Town Square

Post a New Topic

Tri-city fireworks summit examines enforcement, culture change

Original post made on Jun 30, 2020

Loud explosions on East Palo Alto's city streets formed a backdrop for a public meeting on Monday night as leaders from three cities met to discuss the growing problem of fireworks.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 9:51 AM

Comments (20)

Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:36 am

> This month, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District has put out six fires, including ones that threatened homes

I think it would be a terrible blow to the community if fireworks resulted in residents losing their homes, not to mention loved ones, in the middle of a viral epidemic. With summer and lack of gardening, our homes are particularly vulnerable to fires. Regardless of the reason for fireworks, none of them are more important than safety. Surely there are alternatives to recreation and statements.

Posted by jguislin
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:48 am

I applaud the efforts of our officials to bring together their experience to look for solutions to this serious issue. It will require continued dialog and community engagement to bring more peace back into our neighborhoods. The question remains open about how our three small cities can address the state and nationwide issue of illegal supply. Perhaps we should consider seeking assistance from bigger organizations like the California State Police, FBI, ATF, etc.

Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:56 am

Are these fireworks being manufactured and distributed by legitimate businesses? I say follow the money and prosecute the suppliers. Putting them out of business will make it a lot harder for residents to get their hands on the illegal products.

Posted by Eyes emoji
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:13 am

I agree that the overuse of fireworks is bad and should be stopped. But try investigating the police department as well, because in other cities they’re planting fireworks. Don’t know if this is the case here, but it could be... And if you do arrest people for fireworks and it’s not the police is it too much to ask to arrest them peacefully and not brutalize them?.

Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:18 am

It was a mistake to cancel the fireworks this year at Shoreline and other places in the Bay Area. Now on the 4th many will be headed to Fresno and other areas outside of the Bay Area with fireworks shows. Others will choose to stay home and hold their own illegal fireworks show. It is a disaster in the making that could have been so easily prevented.

Posted by Solution options
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:05 pm


“Perhaps we should consider seeking assistance from bigger organizations like the California State Police, FBI, ATF, etc.”

Yes - that was not sufficiently covered last night. There should be an investigation and accountability to the communities about how the cancellation of firework events resulted in the sale/dump to non-professionals.

The burden is being put on the communities most affected when this looks like a perfect storm fueled by the dumping of these dangerous devices.

How do professionals get access; how are excess supplies controlled. Why are these allowed to be legal anywhere in the country to then so easily smuggled intra- state. For this intelligence, local resources can only go so far and then to do something about it. But efforts must be led by the cities to get a serious investigation done asap, before New Years and solution options.

Short term, what can County Sherrifs do? The governor, tech companies, call everybody in.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:14 pm

As far as I can see, the culture has changed this year.

In previous years the illegal firework culture was for about a week either side of the 4th. It was something that we generally accepted as being what happens every year.

This is not the case this year. The bangs started mid May, started early in the evening and continued sometimes beyond midnight, and it happens every single evening.

This is a culture change. It is not pleasant for most of us, very alarming for some, and causing real problems for those with health issues, the young, the elderly, and animals. This is not a pleasant culture change. Those who think it is OK to disturb the community for weeks on end are not being neighborly or celebratory. This is illegal activity and very disturbing to see that people who live among us or in a nearby community are continuing this anti-social behavior with total disregard to the harm they are causing.

Posted by Solutions options
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:45 pm


"In previous years the illegal firework culture was for about a week either side of the 4th. It was something that we generally accepted as being what happens every year."

This year is different because of a dump of explosives that "professionals" could not use and these devices ended up on the streets.

The culture issue I note is that noise harm is generally accepted. Outcry for help on noise gets ridiculed and ignored.

If this issue did not have a fire component, would anyone not affected even care?

Would people still care if noise was bothering health workers being deprived of sleep? How many hours would be good enough for them 3-4 hours?

Would people be convening about the elderly who cannot go on Zoom and organize to get help from officials about the booms?

The POSITIVE culture change is that enough people are saying we care. We care and want to do something about it.

