Tempe tyrants to ban fireworks?
This is a good example of how the elected officials pass laws for the bureaucrats that work for them, rather then the people that elected them.
In this case the Tempe Fire Chief Mark Simmons is asking the Tempe City Council members to pass the law for his department.
The article doesn't say that ANY citizens of Tempe requested the law. According to the article the only person asking for the law is the government bureaucrat Mark Simmons.
Tempe vote on fireworks ban coming later this month
by Derek Quizon - Oct. 7, 2010 09:57 PM
The Arizona Republic
The Tempe City Council will vote Oct. 21 on an ordinance meant to ban the use of consumer fireworks within city limits.
Council members had very little discussion about ordinance before setting the vote date during their Thursday night council meeting.
If the ordinance is approved, it would make Tempe the third Valley city to an the use of consumer fireworks.
Carefree and Goodyear passed ordinances last month banning the use of consumer fireworks in response, officials said, to a state law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer May 10.
The law, which will take effect Dec. 1, allows the use and sale of fireworks, but leaves municipalities the choice of banning their use within city limits.
Under the state law, cities can ban the use of fireworks, but not their sale.
The law's passage was immediately a cause for concern among municipal governments around the state. Fire officials, including Tempe Fire Chief Mark Simmons, asked their city councils to ban the use of fireworks to prevent the risk of injury and wildfire.
The proposed ordinance in Tempe would outlaw the use of consumer fireworks, as defined by the state law, and makes no reference to professional fireworks displays. Penalties include a minimum fine of $250.
"The best thing I can do as fire chief, and the best thing we can do as a department, is to prevent fires," Simmons said. "(The state law) is going to increase our risk of fires, property damage and injury."
According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Fire Administration, there were two deaths and 8,800 injuries related to fireworks in 2009. Nearly 40 percent of those injuries were sustained by children under 15 years old.
The city of Tempe does not keep statistics on injuries related to fireworks use.
The League of Arizona Cities and Towns drafted a model ordinance for the bans, including sections explaining how a city could allow consumer fireworks on certain days or with permits from the city.
"It's very scalable," said league director Ken Strobeck. "It (ranges) from complete openness to complete prohibition."
So far, cities have chosen to ban them altogether. The Carefree and Goodyear models only allow professional, city-approved fireworks displays. Carefree restricts the use of any fireworks, including city-approved professional displays, to the Fourth of July, New Year's Eve or "other town event," and only during certain hours.
"We've always allowed fireworks displays by professionals," said Carefree mayor David Schwan. "The ordinance we passed returns basically to where we were before the law was passed."
But some municipalities are concerned about provisions in the state law that allow for the sale of consumer fireworks, which could increase the illegal use of fireworks within city limits.
"Whenever you have that kind of uncertainty between city and state laws . . . enforcement is a huge problem," said Goodyear city manager John Fischbach.
The model ordinance contains a provision, included in Tempe's proposed ordinance, requiring retailers selling fireworks to post signs explaining that the use of consumer fireworks within city limits is prohibited.
Simmons isn't so sure the number of fire-related incidents will go up if Tempe passes the ordinance, but there are other dangers associated with the sale of fireworks.
"If you have fireworks in a retail store, and there's a fire there, that could create more problems," he said.
Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe Cesspool for the Arts