City Council approves fireworks sale extension

COSTA MESA — For the uninitiated, Costa Mesa's City Council meeting Tuesday night could have been overwhelming.

In about two hours of public comments, seemingly every city hot-button issue in the last year was touched on by residents and business owners.

Worried about the Orange County Fairgrounds? Residents got on Mayor Gary Monahan for recently using city letterhead in criticizing a Sacramento bill that seeks to keep the property public in a profit-sharing deal with the state.

Have an opinion on the police helicopter program that's seen cuts in recent years? So did residents, who encouraged the council to explore every way possible to save the multi-million dollar program, including partnering with a Newport Beach businessman.

Other residents and city employees spoke up, as they have for the last two months, and railed against the council for approving potential layoffs to hundreds of city workers, if they can find a private company to replace city services.

Consummate critic and former council candidate Sue Lester even touched on marijuana dispensaries since city officials closed her business this week.

Once the council got to the evening's agenda, it addressed extending the window for using fireworks.

Children came out in force in support of this, with local high-school cheerleaders and football players saying fireworks sales fund their programs. The more that are set off, the more they can sell, they argued.

Most adults not linked to the youth programs said they were fine with extending the sales window, but opposed allowing fireworks to be set off the weekend leading up to the Fourth of July holiday.

In a 3-1 vote, with Councilwoman Wendy Leece dissenting and Councilman Eric Bever absent, the council approved extending the fireworks sales window from June 30 to July 4, and setting fireworks off from July 2 to the holiday.

In other council items, the Council approved 3-1, with Leece dissenting, hiring Management Partners Inc. consultant Tamara Letourneau as the city interim administrative services director. Her pay is $120 an hour, or $120,000 for the rest of the year.

City officials said Letourneau will oversee the department's restructuring as the city works through the potential layoffs in the fall. The former department director took another job last month.

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