MARYSVILLE – Even though fireworks have been banned in the city for two years now, it was still a hot topic at the first City Council meeting after the Fourth of July Monday.
Tobias Simcox of Marysville, during the public comment session of the meeting, asked if there was “any chance they could come back?”
He said for 15 years he and his family and friends enjoyed setting off fireworks safely in their neighborhood. Now they have to go to Lake Stevens. “It’s squashed the Independence Day feeling,” he said.
Council Member Jeff Vaughan, one of three who voted against the ban, said every year the council heard complaints about the fireworks. The issue seemed to be always split down the middle. But when an advisory vote took place, it passed with almost 60 percent against fireworks. He said he had hoped for a compromise, rather than an outright ban.
“The Fourth is a pretty important holiday,” he said, adding he enjoyed having barbecues with neighbors, too. “It’s sad our rights being taken away by the actions of a few.”
Vaughan said he hopes some community groups will come together in the future to put on an event similar to the one in Arlington. But until then, unfortunately, we still have to go to other communities.
A woman in the audience later said she appreciates the ban. She reminded the council why it voted for the ban: illegal fireworks, fireworks being shot off often weeks before they were supposed to, garbage left behind and kids too small being put in dangerous situations.
Police Chief Rick Smith fireworks complaints were down from 284 last year to 217 this year. Citations also were down 48 to 27. He said response times were 7 minutes, 11 seconds on average, and that the majority of the problems were “central cityish.” Chief Martin McFalls said problems were at an all-time low for the fire department.
Mayor Jon Nehring thanked them, saying when they enforce the law they are not “the most popular people at the block party.”
Cmdr. Mark Thomas said calls prior to July 4 were even more drastically reduced. From June 30 to the holiday, police historically have received double-digit complaints about fireworks. This year it averaged one a day.
Another question concerned immigration law. Smith said the department enforces federal law, but does not seek out illegal immigrants. The department only gets involved if a crime is committed.
Smith also said his department was overwhelmed by the social media and national news attention given to officer David Negron. He picked up a flag he had seen tipped over in a yard on July 4. He tried to fix the pole holder but couldn’t. He respectfully rolled the flag up and placed it in on the front porch. The homeowner’s security camera caught it on tape. The event has captured the nation’s attention.
“This simple act of service and kindness has struck a vein of patriotism and pride in America from coast to coast. We have seen articles and comments from as far away as Philadelphia, Atlanta, and even from the President of the United States,” Thomas said in a news release Tuesday says.
Thomas said earlier that Negron is humbled by the attention, saying, “He did what anyone else would do.”
Thomas sent an email to Negron that says, in part, “Reputation is what others think of you. Our character is what we do when we think nobody is watching. Your character reflects well on us all, and in that, helps all police officers reputation. Thank you.”