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ORANGE COUNTY PERSPECTIVE : The Bucks Aren’t Worth the Bang

The ballot question facing voters in Westminster’s Measure E on June 5 is a simple one: Should the sale and use of fireworks be banned?

That is a question that most other Orange County communities already have answered with an emphatic yes. They have outlawed their dangerous use.

Westminster residents should outlaw them, too.

Five years ago, only five county cities banned all fireworks, except for those used by professionals in public displays. Today, fireworks are banned in the unincorporated county area, in 22 of the county’s 29 cities, and Orange is considering doing the same.

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Those communities finally realized that the funds raised by organizations with city permits to operate stands selling fireworks didn’t match the loss of property, or the pain and suffering of children and adults, caused by fireworks. That includes the so-called state-designated “safe and sane” variety that are not propelled and do not explode.

Last year, 85% of injuries in Orange County attributed to fireworks occurred in the seven cities that still allow them. That is why police, fire, school and medical officials, like those who signed the official ballot argument in Westminster, always take such strong stands urging residents to ban fireworks.

The disturbing injury statistics should prompt the seven cities where fireworks still can be sold to do something. Tuesday in Westminster is a good place to start.

Others throughout the county and in surrounding areas have come to understand that safety is the real issue. Community organizations can find other sources of revenue that don’t expose contributors to severe injury and fire. A ban makes it easier to control illegal fireworks, too.

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Westminster residents should vote Yes on Measure E. That’s not just because most everyone else has, but because all fireworks are dangerous and a ban is the safest and sanest approach.


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