No fireworks in San Ramon for 2014 Independence Day

Parks & Community Services Commission votes down Old Ranch launch site

Plans to bring fireworks back to San Ramon for the Fourth of July were shot down by the city's Parks & Community Services Commission on Wednesday night.

The commission decided not to consider a plan to move the display to Old Ranch Park as a shoot location.

Instead, it recommended continuing the smaller celebration begun in 2012, featuring a salute to veterans, performances by the city's symphonic band and a high-energy band to cap the event, and no fireworks. That's the same sort of show the city began after a 2011 pyrotechnics event that brought record crowds, led to gridlock and created other problems such as small fires and property damage.

A fireworks show at a total cost of $167,000 -- including the aerial display, security and other items -- was eliminated from the list early in the discussion after the commission talked briefly about concerns brought by residents near Old Ranch Park. The park has been considered as a location to shoot off the fireworks, but not as a place to watch them.

In two meetings, on Jan 15 and Feb. 8, residents worried about crowds, fire dangers and fallout from the display. The Parks & Community Services Commission received two petitions opposing the aerial display and the threat of a lawsuit, along with about 100 people who spoke out against the plan.

Some of the opponents to the plan were out at the Wednesday night meeting as well, expressing gratitude that the commission had voted down the plan and repeating their concerns.

Resident Farrakh Khodadadi estimated cost of the aerial display would be about $950/minute for a 20-minute show. He suggested San Ramon work with Dublin to create a show, possibly at Camp Parks, where people would pay to enter.

City officials said the cost of fireworks alone at Old Ranch Park would be about $26,000, putting the cost per minute at about $1,300.

After aerial fireworks were eliminated from consideration, Commissioner Will Doerlich moved that the commission consider an event with about 25 minutes of low-level fireworks at Central Park.

Ground level fireworks, such as those used at indoor concerts, would be visible only by those at the park and would bump the estimated cost of the event from $45,000 to $100,000.

Commissioner Heidi Kenniston-Lee supported the idea of having low-level fireworks at Central Park, saying she thought it could help build a sense of community.

"The beauty of it is we can change directions," she said. "We can try it."

Commissioner Dominique Yancey said the additional $55,000 could be put to better use elsewhere in San Ramon, noting there's a need for extended library hours, and that the city has just begun a push to purchase open space.

"I love fireworks ... (but) I cannot reconcile this," Yancy said. "The public has a right to insist, expect and demand the highest level of public service."

The recommendation to continue the existing show will be forwarded to city council for consideration at its Feb. 25 meeting.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jason
a resident of Danville
on Feb 14, 2014 at 8:12 am

Get it together and figure it out! Shame on all of you for not bringing the fireworks back.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Danville
on Feb 14, 2014 at 8:39 am

How many of these people who oppose the fireworks display are U.S. citizens and how many are here on visas? Farrakh Khodadadi gives me pause... I wonder if he understands the value of our 4th of July celebration. It certainly doesn't appear so.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jason K
a resident of Danville
on Feb 14, 2014 at 9:54 am

"Mom of 3" sure seems to be reading a lot into a name and making ugly assumptions. I hope that she is not passing her bigotry along to her three children...

BTW: I too want the fireworks back and it seems a shame that they cannot figure it out.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Zeena Foabe
a resident of Danville
on Feb 14, 2014 at 11:18 am

Close the southern border! And by that I mean the one with San Ramon -- no more parade for you, buncha 'moaners.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Feb 14, 2014 at 11:24 am

Nothing says "American values" like explosions and bigotry...

 +   Like this comment
Posted by MJ
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 14, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I supported fire works when San Ramon was 'flush' with money. But we are not yet back to that fiscal level, so I would rather see our tax dollars spent for activities that benefit San Ramon property tax payers. And I was born in USA and consider myself patiotic, even supporting Mt Vernon and Williamsburg Foundations every year.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Xin Han
a resident of Blackhawk
on Feb 14, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Good move, fireworks $$ will be well spent elsewhere. Invest in education, communities, social support, parks, police, teachers, firemen ...

Thanks for listening.

Xin Han from beautiful Blackhawk

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Debora
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 18, 2014 at 10:08 am

I am so thankful that we came to San Ramon 31 years ago and were able to share in the once traditional July 4th Celebration with our 3 sons growing up. It was such a joy walking and riding our bikes with our family and neighbors to see the show of a lifetime as my boys would say. We all looked forward to a safe and sane event. So sad that a few who really do not get this joy of community have to ruin it for the future families of San Ramon. Having great parks, libraries, etc. Are important but nothing is more important than precious time with your family on a blanket at the park celebrating our freedom and history.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Feb 18, 2014 at 10:30 am

Someone will no doubt take exception, but I will always carry the fun memory of watching the 'works from the slope above the park, along a golf hole with my family and many other folks. The sprinklers around the seating area went-off one-by-one to discourage us patriots, but we brought a five-gallon bucket that fit neatly, upside-down over the sprinkler heads. My daughter and I would race around and blunt each attack as it commenced. Much hilarity, good cheer and bombs-bursting-in-air ensued.

Those were the days ...

 +   Like this comment
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Feb 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Oh, good! More money for union employees and their pension plans!

Less money wasted on actual citizen benefits and services.

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