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Pacifica Environmental Group Leader Calls for Beach Fireworks Ban

PBC President Lynn Adams said she's seeking middle ground between those who want city to ban sale of "safe and sane" fireworks and those who would oppose further restrictions.

In the aftermath of Fourth of July celebrations that left some Pacifica beaches , the head of a leading Pacifica environmental group said she believes the city should ban beach fireworks.

Pacifica Beach Coalition President Lynn Adams said she is not advocating for a citywide ban of the sale of so-called "safe and sane" fireworks.  

"I'm calling for no fireworks on the beach," Adams said.

Adams said she hasn't mapped out a strategy for the enactment or enforcement of a beach fireworks ban. Her views reflect the starting point for how the city should manage fireworks in a way that balances the interests of community groups who benefit from their sales, those who participate in legal fireworks celebrations, and sensible environmental protections, she said.

Adams' statements come amid a in the coastside community about 10 miles south of San Francisco that for decades has allowed legal fireworks sales. In addition to environmental concerns, some Pacifica residents have expressed public safety fears. Others have complained about noise and traumatized pets.

The Pacifica Police Department has stated publicly that it is committed to enforcing a "" enforcement policy for those setting off illegal fireworks. Police for illegal fireworks in a two-day period that began July 3.

Fireworks are currently banned on Sharp Park, Manor and Esplanade Beaches. They can legally be set off at Rockaway and Linda Mar Beaches, however.

Adams said she was expressing her personal opinion and not the official view of the PBC. The group will meet Thursday night to discuss whether to wade into the city's political waters, something the group has been reluctant to do in the past amid other environmental controversies.

Adams said whatever the PBC decides, her group will remain committed to working with community groups to do what they can to protect Pacifica's beaches and coastal waters.

Environmentalists believe fireworks remnants contain chemicals that pollute coastal waters, and that the plastic debris swept out to the ocean kills fish and birds who mistake the remnants for food.   

Adams said she's advocating for a middle ground between those who want an outright fireworks ban and others who oppose any further restrictions.

Her statement reflects a change in her view from a week ago, when she told Patch that she did .

"I like fireworks and I hope people enjoy themselves on the Fourth of July, we just want people to act responsibly," Adams told Patch just before the July 4 celebrations began last week. "We need everyone to help minimize the harm of fireworks to the environment."

But accounts of the conditions at local beaches on the night of the Fourth, including photos of Linda Mar Beach taken by cleanup volunteer Sue Pemberton, convinced her to take a more vocal stance.

"If they want to set off fireworks on the parking lot we can clean that up, but we can't get all that stuff off the beaches," Adams said. "It's just not OK."

The 6:15 p.m. PBC meeting will be held at the Pacifica Library and is open to anyone interested in joining or seeking information about the group.

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jim sullivan July 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I personally support the all beaches be off limits for all fireworks activity. Perhaps a 5-10% off the top assessed fee on all local fireworks sales that will fund added police activities on the 3rd+4th and day after city crew cleanup efforts throughout town. As far as manageable places to enjoy fireworks displays, perhaps the entire parking lots of the Linda Mar, Eureka Square, Park Mall, Manor shopping centers...Not sure what the public-private ownership at these places allow for, but seemingly some of the business could stay open to make a few bucks along w enjoying the 4th light show. Porta's could be set up on the parking lots also, as part of the assessed fee requirements. Just throwing out ideas here folks..
Amy Sullivan, MFT July 11, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Thank you, Lynn, for some much longed for leadership on this issue. The silence (and the fireworks) have been deafening. I would like to see a vote about fireworks in Pacifica so that we could see how divided the community really is. Let's do it in the next available voting cycle before headlines next year again read Pacifica being a "war zone." Is that what we really want for our community.
Charles July 11, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I say keep fireworks at the BEACH ONLY and restrict residential areas... Why do some people who don't participate in setting off fireworks have to deal with, Noise, No Sleep, Smoke Inhalation, Dramatized Pets, Fire concerns, and even trying to drive down local streets with all this going on? Of course the answer is always $$$!!! Today is spare the air day. Lets make every Forth of July a "Spare The Air Day" (you greenies have to like that one)!!!
Edward sawacki July 11, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I agree fireworks should be banned on the beach but let us have our own shows in front of our homes. If the city (or private fund raising) would have a firework show then I could see a city wide ban on personal fireworks. I would also like to see some enforcement of fines for people who leave trash on the beach year round.
Edward sawacki July 11, 2012 at 08:13 PM
@Charles, The celebration of the 4th of July is an American tradition. Keep you pets indoors, Wear ear plugs, close your windows, and stay indoors for the few hours it takes to light off fireworks. If you do not want to celebrate our independence day you have every right and you can thank our independence for that right.
Charles July 11, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Edward, What's wrong with hanging a Flag outside your home as I do and maybe having a BBQ to celebrate the forth. "Stay in your home, ware earplugs, close your windows, keep your pet indoors (that doesn't work) etc.etc. Now what kind of Independence Day is that !?!
momof2 July 11, 2012 at 08:55 PM
This is a beautiful idea! It feels like a dream. But maybe it can happen! It could be a regional festival/celebration in these locations. Great for the community!
Michele McGee July 15, 2012 at 02:32 AM
I love the fireworks at the beach, in the street and in the air. My vote is for keeping Pacifica free of firework restrictions. I do help with beach clean up and happy to do it too.
Cris July 15, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Ban 'em. There are many other, non-polluting, quiet, fun ways to celebrate our country. I have somehow managed to not only love my country, but refrain from irritating neighbors and throwing strontium and/or barium into the environment.

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