Fireworks issue raises broader questions for city

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Just because you can restrict something, should you?

And, what's the best way for law enforcement officers to spend their time?

Those are some of the broader questions that should be answered by the City Council as it discusses the issue of tighter control of fireworks.

The council approved an ordinance on first reading Monday night that will place tighter time constraints on fireworks, as to how long and at what time of day they can be set off.

We can understand the reasoning behind the ordinance. Volunteer and paid firefighters spend way too much time responding to fires ignited by careless use of fireworks. Dispatchers and police officers spend far too many hours responding to noise complaints.

We've often used this space to advocate fewer private fireworks displays in favor of large community events.

But will tighter restrictions actually help? We can envision ne'er-do-wells setting off fireworks in one part of town as a diversion from more serious mischief.

And, is preventing the illegal ignition of lady fingers the best use of a well-equipped, highly trained law enforcement officer's time and the costly prosecution that results?

For that matter, we'd like to see an accounting of how much time is spent responding to and dealing with animal complaints. Listening to the scanner and reading the police log, it seems that far too much time and effort is spent investigating barking dog complaints and hauling stray animals to the shelter.

But what's the answer? Is it raising dogtag license fees to fund an animal control department?

Should fireworks fees help pay for the time firefighters and police officers spend dealing with the problems they cause?

Perhaps nothing needs to change.

But any discussion of new restrictions on citizen behavior should include some accounting of the cost of enforcement -- both in taxpayer dollars and in the loss of civil liberties.

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  • Fireworks noise is nothing compared to the car races every friday all summer till midnight or later which have even tested much above any legal level but mccook city council and city police choose ignore or enforce exsisting legal noise ordinances and let car racers make illigal noise so now you want to go after a fireworks celebrating a birthday or graduation what a joke.......till you shut down the car races how do you pick and choose which noisemaker to give a ticket to on noise levels.......shut down races then shut down fireworks if thats what you want to do........

    -- Posted by Cornwhisperer on Thu, Oct 4, 2007, at 3:54 PM
  • I dont understand why people feel they have to exagerrate. "car races every friday all summer till midnight or later."

    Is 10 races ran from April 13th thru August 24th "8 races on Friday night and 2 Races on Saturday night". Considered every Friday night all summer long?????

    Why attack an event that only takes place ten times a year. Why not go after the people that cant keep their dogs in their yard. This seems to be an everyday problem.

    -- Posted by movis on Sat, Oct 6, 2007, at 3:25 PM
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