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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On February 11, 2021, Piper Hansen of the Arizona Republic reported that State Senator David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista) has introduced Senate Bill, SB 1334 to allow more aerial fireworks. Here is the link to the story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2021/02/11/aerial-fireworks-legal-arizona-bill-legislature/4343018001/ .

Gowan wants more fireworks, not less…and why not? In his financial disclosure statement of 2021 that every state legislator has to file with the Arizona Secretary of State, you will find that he works for TNT Fireworks. It is one of the largest distributors of fireworks and operates those pop-up tents selling fireworks that spring up in parking lots everywhere just before a legal fireworks period.

At the very least Gowan has a conflict of interest in offering and in advocating for legislation that directly benefits his employer. Has he declared such a conflict? If he is not required to do so, then perhaps his time would be better spent introducing and advocating for a conflict of interest statute that applies to all members of the state legislature.

Gowan has been successful in the past in getting approval for more generous fireworks laws. He was successful in adding two more fireworks events this year – Cinco de Mayo and Dawali.  

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns, an organization that represents its cities and towns members, has already announced it opposition to this new, proposed law saying that it is concerned with an increase in citizen complaints, physical injury and fire danger. To date Gowan’s bill has not been assigned to a committee.

What Valley cities and towns want are more restrictions. Councilmembers received more complaints than ever before with people often describing their neighborhood as “Beirut.”

Here are the legal periods in which non-aerial fireworks can be used:

  • Cinco de Mayo – 3 days in May (a newly added event)
  • Independence Day – 11 days in July
  • Dawali – 2 days in November (a newly added event)
  • New Year’s Eve – 13 days in December and January

This event schedule is nuts. I continue to advocate for a two day event window for any legal fireworks event. For example, I propose that non-aerial fireworks be allowed on July 3rd and July 4th only between the hours of 7:30 PM to 12:30 AM. That’s it. No one needs 11 days to celebrate the 4th of July or 13 days to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

There is no consistency in the fireworks events schedule. It’s very confusing. If people knew that there was a two day window for any legal fireworks event, it would certainly simplify the rules for everyone.

I think it’s time for all of us to let Mr. Gowan know how we feel about his latest effort to further enrich his employer by allowing aerial fireworks as well as letting your state representatives know that you support some meaningful legislation to curb the insane proliferation of fireworks, especially in your densely populated neighborhoods.

You can email Mr. Gowan at dgowan@azleg.gov. You can email your legislators by using the initial of their first name with the complete last name@azleg.gov . An example would be ssmith@azleg.gov .

Are you fed up? I am.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Just as in years past, I like other Glendale councilmembers, received numerous complaints about the use of fireworks. Only this year the number of complaints seems to have grown exponentially. One Yucca district complainant said that upon calling the Glendale Police Department to make a fireworks complaint, it was said by dispatch that over 300 complaints had been received in Glendale. This week I will ask Glendale personnel for the final total number of complaints received and what disposition they received.

What can be done to stop an activity which has gotten out of hand, is being abused and appears to be unenforceable? Currently, not much. The state legislature has taken control of the fireworks law and allows cities extraordinarily little authority to control the activity. Here is the link to the full text of the state statute: ARS statute Fireworks

This portion of the law makes very clear that the state has usurped cities’ ability to regulate fireworks by saying,  36-1606. Consumer fireworks regulation; state preemption; further regulation of fireworks by local jurisdiction, “A. The sale and use of permissible consumer fireworks are of statewide concern. The regulation of permissible consumer fireworks pursuant to this article and their sale or use is not subject to further regulation by a governing body, except as follows:

(c) Prohibit the use of permissible consumer fireworks on days other than May 4 through May 6, June 24 through July 6 and December 24 through January 3 of each year and the second and third days of Diwali of each year.” It seems it is legal to use fireworks on:

  • May 4th through May 6th , Cinco de Mayo, a period of 3 days
  • June 24th through July 6th, Independence Day, a period of 13 days
  • December 24th though January 3rd, New Year’s Day, a period of 11 days
  • 2nd and 3rd days of Diwali of each year. Diwaliis India’s most important holiday—and a celebration of good over evil. This five-day festival of lights is observed by more than a billion people across faiths and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November). A period of 2 days.

Have you noticed the inconsistency in the number of days allowed per event? Everything from 2 days for Diwali to 13 days to celebrate the 4th of July, Independence Day. I would suggest that the state law be consistent for all recognized events allowing fireworks on May 4th and 5th for Cinco de Mayo; July 3rd and 4th for Independence Day; December 30th and 31st for New Year’s; and the 2nd and 3rd days of Diwali.

We know aerial fireworks are illegal per state statute: “(c) Does not include anything that is designed or intended to rise into the air and explode or to detonate in the air or to fly above the ground, including firework items defined by the APA 87-1 and known as firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, torpedoes, roman candles, mine devices, shell devices and aerial shell kits or reloadable tubes.”

We know what permissible fireworks are: “7. (i) Ground and handheld sparkling devices; (ii) Cylindrical fountains; (iii) Cone fountains; (iv) Illuminating torches; (v) Wheels; (vi) Ground spinners; (vii) Flitter sparklers; (viii) Toy smoke devices; (ix) Wire sparklers or dipped sticks; (x) Multiple tube ground and handheld sparkling devices, cylindrical fountains, cone fountains and illuminating torches manufactured in accordance with section 3.5 of the APA 87-1 and

(c) Does not include anything that is designed or intended to rise into the air and explode or to detonate in the air or to fly above the ground, including firework items defined by the APA 87-1 and known as firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, torpedoes, roman candles, mine devices, shell devices and aerial shell kits or reloadable tubes.”

