A budget-conscious filmmaker could create some believable battlefield sound effects by recording Los Angeles after sunset on the Fourth of July. Videos shot from helicopters and hilltops this Independence Day made clear to our eyes what our ears on the ground told us: Fireworks were set off everywhere in Southern California, in rich and poor neighborhoods alike. Legal status had little effect, as the city of Los Angeles and other places than ban fireworks appeared to endure as many evening explosions as the cities where the “safe and sane” variety are sold in seemingly every other parking lot.
Yet despite these fireworks’ omnipresence in Southern California — and not just on July 4 — no one seems to like them. At least that’s true of our letter writers, who complain that the annual regional barrage of fireworks frightens their pets, fouls their air and fills the night with needless noise pollution.
Fran Potaski of North Hills faults lax law enforcement:
The smell of powder was heavy in the air as I drove home. Every year my neighbors complain about illegal fireworks being shot off. This year has been the worst.
Fireworks started exploding on Memorial Day and have continued going off every night since. As I write this, at almost 11 p.m. on July 4, the incessant booms are going off around my house. The police tell us to call in, but they never come. Where are they?
There has been heavy advertisement this year that people caught will be ticketed. But the more notice there is about this, the worse it gets. The promise of fines is merely an idle threat.
Allen Drucker of Newport Beach worries about air pollution:
I had never thought much about the pollution fireworks cause, but for me, your article on the topic was the last straw.
Who needs fireworks? For the huge expense by cities that put on a show, the entertainment is so short-lived and the side effects so horrible, that I feel it is time for fireworks to disappear into history.
In addition, sales of even “safe and sane” fireworks should be banned everywhere. These devices cause fires, destruction and countless injuries.
In a letter sent before July 4, Reseda resident Courtney Caron warns of fireworks’ effects on pets:
The Fourth of July is a celebratory time for our country, but readers should be aware of the damage that fireworks do to pets.
Fireworks started before the Fourth in my neighborhood. In fact, several were detonated across the street from my house around midnight recently, and the loud “boom” sent both of my dogs into a major panic.
Many residents choose to celebrate the holiday by setting off fireworks, but those who live in unincorporated parts of L.A. County should know that the local fire code makes it illegal to store, manufacture, sell, use or handle all forms of fireworks without a valid permit.
I implore your readers to think about what effect their behavior has on their community. Please think of the animals you are terrifying when you set off fireworks in your neighborhood.