Posted by Jim H
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:48 pm

If residents of these cities can find the trucks that are selling these fireworks, maybe the police should use the same way to find them. How do they advertise so that people can find them?
These guys could be fined heavily and charged with selling illegal fireworks.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:55 pm

Let’s hope details are reported on the supposed fireworks bust this morning!

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 30, 2020 at 1:57 pm

I think this article is too soft and casual about this situation. Aside from the obvious fire risk, my God! - this is excessive and disrespectful. Illegal fireworks involved to some extent. I think police should stake out a couple cars and arrest people.

Posted by Solutions options
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2020 at 2:49 pm

One of the states that allows the sale of explosives wrapped in 4th of July packaging is Pennsylvania

Web Link

"After a barrage of resident complaints, a Pennsylvania state senator doesn’t want to just change the state’s fireworks law allowing residents to buy and use consumer-grade pyrotechnics, she wants to get rid of the law altogether.

“It has gotten so bad I felt we had to do something dramatic to draw attention this,” said state Sen. Judith Schwank, D-Berks County."

When I mail a package, I am asked if there are any explosives in my mail, what a farce that after regular people do their part there is organized chaos and abuse allowed to fall on unsuspecting people.

Maybe the Weekly can report on where it's legal to sell.

Posted by Heidi Schwenk
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:21 pm

I hope the three cities post a request on NextDoor, for all citizens to report where they hear and or see fireworks near their homes. There have been several discussions on NextDoor for weeks about this issue. Some citizens have confronted their neighbors to stop using them, especially during the early mornings, such as 3am! Unfortunately the neighbors have replied to the requests with abuse and rude language, and continue to fire them off! The police haven’t been able to help because the people aren’t caught setting them off; they have to have them in their possession in order for the police to fine them.

Posted by Duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 2, 2020 at 10:25 pm

Try calling PAPD with a 2am complaint about fireworks or gunshots. “Sorry, Shot Spotter says it’s fireworks” or “call us back if you think the gunshots are on our side of the creek.” PAPD has never cared or never cared to help EPA PD.

Posted by got all the story?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 4, 2020 at 7:53 pm

Culture change??? what a joke, whatever political correct phrase that is meant to be. Get serious about hoodlums setting off fireworks at 2am . Increase fines especially for the ones selling.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2020 at 9:49 pm

It seems that canceling the displays has only made the unofficial displays more prevalent. 9.48 on 4th July, sounds like professional grade fireworks have been going on for the last 90 minutes at least.

F to whoever decided to cancel the displays.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 5, 2020 at 1:41 pm

Last night there were explosions all night long and they were not in EPA. Is someone saying that so that our city is off the hook for any action? They were at the low end of South PA, some in vicinity of my house, and then some going to the north end. Some were really "deep" - any destructive results? Were they in the creek? Putting explosives in the drains? Something is very wrong here and saying the are in EPA is part of the wrong.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2020 at 11:01 pm

On July 4th we drove around Palo Alto and were appalled at the lack of American flags being flown. We understand about the dissatisfaction with the current administration, but not respecting the flag on the Fourth of July!? Most homes that had Teslas parked in the driveway did not have flags out. This country that has enabled folks to achieve great prosperity, and not a single gesture if gratitude?!

What happened to Palo Alto?

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2020 at 9:16 am

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown

>> What happened to Palo Alto?

I will put a flag up on next Jan 20th, I *hope*, when we have a government that respects the US Constitution. The current administration is doing everything it can to undermine the 1st and 14th Amendments.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Mayfield
on Jul 7, 2020 at 5:48 pm

As far as freedom of speech goes, Palo Alto Online is one of the biggest offenders. If ones views are not aligned with the far left, your post will be removed. Thank goodness it has gotten better, they must have ditched one of their moderators.

@ Anon

I remember a quote in a movie from the The Band of Brothers:

“You salute the rank, not the man.”

This reminds me of your comment in regards to not putting up the flag on The Fourth of July.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Houjicha lattes and mango matcha: Kaizen and Coffee brings specialty coffee to San Mateo
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,386 views

How quickly will we electrify our homes?
By Sherry Listgarten | 9 comments | 2,056 views

Everything Falls – Lessons in Souffle
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 1,155 views