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April 1, 2014 > July 4 fireworks coming back to San Jose

July 4 fireworks coming back to San Jose

Submitted By Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese

A spectacular Fourth of July fireworks display is returning to downtown San Jose this year, thanks to the Rotary Club of San Jose, Santa Cara County and other contributors to the $200,000 fund needed to sponsor the event.

Last month, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors joined me in voting for my request to support the RotaryÕs event with $50,000 and spend another $20,000 for the Santa Clara County Fire Department to launch an education campaign to deter the use of illegal fireworks.

IÕm as excited as you are to see the areaÕs largest pyrotechnic show, which used to draw crowds of 100,000, return after five years. The Rotary Club of San Jose is bringing back the fireworks display to reignite the holiday spirit and celebrate the Rotary ClubÕs 100th anniversary. The first fireworks display downtown since 2008 will be appropriately named the Rotary Centennial Fireworks.

The event is being made possible by funders from the Rotary Club of San Jose, City of San Jose and County of Santa Clara. This is a one-time contribution from the Rotary Club, but with the hope that the display will continue in downtown San Jose for future Independence Days.

IÕm also excited that the event may curb the sales and the use of illegal fireworks and that our contribution includes money to spread the word about the dangers that illegal fireworks pose to the community. Since 2008, when budget cuts and lack of sponsorships killed the City of San JoseÕs annual Downtown July 4 display, the use of illegal fireworks has exploded in neighborhoods across Santa Clara County. Literally.

Black market fireworks have made it easy for July 4 revelers to shoot off not only firecrackers and bottle rockets but the louder and more dangerous M80s and cherry bombs. And backyard fireworks displays that send canisters in to the air to explode into color have become commonplace.

Residents, especially in San Jose, have stepped up complaints about noise and the threat to public safety, but law enforcement is spread too thin to stop all the illegal fireworks shows. Besides the nuisance to residents, thousands are injured each year across the U.S. from exploding firecrackers. And this year, the dry vegetation caused by the drought increases fire danger from sparks that may be generated from fireworks.

I heard many complaints and pleas for help last summer at a neighborhood meeting in San Jose shortly after the holiday. I know other elected officials were flooded with complaints as well.

WeÕre still working out how the fireworks education campaign will be targeted, but I would like to hear ideas from you as well as your concerns about the use of illegal fireworks in your neighborhoods.

Please contact my office at (408) 299-5030 or email me at dave.cortese@bos.sccgov.org.

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