Councilmember Austin To Seek Public Opinion on Lifting Fireworks Ban

Councilmember Al Austin will introduce a unique agenda item at this week’s City Council meeting: he will ask the City Clerk to place an advisory question on the upcoming citywide election ballot asking Long Beach voters, “Should the City of Long Beach allow the sale, use and possession of state approved fireworks within the city limits?”

In addition, Austin will ask that the Office of the Mayor find appropriate outlets to express arguments both for and against the possibility of bringing fireworks into the city limits.

Currently, the City has a strict prohibition against the explosives, including those that are considered “safe and sane” on a state level. The problem, according to the agenda item’s documentation, is that neighboring cities—Bellflower, Carson, Compton, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, and Paramount—all permit the sales of fireworks, which makes the enforcement of Long Beach’s own prohibition more difficult and expensive.

“By allowing the sale and use of Safe and Sane fireworks in Long Beach, the police department can focus their enforcement efforts on illegal fireworks,” said Austin in his memorandum. “In other adjacent communities, local non-profit groups raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support their organizations in the one-week period during which the sale of fireworks is allowed, while the cities receive revenue in sales tax, permits and other fees.”

The overall point, should the directive go through, is to gather a “good sense of the public sentiment” on the use of fireworks in the city before City Council drafts a possible ordinance.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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