Every year fireworks stands go up around our city. They sell Safe & Sane fireworks which are legal in Inglewood. However, Safe & Sane is not good enough for a lot of folks. They lay in a supply of illegal fireworks and give the rest of us a light and sound show way ahead of July 4th – some folks just can’t wait! These off-holiday explosions do nothing more than bother the daylights out of the rest of us and scare our pets. Over the years, I have been told by many, many residents that they want these stands gone. I can’t say I disagree.
The fireworks stands are run by non-profit organizations and this is, for most, their major fundraiser. My friends at the Inglewood BlackHawks Minor League football team were kind enough to share their fireworks operation with me. This is their fourth year with a stand.
All organizations are chosen by the City through a committee process. The committee is made up of fire, police, and elected officials. Inglewood has a total of 25 permits available each year and this year only 22 permits were issued. Research is done on each organization before a permit is issued and the paramount objective is an emphasis on serving the youth of Inglewood; organizations must show that they are invested in our community. The BlackHawks give a scholarship to a high school athlete to help pay for college. Tony Reid, coach of the BlackHawks, knows well that need. They also host Inglewood Day at a game each year.
The BlackHaws stand this year is in the Ralphs parking lot at Centinela/La Brea. The stands across Inglewood are open Monday through Thursday from 10AM to 10PM. The big push comes on Friday when stands are open 10AM to 11PM and Saturday, the 4th, 9AM until they sell out. The price range of Safe & Sane fireworks is $5-$500 and the average sale is $50. On Friday, the Blackhawks will be doing some giveaways – hats, t-shirts, and game tickets for their customers.
All stands pay $350 for the permit, a refundable $275 deposit to ensure the site is clean when they leave, and 10% of their profits to the Fireworks Fund to finance the research of organizations. The BlackHawks are anticipating sales around $15,000 before paying for the fireworks.
There is a City resolution authorizing fireworks booths going back to 1986. Another resolution was issued in 2004 to update the system used. I’m told cities constantly grapple with the question of allowing these stands and the use of fireworks.
If Inglewood is going to continue to allow these stands – and it looks as if they are – a sign should be posted of who is operating the stands. While visiting a couple of stands, I saw buyers shopping the organization before making a purchase.
We are the fireworks sales oasis in this part of the county and have been for many years – neither LA City nor LA County in unincorporated areas allows fireworks. In my opinion – and I’m sure this will not be a popular statement with many – we should not allow fireworks in Inglewood. Aside from not enhancing our image, it makes it almost impossible for police to locate and stop the use of illegal fireworks. I also think we should bring back the big city sponsored fireworks event in Vincent Park. I believe it would cut down on the individual use of fireworks, legal and illegal. This is another thing I hear from residents around town.
So for now, keep a watchful eye; this is an especially dry year and sparks from fireworks do travel. Enjoy your holiday.