Mailbag: Liquor rules should apply to existing businesses too

The new rules for businesses in downtown Huntington Beach are meaningless if they don't apply to existing businesses and just to new businesses.

I thought there was a ban on new businesses selling alcohol anyway. It's the current businesses that are causing the problems. It seems the city is more worried about these existing businesses and their patrons than the community affected.

Meanwhile, we need parking north of the pier. For five days over the Fourth of July weekend, the only city parking lots north of the pier were closed to allow for the setting up of booths.

These booths took up less than a quarter of the lots, but the whole lots were closed down to allow parking for support vehicles and people working the booths. It looked like almost half the spaces were going unused on one of the year's busiest weekends.

I don't believe these booths generate as much income as parking fees would have. Even if they do, we shouldn't be cutting back on already inadequate parking to provide a venue for short-time vendors.

Rather, we should do everything we can to increase business for the permanent businesses, which pay exorbitant rent and taxes.

Jeff Barnes

Huntington Beach

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Charging for paper bags is not OK

Paper bags are free now, so why charge 10 cents a bag after plastic bags are banned?

Before we had plastic bags, we only had paper — free of charge. The only reason I can see is to control our behavior. They want us all to use the germ-infected reusable cloth bags.

Judy Russell

Huntington Beach

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Legal fireworks are big mistake

The approval of fireworks in Huntington Beach was a big mistake by the City Council.

It seemed to pave the way for the use of illegal fireworks without any controls. This combination is foolish and unsafe and should be stopped before kids lose fingers or eyes.

As a healthcare professional, I would ban fireworks before more kids are injured or homes endangered by illegal rockets shot into the air. The noise is equally insane and a disturbance for animals and humans.

I support professional shows to celebrate the Fourth.

Andrew R. Einhorn

Huntington Beach

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Fireworks make for a stressful holiday

The approval in Huntington Beach of "safe and sane" fireworks opened the door wide for the unsafe and insane varieties.

Offering a phone number to report illegal fireworks was nothing but a pacifier. Do you really think we had enough police to cover all of the calls? I feel sorry for the police and fire personnel who had to be on duty for all of this.

The Huntington Beach police helicopter flew surveillance but was at risk of getting hit by the rocket launchers. As the helicopter would get near, people would stop their illegal use and then resume as it passed by.

Our neighborhood and elsewhere had fireworks that could have rivaled Disneyland's. The only difference were the idiots setting up the farcical hazards. They had no training in pyrotechnics and probably had spent the earlier part of the day drinking.

Thank you so much for approving the so-called safe and sane fireworks. It made residents feel a bit unsafe and yet scared to leave their homes and pets.

By the way, these same "pyros" did not wait until the Fourth to light up.

City Council, it looks like you did not fully think through your decision. Please reconsider.

Jo Ann Arvizu

Huntington Beach

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Politicians shouldn't be in charge of public health

I attended a few meetings recently in regard to the fire pits and they left me with a fair amount of confusion.

At one meeting, the mayor of Santa Ana started off with the observation that it does not take a rocket scientist to know this smoke is unhealthy to breathe. I was relieved that this was obvious to him, but by the end of the meeting it seemed clear that he and the other politicians present were very much in favor of keeping the nearly 500 fire pits in Huntington Beach — regardless of how toxic they may be for young children living nearby.

It made me wonder if these politicians would feel differently if it was their children breathing this smoke in their homes. Would they instead be pressing for alternative burning methods or moving some pits that are close to neighborhoods?

Five hundred is a large number of fire pits for a fairly small stretch of coastline. They produce huge amounts of smoke.

I agree the pits are a fun amenity, but is it really OK to put at rish the health of children living nearby so that others can have fun sitting around a fire burning things? Something seems fundamentally wrong about that.

I was relieved at one meeting to see the mayor of Huntington Beach, because I had read she's a strong advocate of making the city a greener place to live and had even received an environmental hero award. I was eager to hear her concerns for constituents but was very disappointed when she sided with the other politicians and offered no plans for change.

One thing did become clear. Elected officials should not be in the position of deciding between public health (especially that of children) and what is popular and produces revenue for the city. If they seek reelection, it seems obvious what side they will likely favor.

This is why public health agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the AQMD exist. Their job is to be objective and scientific as they protect the public's health.

I hope the AQMD will remember this amid the political pressure. Certainly alternatives can be put forth to protect health while keeping some of the fire pits located farther from neighborhoods.

Julie Sandercock

Huntington Beach 

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