News from Patrick Flynn


The Assembly’s decision to lift the ban on fireworks from 9:30 pm to 1 am on New Year’s Eve generated more e-mail traffic than I’ve seen in a long time.  Dozens and dozens of residents throughout Anchorage have contacted me to register complaints, like:

  • Terrified pets, even those given tranquilizers by their owners in anticipation of the noise.
  • Poor air quality, so much so that the interior of some people’s homes smelled of gunpowder.
  • Litter left behind on public and private property by local pyrotechnicians.
  • Use of fireworks well-before, and well-after, the appointed hours.
  • Concern for veterans with PTSD.
  • Lots of noise.

I’ve also received a few phone calls from irate folks.  And, to be fair, a handful of folks wrote to thank the Assembly for lifting the ban as they enjoyed the opportunity.

So, in an effort to communicate efficiently, I’ll let everyone know that the ordinance passed 7-4 and I was among the “no” votes.  I recall how my family’s dog reacted to fireworks when I was a kid and suspected the many four-legged friends in our community would suffer mightily if displays proliferated; the evidence suggests that was exactly the case.

To those of you who had a lousy evening, I apologize.  To those of you who enjoyed the opportunity, you may wish think carefully about how fireworks affect your neighbors.



This contribution was made on Monday, 03. January 2011 at 09:00 and was published under the category Neighborhoods. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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  1. Honestly I was shocked when the one assembly member made the announcement that fireworks on new years would come to a vote. The manner he said “there is snow everywhere there is no chance of fire” seem stubborn honestly.

    I enjoyed New Years Eve and took my girlfriend to the Glenn Alps Trail to watch fireworks mania. It was pretty and quiet however, my brother in town said it sounded like a warzone everywhere.

    In my opinion this is the first time we allowed people in Anchorsge to set fireworks and it was a gong show. I am wondering if next year we will see more controlled chaos and less negative phone calls or the opposite?

    Comment: Joe Samaniego – 03. January 2011 @ 11:48 am

  2. Assemblyman Flynn,
    You may want to check out Hawaii’s fireworks laws. Apparently you buy a permit and there are places you can’t light them off. The law is changing (stricter) this year though.

    Aloha Mr. Hand ~ Jeff Spicoli

    Comment: Matt Burkholder – 03. January 2011 @ 12:35 pm

  3. The Assembly may change their mind on this. I was at the meeting where it was discussed. Whichever way you feel, everyone tried to do the right thing, knowing there would be people that hated it.
    But I think it made a lot of sense to try it. Next year will be interesting too.

    Comment: Andy Holleman – 03. January 2011 @ 6:47 pm

  4. Patrick,

    i appreciate that you were among those smarter assembly members who voted against the legalization of fireworks. It is no small matter that these dangerous toys caused complaints from many residents – they are not just noisy and messy but also pose a serious danger of fire – we do have house fires in the winter here even with snow – and damage to persons and property. I hope this matter comes before the assembly again and that you continue to vote no.

    Bonnie Harris

    Comment: Bonnie Harris – 03. January 2011 @ 9:22 pm

    OF FUN!!

    Comment: KATEY LAMBERSON – 04. January 2011 @ 9:15 am

  6. Dear Patrick and Fellow Assembly Members,

    I thank you for temporarily legalizing the personal use of fireworks so that we citizens could finally again individualize our celebration of bringing in the New Year.
    I thoroughly enjoy stepping out on my balcony to watch the many celebrations. A father is teaching his children how to safely ignite an array of splendid colors. In another, a mother and two daughters are dancing with their sparklers and singing “Auld Lang Syne”s. In yet another, several families are gathered in an open area taking turns lighting items from their separate collections.
    I was born in Alaska (the territory) and have enjoyed the freedom to express myself in many ways. However, over the years, I have continually seen the “Alaskan” lifestyle cinched tighter. To more resemble the familiarities of what Cheechakos or newcomers have left behind when they came to live in and enjoy the beauty of our wonderful State.
    Perhaps, as children with forbidden sweets, we citizens over-indulged the time restrictions.
    Assembly Members willing, next year we will be more reverent,
    And, yes, my two dogs were barking; however, they saw my calmness and were not afraid.
    Thank you again for the wonderful treat!!

