stated his position on the proposal and is expected to cast a “no” vote on the staff’s recommendation to approve the fireworks fund-raising sale along with the change in the Lathrop Municipal Code that is necessary to allow the sale. The old ordinance bans the sale of fireworks.

With Mateo against the above proposals, that leaves only three members of the council that will provide the critical votes to make or break the fund-raising vehicle that is supported by practically every nonprofit group in the community. At the last council meeting, resident Tony Martin voiced his opposition to the fireworks sale on the ground that such pyrotechnics are detrimental to the health of pets, specifically dogs.

Mateo’s reason for opposing the sale of Safe and Sane Fireworks revolves around safety issues.

The others that will determine the fate of the proposal will be Mayor Kristy Sayles, Vice Mayor Martha Salcedo and Council member Sonny Dhaliwal. Councilman Robert Oliver resigned in mid-March. His term ends in December. After his resignation, the council decided against a special election or appointment process to fill his vacant seat and will simply use the November elections to name his successor.

Resident Rosalinda Valencia, one of those who spoke in favor of the fireworks sale proposal, pointed out that this program is an effective fund-raising vehicle for perennially cash-strapped organizations. She pointed out that her own church in Manteca which took part in last year’s Safe and Sane Fireworks sale raised $27,000 just in a matter of three days.

Mayor Sayles also pointed out during past discussions that this will be one way for the July 1 Lathrop Birthday Celebration Committee to raise the needed money to continue the annual picnic and fireworks activities for the city’s Picnic in the Park birthday celebrations. After one resident questioned why the city should be involved in the Safe and Sane Fireworks fund-raising which would require a $350 fee for every participant, city staff explained that it would not be the city that will be manning or organizing the booth but the birthday committee made up of volunteer residents.

The City Council will meet at 7 o’clock tonight in the council chambers at City Hall, 390 Towne Centre Drive at Mossdale Landing in Lathrop.

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