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Sebastappeal - August 2015


Sebastappeal - August 2015

Summer Fun Only Ten Minutes Away

by Sarah Glade Gurney

Summer Fun Only Ten Minutes Away

While the days are still long, remember two fun outdoor opportunities within 10 minutes’ drive of downtown: Ragle Ranch Park to the west and our Laguna Preserve to the east. Each location hosts beautiful, well-maintained trails and is kid-friendly. 

Ragle presents great variety, with a play structure, exercise course, picnic areas, paved walkways, nature trails, and a dog park. The Laguna Preserve offers a network of trails, accessed by the seasonal bridge across the main waterway, and panoramic vistas. Rest on the benches and enjoy the many views. 

Summer Memories Lingering 

The fireworks from the 4th of July are long over but the memories linger. 

Over the holiday weekend, I received several emails complaining about the private use of fireworks and very few about the nighttime event at Analy.

The concerns fell into four areas. The most prominent was safety, regardless of whether the fireworks were legal or illegal, and included mention of the booming noises and flashing lights, described as “like a war zone.”  Up there with safety was worry about fires due to the extreme drought. There was some outrage about how this holiday terrified pets, some of which ran away and were lost. Lastly, the upset to the wildlife in the Laguna, right next to the show at Analy.

On the other side, I heard that the “safe and sane” use of legal fireworks should continue, to allow families, friends and neighbors to enjoy this long-held tradition and to create lifetime memories of [responsible] fun. Plus, the sales booths raise significant funds for our local swim team, Lions Club, and Veterans’ Post; the big event supports the Kiwanis.  

Fortunately, our community enjoyed a safe holiday, statistically. Police Chief Jeff Weaver reported that there were no citations or arrests related to fireworks. His Department received 15 fireworks-related service calls between June 28 and July 4, the week when sales of legal fireworks is allowed in permitted locations only. The 7-year average is 14 calls. 

Fire Chief Bill Braga reported that there were no fireworks-related incidents to which his Department responded during this same week. Perhaps this was because, as City Manager Larry McLaughlin noted, a two-page summary of the City’s fireworks policy and “safety tips” and other warnings by Chief Braga were given with each purchase. 

Our Public Works Department posted “no fireworks allowed” signs at the entrances to municipal parking lots where people may have been tempted to gather and take advantage of the asphalt.

Each Chief expressed concern about illegal fireworks. Experience in other cities has indicated that banning the sale and use of legal fireworks could increase the holiday workload for our safety personnel dealing with illegal fireworks. 

There are several options for our future. Leave everything as is. Shorten the timeframe for legal sales and use from 7 days to 3 days or 1 day. Keep the sales at 7 days but limit the use to 1 day, July 4th only.  Phase out this legal activity after 1 or more years. Allow the July 4th show only. Totally ban all sales and use of legal fireworks. Other ideas? 

The City Council will likely be discussing what to do about fireworks in town at one of our September meetings. September could “start with a bang” after the Council and Staff take a break in late August. The August 18th meeting might be cancelled to allow for vacations and catch-up time at City Hall. Check the City’s website for the August and September schedules and agendas. 

Other Sources of Summer Concerns

Overall, my email history indicates that our community is handling the Laguna Bridge construction fairly well.

This is a complex project, with rigid environmental constraints due to its location. Construction is allowed only between the months of June and September, thus the project will continue over two years. 

For questions or concerns, contact Caltrans’ Public Information Officer, Allyn Amsk at the office 510.286.5445 or by email Allyn@DOT. 

Many of You Asked

Our City Manager and Fire Chief have succeeded in getting CVS to clean up its unsightly property. It now looks like CVS may get demo and building permits and start construction in August so the store is completed for a winter holiday opening. The website that wasn’t included last month is