News

San Ramon council nixes Independence Day fireworks

Vote to continue smaller celebration featuring bands, tribute to veterans

Area residents will have to travel to some other neighboring city if they want to see a fireworks display this Fourth of July after the San Ramon City Council on Tuesday voted 3-1 against bringing back aerial pyrotechnics to its community.

Mayor Bill Clarkson, Vice Mayor Phil O'Loane and Councilman Harry Sachs voted to approve a recommendation by the city's Parks & Community Services Commission to hold a scaled down event at Central Park with no fireworks, at an estimated cost of $45,000.

Councilman Dave Hudson voted against the measure and Councilman Scott Perkins was absent.

The council made its decision after a report by Esther Lucas, parks commission division manager.

Lucas said that in early October an investigative team began evaluating sites for an aerial display using safety, security, traffic control and other criteria. It concluded that Old Ranch Park was the best location as a launch site -- but not a viewing site -- with an estimated cost $167,000.

The commission held public hearings in January and February in which a majority of attendees opposed shooting fireworks. They expressed concerns about costs, public safety, fire protection, overcrowding and traffic gridlock. Staff also conducted an online survey, with most people who responded saying they preferred to have aerial fireworks at Old Ranch Park.

On Feb. 12, the commission voted 6-0 to recommend that the city hold future Fourth of July events similar to the 2013 event at Central Park with a fitness race, band and tribute to veterans, but no fireworks.

Hudson urged the city not to end its fireworks tradition.

"If you haven't heard from people who say they want a fireworks display," the councilman said, "then you haven't been listening,"

The other council members were not moved by Hudson's appeal.

"The reality is that we don't want to have an event that isn't safe," Clarkson said.

Sachs noted that the cost of an aerial display was about $5,000 per minute for a 30-minute show.

"I'd rather see us put $100,000 towards parks and facilities," he said.

The decision means that future celebrations will look more like the smaller events begun in 2012, which featured a salute to veterans, performances by the San Ramon city symphonic band and a closing performance by a high-energy band, but no fireworks.

According to a city survey of the East Bay area, Fourth of July fireworks are being planned this year in Antioch, Richmond, Martinez and the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.

Craig J. Noble is a contributor to the San Ramon Express.

Comments

Posted by JT, a resident of Danville
on Feb 27, 2014 at 8:16 am

Danville needs to cancel its 4th of July Parade as well. First of all, it costs money, and the money would be better spent on parks. 2nd of all, it poses safety problems for the community - people running in the streets potentially getting run over, ear drums being shattered by the guns at the end, people drinking and driving, parade participants potentially falling off the platform trucks, etc, etc. 3rd of all, there are traffic jams that nuisance the neighborhood and 4th of all residents from outside Danville come and don't spend money, just creating havoc.
SO let's cancel the parade too


Posted by Oh JT, a resident of Danville
on Feb 27, 2014 at 9:39 am

Oh JT- at this rate I am waiting for you to suggest canceling Christmas as well. Let the fun happen.


Posted by Oh No JT, a resident of Danville
on Feb 27, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Wow JT you make it sound like San Ramon isn't going to have fireworks just to spite Danville. I'm sure how the people of Danville would be impacted by San Ramon not having fireworks didn't even come into consideration in their decision.


Posted by Debora, a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 28, 2014 at 8:46 am

So sad! No we DO NOT need more parks! San Ramon is doomed. Danville you are next believe me. Oh and you might as well put away your patriotic shirts because you won't be able to wear them in public as they have banned kids from wearing them in some schools! What the heck is wrong with the leaders of this community? Do you not feel the need for this community to come together once a year? Most people do not even know their neighbors now let alone see them or wave at them. Time to move. Keep the house and rent it for top dollar to those left behind who wish to live like this and reap the benefits somewhere else where Americans are still Americans!!


Posted by JT, a resident of Danville
on Feb 28, 2014 at 10:54 am

@Oh, @Oh No, and really are you kidding JT: Exactly! The argument I make absolutely sounds stupid doesn't it? Well that is how stupid the San Ramon arguments are. If cost is the big issue, how about asking Chevron for an increased sponsorship, or nearby Danville and Pleasanton for contributions. There is a way to get around the cost.
And the traffic nuisance arguments? One NIGHT a year? Oh Please. If that is the case, the entire period from Thanksgiving to Xmas is the biggest nuisance I can imagine, so yes, you Fireworks naysayers, let's do cancel Xmas, it will alleviate the traffic hassles you so despise.
And I have to comment on the replacement event, really? Family friendly? A band? I'd rather go to church to celebrate independence day. Please don't waste money on this abomination of a replacement celebration, whose only existence is due to the city council members needing to justify their no votes. There is NOTHING that takes me back to the founding of our GREAT COUNTRY more intimately than BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR, and fireworks is the perfect way for ALL to come together in spiritual celebration!!!!
OUR fireworks celebration of the founding of our GREAT COUNTRY, CANCELLED because of traffic nuisance. WOW!!! Please help us, go back to the countries you originally came from, and yes that means even if you can trace your roots to the 1600's... GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by Xin Han, a resident of Blackhawk
on Feb 28, 2014 at 1:21 pm

If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. This is bay-area, most of us here are educated, progressive, inclusive and socially responsible, wherever we may have come from.

If you don't like this and are afraid of immigrants (because they are working harder then you) PLEASE LEAVE!


Posted by JT, a resident of Danville
on Mar 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

@XHan, Hmmm... your response sounds like a lot of judgement and considered superiority, but don't want to judge you in that regard. Not one mention in my post of current day immigrants. I can trace my roots to late 1840s on one side, and 1920s on the other. So both sides of my family came over after our founding. I don't feel any more entitled to being "here" just because I came before any other. I do feel that I am here, and many others are here, because of the democratic values which can be traced to our founding. To me it is something to recognize and celebrate. Perhaps what you are saying is that you don't care much about recognizing yours and my countries founding, to take a moment and reflect on the values and opportunities it provides each of us, and our children?
What I am saying is that if the argument is to not have fireworks because of a one night traffic nuisance? I don't get that, at all.


Posted by Ed, a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 5, 2014 at 7:15 pm

The July 4th fireworks need to be happen and brought back to San Ramon Central Park. I did not attend the daytime 'festivities' and I consider them a waste without the fireworks. The fireworks were a great family event when my neighborhood attended!!


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