San Bruno increases fireworks finesBy Christine Morente
The City Council added oomph to its zero tolerance policy on the unlawful use of safe and sane fireworks by increasing fines Friday.
The penalty of a first offense is now $500 and the penalty for second or third offenses is now $1,000.
City officials, concerned about recent brush fires on San Bruno Mountain and other areas up and down the state, called a last-minute meeting to raise the fines.
Previously, fireworks violations amounted to $100, $200 and $500 for a first, second and third violation in a year.
Setting off fireworks will only be permitted from noon to 10 p.m. from June 28 through July 3, and they can be used from noon to midnight on July 4. Setting off the fireworks at any other time is illegal.
Police Chief Neil Telford told the City Council that the department will focus on the unlawful use of the legal fireworks in open space areas.
Councilman Jim Ruane thought it best for the city not to allow fireworks to be sold at all.
"In this environment, there's no way we should be selling safe and sane fireworks," he said.
"People from all over the Bay Area come here, and take the fireworks into their communities."
However, the City Council does not have the authority to ban the legal explosives after voters in November 2005 approved the use of safe and safe fireworks in the city.
Only a declaration of local emergency would allow City Manager Connie Jackson to ban the use of legal fireworks.
She said that she doesn't foresee that happening.
On Friday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he will not ban fireworks this year, but will leave it to cities to decide what to do.
Pacifica and San Bruno are the only cities in San Mateo County that allow the use of safe and safe fireworks.
From noon to 9 p.m. today, 17 vendors in San Bruno will be allowed to sell the legal fireworks.
The booths will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., from Sunday through July 4.
Those selling fireworks without a city permit will be fined $1,000.
For the next few days, police and firefighters will be fully staffed and busy maintaining enforcement of the rules, Jackson said.
Copyright ©2008 San Mateo County Times. Published 06/27/2008.