The eight-day July 4th fireworks “extravaganza” on the Long Beach Peninsula continues despite the fact that a well-conducted study by the Not A Ban A Better Plan group determined that approximately 80% of residents feel that the current use, abuse, and (lack of) regulation of personal fireworks is excessive. Eight days, not including the un-enforced “extra” days, is too much.
In a glaring failure of representative government, our local representatives chose to ignore the overwhelming majority of us who would like to see the July 4th excesses scaled back. The negative impacts of fireworks on the health and well-being of people, pets, and wildlife are well documented. Fireworks have deleterious effects on many combat veterans. Firework toxicity to the air and water are also well documented, not to mention the piles of trash that are left on the beaches and in our yards after the festivities are done and the celebrants have left us residents to clean up the mess.
There are some who feel that our Peninsula economy is so fragile that if we try to scale back the excesses of firework use then all of our local businesses will fail and we will become a ruined ghost town. How Cannon Beach has survived and thrived without fireworks must be some sort of magic; I guess they do have a big rock, that must be it. I don’t want us to turn into a Cannon Beach but it is interesting to note that they sell out their hotels all summer long at rates two to three times what ours charge, all without any fireworks. I think that the Long Beach Peninsula is better than a location for people to trash and then go home. We do not need to suffer this exhausting deluge in order to thrive economically. We have more to offer and we should expect respectful treatment of this place and the residents.
I don’t think we need to prostitute ourselves in order to thrive economically. However, our local leaders and a few others do. In the absence of a response to the will of the majority, I am proposing an alternative. Since fireworks are an economic boon worthy of forcing disrespect and disregard upon the local citizens, I propose that all Long Beach Peninsula, or Pacific County, residents get an annual dividend from this boon, much like the Permanent Fund Dividend received by Alaska residents as a result of their oil revenues. Perhaps funded by the purveyors of the fireworks, who benefit most from the neglect of our representative government. This would help defray the cost borne by residents who have to pay for drugs to sedate pets, or have to pay to leave their homes during this annual assault, or to compensate us for our time in cleaning up the mess that is left in the wake of these festivities, or to compensate us for the degradation of our quality of life and the degradation of other Peninsula assets during this time period. I think about $1,000 per year sounds right.