Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Like many others, I had high hopes that the use of illegal fireworks would have diminished this past Fourth of July after the passage of the city’s new ordinance to deal with the problem. Unfortunately, just the opposite appeared to be true, and this past holiday seemed to be the worst so far in terms of noise and aerial displays. I’m surprised that the police cited such a small number of violators. I could stand in my driveway and see aerial bursts in every direction just blocks from my house. We went over to Airport and Wawona to watch the city’s fireworks display which ended early due to the unfortunate injury of the operator, but there was no shortage of very sophisticated fireworks in the nearby neighborhood for all to see.
If the mayor, the city council, and the police and fire departments are serious about curbing the use of illegal fireworks, they are going to have to come up with a better plan than the one that they have currently, of citing some violators and hoping that the word somehow magically gets out to the rest. One component of that plan could be to offer amnesty to anyone wishing to turn in illegal fireworks, perhaps to their nearest fire station. If a parent knows that they can get slapped with a $1,000 fine for the actions of their child, they might want to take advantage of such an option. The city could even sweeten the pot and offer gift cards from Savemart, Raley’s, or other cooperating merchants as an incentive.
If the past holiday was any indication, most people were unaware of the new ordinance or just did not care and were willing to take their chances. The city has a year to come up with a better solution, and I for one hope that they do so.