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New Menlo Park firework penalties to skyrocket to $1,000

Original post made on Jun 10, 2021

Anyone thinking of lighting illegal fireworks in Menlo Park this Fourth of July, or any other time, now has another big reason to think twice: The penalty for getting caught has risen to up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 10, 2021, 11:26 AM

Comments (2)

Posted by Chuck Bernstein
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 10, 2021 at 1:17 pm

Chuck Bernstein is a registered user.

As a 50-plus-year resident of The Willows, I am delighted by the tougher stance on fireworks (if that's what it ends up being) taken by the Menlo Park City Council. Thank you.

Frankly, I'm much more concerned about the sleep health of our seniors, odd-shift workers, and PTSD veterans, as well as those living near wildfire areas and our panicked pets, than I am about a $1,000 fine for a low-income person who is setting off the fireworks. The knee-jerk reaction regarding unequal impacts on the poor is misplaced, and is due to a basic misunderstanding of the problem. The fact is that most of those being affected--the seniors, odd-shift workers, and PTSD veterans--are low income. They can least afford the sealed windows of air-conditioned premises and they lack the easy access to health care that those with fragile health require. Some of the professional-grade bombs and rockets that are going off are very expensive, so it is obvious that a perpetrator is likely to be able to pay the fine without hardship. Finally, some of the fireworks contests are the result of gang competition, so cramping such activities is probably a good thing.

I hope that Chief Norris' definitions of "discretion" and "education" do not mean ignoring the problem by issuing warnings only. At the very least, perpetrators should be required to disclose their suppliers, which could lead to an elimination of the problem at its source; such disclosures would probably be worth issuing no more than a warning. The City Council may want to consider an ordinance that fines those caught dealing the fireworks or with a quantity of at least five pounds with a fine of $25,000 or more. They are the ones who are benefiting from the sale of these devices.

If someone really wants to protect those who are less privileged, it is far better to advocate for the victims of indiscriminate fireworks rather than the perpetrators.

--Chuck Bernstein
444 Oak Court


Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:07 pm

Brian is a registered user.

I see a vast difference between Sparklers and Snakes and other very limited, not loud fireworks and things like Bottle Rockets, Cherry Bombs, mortar fired fireworks and the likes of M80's and M100's, etc. I personally find that issuing a $1000 citation for a kid with a sparkler or a snake is ridiculous, especially if they are using that on private property and under adult supervision. At the same time we suffer night after night with explosions that in some cases rattle the windows in the Willows and make it sound like a warzone outside and the police seem helpless to stop them.


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