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    Santa Paula: Ordinance Prohibiting and Regulating Fireworks with Fines for Violations

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    by Sheryl Hamlin

    From sea to shining sea, fireworks 2020 has disrupted cities and citizens. This CNN report indicates the fireworks in 2020 are out of character with previous years on many levels.

    Santa Paula citizens have reported bombs since June and as of this writing (July 17) there was yet another loud bomb in the city.

    Fireworks Ordinance

    With the Santa Paula Police besieged with calls for help and the council inundated with calls from angry citizens, the city council directed City Attorney Cotti to bring a fireworks ordinance to the council for adoption.

    Public Comments

    In 2019 at the July council meeting, there were two citizens who spoke at council about this issue. Read about that meeting here. Note the comments in this article from pro-fireworks citizens

    At the 2020 meeting, there were four citizens who submitted written comments because the meeting was held via Zoom. Rose Real spoke of animal distress, both wild and domesticated. Jan Allen wrote of the Facebook group infiltrated by pro-fireworks citizens who mocked the anti-fireworks citizens who were concerned about fire and safety. Mary Dole found a spent rocket in her yard. Greg Calkins, who has addressed the council previously on this issue, supports the new ordinance and wrote sadly of Cole, the dog who escaped and was killed.

    Greg Calkins has organized a group opposed to illegal fireworks. In his statement, he said:

    … I would like to announce to you the formation of the Santa Paul Illegal Fireworks Action Committee. We are a group of 49 citizens of Santa Paula that want to help. We see this as a multipronged issue with a multitude of little things that can potentially provide small improvements. We would very much like to work with the city in a cooperative supportive way and not an adversarial way to work toward improvement in this issue. I will leave our introduction at that for now but mark my word: it will not be next July before we talk about this issue with you again. We will start early and we will work hard to address ideas and concerns. First we have to get to know each other in this crazy Covid world and see what we each hope for and expect.

    Ordinance Highlights

    • Dangerous fireworks without a permit are prohibited
    • Safe and sane fireworks are prohibited
    • Strict liability is imposed on a person in charge of a minor who violates the
    • Strict liability imposed on a person responsible for property where
    fireworks violation occurs


    • $500 for the first violation;
    • $750 for the second violation of the same code section by the same person
    within a 12-month period of the first violation; and
    • $1,000 for the third violation and each subsequent violation of the same code
    section by the same person within a 12-month period from the second or most
    recent violation.

    Council Discussion

    Council Member Sobel said this type of ordinance requires extra public education and communication. Council Member Crosswhite concurred saying outreach to the community is essential. Mayor Araiza said that years ago there were large signs at the entrance to the city saying that fireworks were illegal. New Years Eve 2020 could see another flare up of fireworks, the council agreed.


    A roll call vote was unanimous. The ordinance will return in August for final approval.

    To read the ordinance and watch the video, click here.

    To read about the author click sherylhamlin dot com

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    2 years ago

    Oxnard and Los Angeles also have similar laws. But if law enforcement doesn’t enforce them, why waste time creating the law. Is it to make you feel better? We also have Covid orders for face masks; who is enforcing the social distancing orders at our beaches?

    Shannon Nelson
    Shannon Nelson
    2 years ago

    I dont think a lot of people realize how bad the fireworks in santa paula were this year and refer to people who complained as “karen” or “whiners”. Such a lack of compassion or consideration for an intolerable situation is beyond me. After weeks of lack of sleep and drugging our dog (among every other technique used to try to comfort our dog), we left town and rented a hotel room in Paso Robles over the 4th of July to escape the noise. It cost us well over $1,000 to get a couple of stress free nights of sleep by leaving our home. It was worth it, but we shouldnt have to do that.
    Oh, by the way…the scattered explosions have continued to this date.

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