On the morning of May 25, 2020 at 6:04 a.m. I woke up to read an article in our beloved neighborhood newspaper, The Suburban Times. The article was titled, Lakewood City Council reviews fireworks regulations. Click my link to refer back to the article and to gain access to a city LINK which allows you to send comments for or against the proposed ordinance to our city council.
I clicked the city link and sent my thoughts to our city council. My document to council with small edits is embedded below. The document speaks for itself.
COPY OF EMAIL TO LAKEWOOD CITY COUNCIL:
Memo To: Lakewood City Council
Date: May 25, 2020
Last year in 2019, the “pyrotechnic genius” on 116th St SW in Lakewood shot fireworks for days on end at all hours. Lacking the required skill to shoot fireworks, two of his fireballs (Roman Candles) shot over our fence and landed on our roof. These two fireworks devices were on fire when they hit our roof, creating a giant stain on our roofing material that we woke up to the next morning. Two of us could have died in our sleep.
Luckily for us, we had converted from a wood shake roof to a standing seam metal roof, so our house did not burn to the ground, nor was anyone injured or killed. We were also pleased the “fireworks genius” did not start a forest fire in the many fir trees in our neighborhood.
Remnants/trash from fireworks such as bottle rockets were scattered throughout our neighborhood, exposing at least three properties and their occupants to harm.
I was careful to be pleasant when I contacted my neighbor to share our concerns and ask him to stop the dangerous fireworks. He told me one of his guests was a policeman, and another was a fireman. They told him he could shoot all the fireworks he wanted in Lakewood.
We then called the police, but 911 claimed not to have enough law enforcement staff to respond to fireworks complaints. Fireworks complaints should come as no surprise to Lakewood City Council and the Lakewood Police Department.
City council should make sure our police department has appropriate funding for proper staffing to handle fireworks complaints, including enforcing the law and confiscating illegal fireworks. When I worked Lakewood, we had a specially dedicated law enforcement team to respond to fireworks complaints.
Lacking police protection, the City of Lakewood is promoting having its citizens take vigilante action. Vigilante action occurs when citizens deem law enforcement to be inadequate.
While I have a long history of supporting our Lakewood Police Department and will continue to do so in the future, last year the department was inadequate during the fireworks period.
Citizen anger, fireworks, and civilian guns are not a good mix. Ask yourself, “Should I let someone set my house on fire or should I fight back to defend my property?”
An adequate fireworks ordinance can prevent the devastation depicted in my photo below from occurring in the City of Lakewood if Lakewood City Council has the required backbone to do the right thing by eliminating fireworks in our city.
The ordinance should then be supported by enforcement. If the word spreads in our community that illegal use of fireworks is sure to bring consequences, then the dangerous behavior will stop.
My photo depicts the possible results of combining fireworks with a weak city ordinance and no law enforcement. One home, one motorhome, and one jeep destroyed along with the home’s contents.
Families victimized by injury, death, property damage, and devastation are not likely to wish the Lakewood City Council a Happy 4th of July!
I realize our council is only considering reducing the hazardous days from 4 days to 2 days and I thank you for that. The proposed ordinance will help, so I urge you to please vote YES.
Next, I would ask that Lakewood City Council create and pass an ordinance that eliminates all fireworks every day of the year.
While fireworks supporters will intensely disagree, know that outlawing products that year after year creates harm, is the right thing for Lakewood City Council to do. Then back your action with enforcement.
Interestingly the street sign in left side of my photo accentuates the fact that often fireworks can be a dead end.
In closing, I feel the need to be a devil’s advocate on one point with no desire to confuse Lakewood City Council.
If City Council chooses to allow fireworks on New Years’ Eve, the lawful hours should run from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 a.m.
The peak excitement and celebration for the New Year are at 11:59 p.m. and 12:01 a.m., and running to not later than 12:30 a.m. That is when the Times Square Ball drops in New York City, the horns blow, and joyful and drunken citizens ignite fireworks. Happy New Year! I ask that this time extension be considered not for me, but for the fireworks exploding fun seekers. If fireworks are lawful on that day, 12:30 a.m. makes sense and it comes only once a year.
END OF LETTER TO LAKEWOOD CITY COUNCIL.
If you agree with my views, please send your own comments to Lakewood City Council. You can simply tell them you agree with Joe Boyle, which is quick and easy, or you can craft your own comments.
If you disagree with my views, please wait until after the council has voted on the ordinance before expressing yourself. Oh, wait a minute, that is not right. You still have freedom of speech, so feel free to tell our council why you disagree with Joe Boyle.
Comments to Lakewood City Council can be sent via email to City Clerk Briana Schumacher at bschumacher, or by mailing written comment to:
City of Lakewood
Attn: Briana Schumacher
6000 Main St SW
Lakewood, WA 98499