Petition Drive to Ban Consumer Fireworks UnderwayPermalink +
Thu, May 24, 2012, 8:22 am // Dick Conoboy
Last year I wrote an article explaining the rationale for banning consumer fireworks in Bellingham. (You can review that article at this link below - 1) The reasons I outlined in my article still apply. It is not even July but consumer fireworks started for some of us in April in Bellingham in spite of our local ordinance limiting them to several hours on July 4th and on New Year’s Eve. About 4:30 a.m. on Monday, April 9th, a 30-second, extremely loud burst of fireworks woke up Bellingham residents (including this writer) in the Samish/Puget hill area. The exact location of the “display” was not determined, but was likely in the area of the WWU/Lincoln St. parking lot.
Since January, a group of citizens, Freedom from Fireworks (read more at this link below - 2) has been collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to completely ban consumer fireworks within the city limits. Officially sanctioned displays would not be affected. Here is the text of the initiative:
“BALLOT TITLE: Bellingham Initiative No. 2012-01 concerns the regulation of consumer fireworks within the City. This measure would amend BMC 10.24.120, BMC 10.24.130 and BMC 17.20.070 to prohibit the manufacture, storage, transportation, sale, possession or discharge of consumer fireworks within the City. This measure would make the penalty for the first violation of BMC 10.24.130 a civil infraction. Second or subsequent violations would be a misdemeanor.
Should the measure be enacted into law? Yes (__) No (__)”
You can read the entirety of the submission to include the code revisions on this initiative at this link below -3.
Since launching the hard-copy petition drive in mid-January, many citizens still ask about the rationale for banning fireworks. Here is a quick review of a few of the negative impacts of the personal use of consumer fireworks:
The disturbance of the peace with random, war-like barrages of noise.
The terror experienced by sufferers of post-traumatic stress (think of our veterans) and certain neurological disorders, as well as the undue stress on both domestic and wild animals.
The littering of our streets, yards, sidewalks, roofs and gutters with trash from spent fireworks.
The pollution of the air we breathe and the water we drink, not to mention the water in our streams and lakes ingested by wildlife.
The increased risk of wild fires to wooded-areas as well as to housing and other structures. Note: Twenty-seven (27) fireworks-related fires between 2006 and 2011. The fire damage ($120,000) to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe wooden railroad trestle and tracks in southwest Bellingham in July, 2011.
These are but some of the reasons that Freedom from Fireworks has launched the effort to get PROPOSITION NO. 1 on the November general election ballot to limit fireworks within the City of Bellingham to professionally-staged public fireworks displays. Those who now vote in Bellingham can sign this petition to put PROPOSITION NO. 1 before all the voters in November.
Organizers told me you can find copies of the petition to sign at the following locations:
Tails-A-Wagging (3959 Hammer Drive) in Irongate
City Dogs (corner of West Holly & Prospect)
Bellingham Veterinary Clinic (corner of State and Virginia)
My Pet’s Place (1212 Dupont)
Maplewood Animal Hospital (2869 West Maplewood)
Hohl Feed and Seed (1322 Railroad)
Village Veterinary Hospital in Sehome (236-36th Street)
Bailey’s Bath House (1633 Birchwood #104)
Paws Awhile (1200 10th #105) In Fairhaven
Trek Video (1213 Harris)
Look also for volunteers who are gathering signatures periodically at the Farmers’ Market, both Co-ops, Bellingham Fred Meyer stores, Trader Joes and all Bellingham Haggens stores.
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