PALMDALE – The City of Palmdale is taking issue with recent statements made by Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris about Palmdale’s approval of “safe and sane” fireworks. The following is the full press release issued by the City of Palmdale on Tuesday (June 11):
Fact vs. Fiction: R. Rex Parris Misstates Fireworks Data Again and Again
R. Rex Parris continued his campaign of misinformation regarding Safe and Sane fireworks by misstating facts in a television interview on Time Warner Cable News which aired on Monday, June 10.
Parris wrongly stated that Palmdale’s Safe and Sane fireworks “are being sold to children.” The FACT is purchasers of safe and sane fireworks must be at least 18 years of age.
Parris further stated that there were over “30 million non-fatal injuries in 2010 from fireworks.” The FACT is, in 2010, approximately 30 million Americans sustained non-fatal injuries of all kinds according to data compiled by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that for that same year, approximately 8,600 Americans were injured in fireworks-related incidents. Fireworks, therefore, are involved in only a tiny fraction of the injuries – just 0.02% of all injuries. That means that 99.98% of injuries in this country are associated with something other than fireworks. Notably, the statistics point out that you are more likely to be injured by curling irons, Christmas lights, BBQ grills and kitchen stoves than “fireworks.”
Parris mentioned that “sparklers” caused third degree burns and are made of magnesium. While that may be true for the metal based illegal sparklers, the FACT is that City of Palmdale only allows the sale of Safe and Sane fireworks, which does not include metal sparklers. Products such as “Morning Glories” are made of wood, not metal, and have met the rigorous safety testing by the State Fire Marshall.
On a Facebook page titled “Antelope Valley Letters to the Editor,” Parris claimed that the City of Palmdale was sending direct mail advertising to Lancaster residents for the sale of fireworks. FACT: The City of Palmdale does no advertising for the sale of Safe and Sane Fireworks. The City spends upwards of $10,000 to promote the message of fireworks safety and to inform all Antelope Valley residents of the fines in Palmdale for using illegal fireworks: $2,500 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for a third offense. Since 2007, 242 individuals have been cited in Palmdale for illegal fireworks.
In a separate news story also on Time Warner Cable News, Parris insinuated that Palmdale non-profits were selling illegal fireworks by claiming that “when you have fireworks that shoot fire into the air carried by the high winds, it can cause forest fires.” The FACT is that approved vendors in Palmdale may only sell Safe and Sane fireworks, which do not fly in the air or explode.
“The non-profit organizations who sell Safe and Sane fireworks receive thorough training,” said Palmdale Communications Manager John Mlynar. “In addition to the written materials they are provided with, they are required to attend a meeting with business license and community preservation where they review all the restrictions and guidelines for sales and set up. Furthermore, our community preservation officers inspect each booth and make sure all appropriate signage is posted in visible locations at each and every booth. During the time they are open, our officers monitor the sites to ensure there are no violation.”
“Palmdale is one of 39 cities in Los Angeles County that allows the sale of safe and sane fireworks,” said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford. “Even our neighbors in Rosamond and Mojave—which are also neighbors of Lancaster—allow for the sale of safe and sane fireworks. Yet, the focus is on Palmdale. Parris’ continuing misinformation campaign regarding our safe and sane fireworks, our financial health and our power plant is quite disingenuous and unbecoming of an elected official,” Ledford [said]. “We in Palmdale make a strong effort to educate residents about fireworks safety and back it up with hefty fines for those who use fireworks illegally. I would hope that Parris would direct his energies into improving the quality of life for his residents rather than continue to spread untruths and false information to scare people or gin up another lawsuit.”
Previous related story: Parris to Palmdale: ‘Put fireworks sales on hiatus’