The use of illegal fireworks is almost impossible to enforce without allowing police departments the use of new tools such as drones. A drone can provide factual evidence that should be allowed as meaningful evidence in a court of law.

State statute clearly says, “…their sale or use is not subject to further regulation by a governing body,…” That leaves only one option, that cities and citizens lobby the state legislature to amend the current law. Since cities cannot further regulate the use of fireworks complaints to elected officials are often wasted. If truth be told, most elected officials view the use of fireworks exactly the same way you do.

The only way to achieve some meaningful results would be to ask elected officials from all Valley cities to join their efforts into one coalition to lobby the state legislature for amendments to the existing law. Those amendments could include limiting the number of days for each event to two days; prohibiting their use after midnight; and granting police departments the ability to use drones with drone photograph captures as being recognized as admissible evidence in a court of law. 

© Joyce Clark, 2021      

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

I have published two blogs on “What’s great about Glendale” and there will be more to come over the next few months but I wanted to take a break from that series and share other events and issues happening in Glendale.

Perhaps the most important events yet to occur this year are the Glendale and national elections. The Primary Election is in August of 2020 and the General Election is in November of 2020. The people of the United States will choose who will be the President of the United States for the next four years.

Perhaps what may be of more importance to you is our local election selecting  3 councilmembers and the mayor of Glendale. Those elected will determine the direction of Glendale for the next four years. Those running for reelection are:

  • Mayor Jerry Weiers. As of this date in January one person has taken out a nominating petition packet with the intent of running against him.
  • Councilmember Ray Malnar. As of this date in January one person has taken out a nominating packet with the intention of running against him.
  • Councilmember Ian Hugh. As of this date in January one person has taken out a nominating packet with the intention of running against him.
  • Councilmember Joyce Clark. As of this date in January three people have take out a nominating packet with the intention of running against me.

These possible opponents must do the following to get on the ballot. Each must form a Political Action Committee (a PAC) and register it with the City Clerk. In March each must turn in their citizens’ nominating signatures to the City Clerk. Those signatures must be verified and then accepted by the City Clerk in order to have their names placed on the ballot. The signatures presented must be of a minimum amount and the number required varies by district and also must be verified as registered voters.

Then the fun begins. Each candidate must make their case to the electorate over the next 4 months – April to the Primary Election date in August. That takes cash for signs and mailers. It may sound like there is lots of time but there really isn’t.

This is where I need your help. If you think I’ve done a good job as your representative please make a contribution to my campaign. I can’t succeed without your help. There are two ways that you can contribute:

  • Please go to my campaign website,www.joyceclark2020.com, click on the “Donate” page and follow the prompts to make an online donation.
  • While you are reading this, make out a check payable to Joyce Clark 2020 and mail it to:

      Joyce Clark 2020                                                                              8628 W. Cavalier Drive                                                                      Glendale, AZ 85305                                  

Thank you for your support. I deeply appreciate it.

Now, on to other things….recently I had the opportunity to meet one on one with Arick O’Hara, the newly elected President of the Glendale Fire Union. We had a thorough and frank discussion and for the first time in many years I believe that this President of the Glendale Fire Union is someone I can work with. Only time will tell but I am very hopeful.

The City Council will begin budget workshops in March for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020-21. As I have said on previous occasions, in fighting between staff and city council on allocating funding only occurs when the economy is good. When there is no money there is nothing to fight over.

One of my goals is to secure the funding to complete construction of the remaining elements of Heroes Park. Another is to secure some funding for the Scalloped Street program and for upgrading bus stops. I’m sure you’ve driven on a street like 83rd Avenue between Glendale and Northern Avenues. The street is 2 lanes wide in both directions on some portions and not on other portions. That’s because city policy is to have the developer of a new project such as the newly constructed church on the northwest corner of 83rd and Northern put in the new lanes adjacent to their property.  It becomes a safety issue as the second lane appears and disappears along the street. We are at the point where I do not expect much more development, if any, on 83rd. With the Scalloped Street Program the city constructs roadway where it is lacking and no further development is expected.

There are many bus stops that have only a bus stop sign planted in the dirt. These locations need a shade structure with seating, a concrete pad and a waste receptacle. If we are going to not only work on beautifying Glendale and to encouraging bus ridership, upgrading bus stops should be a priority.

Recently on NextDoor, a website application that connects neighbors and neighborhoods together, there was a great deal of comment about New Year’s celebratory fireworks. In my opinion they were excessive and long running. People in my neighborhood started shooting them off in the early evening and they persisted until several hours after midnight. For about 8 hours my neighborhood sounded like a war zone. In addition, I know darn well a lot of them were illegal, shot into the air. I kept waiting for embers to start some kind of fire in my yard. It has become ridiculous.

I’ve read and reread the Arizona Statutes on fireworks. The state legislature has pretty well prohibited cities from regulating them in any way but I think I have found a tiny loop hole. The state legislature mandates the times of year when fireworks are legal to use. OK.  So far the legislature has not messed with the daily time period when fireworks are legal. I have asked our Intergovernmental Department to work with several legislators making for example, the hours from 11 PM to 1 AM, as the legal time period for using fireworks.

Last year I introduced the concept of having a municipal representative on the state liquor board. Many liquor licenses that are granted end up have a detrimental effect in a neighborhood. Having a municipal representative on the board will perhaps make it more sensitive to the concerns of neighborhoods.  The legislation  made it through all of the legislative hoops until it hit the Governor’s office where he vetoed it. State Representative Anthony Kern sponsored the bill last year and has announced that he will introduce it again this year. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” or “the second time is the charm?”

I don’t usually make this offer but if you have a topic about which you would like to know more or a topic that needs further discussion or explanation I urge you to post your suggestion as a comment to this blog. No promises but I’ll see what I can do to fulfill your request.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

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