    Comment: Kelley Riley – 04. January 2011 @ 1:44 pm

  7. I LOVED THE FIREWORKS! (and my dogs didn’t mind the noise)

    Comment: Peggy Wilcox – 04. January 2011 @ 3:07 pm

  8. Loved the fireworks.

    Comment: Faith Kolean – 04. January 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  9. We thoroughly enjoyed watching neighborhood families being allowed to enjoy fireworks, most for the first time.

    Our three cats slept through it all, unbothered … Sadly, now, the four individuals who voted against this right are looking for any excuse to take it away again.

    From everything I see and hear, the vast majority of Anchorage citizens want and support this right!!!


    Comment: Dan Garvey – 04. January 2011 @ 6:43 pm

  10. With legalized fireworks in the Municipality of Anchorage decided upon
    by a small contingent of elected officials, the repercussions of this are
    felt across more than just the human neighborhoods, who did not get
    to vote in the matter; and across the wild life habitat who never could.

    Hundreds to thousands of neighborhood bird populations who rely on
    shrubs, bushes and trees with berries and seeds on them, were most
    brutally uprooted for more than 30 hours across the Municipality due
    to a selfish change of law enforcement, brought about by the Assembly.

    How is it, a near monopoly of pyrotechnical resellers in an adjoining
    borough, can manipulate the ruling body of another area, into allowing
    without a regulatory vote where professionals are called in to testify, on
    a matter with as wide spread an effect on both wild & urban populations?

    Did somebody cross a few palms with some cash, to change how the
    laws would be un/enforced, by dismissing under-enforced regulations?

    I’ve been here long enough to see, as more persons leave where ever
    such nonsense was thought OK come here and stay, the quality of
    Alaskan life is degraded. You know, there are slum areas elsewhere in
    need of renovation, so that means that’s a fine place for concrete lovers.
    Go there and pretend it is a wilderness and fix it up.

    If a bear leaves a pile in your yard, don’t get upset. It was theirs first.
    However, those who set out costly bird feeders and buy packaged
    seed for transient wild birds, should see a reason to continue to buy
    items from Anchorage area businesses who sell these items; when
    all it takes is a few hours in the prime of winter, of fireworks, to startle
    the birds away from their local shelter and into the bleakness of winter.

    Where are all the birds, starting from about 4:30PM on December 31st?

    And what else is going on which people who live between shelters all
    day, are unaware of? Sad thing. Perhaps we should just let them legalize
    shooting the birds instead of fireworks; either way, many will die from this.

    Where can I file to get a refund of all these costly bird feeders and seed?
    Will the merchants do this, if they also were in favor of legal fireworks?
    And who will profit from this new ‘special interest’ turn of events?

    Do I have to stand out now, on the 4th of July, with a high pressure hose,
    to water my trees and roofs again, like nearly every Anchorage summer;
    as newcomers shoot fireworks all over the area, & APD won’t show up?

    Funny how they send their little kids, ages 4 to 8, out to get the duds as
    soon as they’ve thrown the lit fireworks, and also shoot fireworks under
    the parked cars (with leaky gas tanks) on the streets of Anchorage. Fun.

    Yet reports to the summer 4th of July number go unanswered. Perhaps a
    call to the Fire Department is more in order; and child protection services?

    Sad… the uncivilized get to have all the fun, while those responsible get to
    watch out for street kids, the city, & wildlife; once available to watch & enjoy.

    Celebrate. Then race down the icy road quickly, to the next red light.
    Curse me, I’ll be the guy with space between my car and the next; &
    in no hurry. I’ll also pass you – at under the speed limit – a block later.

    So, are we to pay good money to see wild land creatures, to merchants in
    this blighted town, to see that effort to help them survive, wasted? Maybe
    some of us won’t buy nearly as much from other merchants as a protest.
    And I mean things such as electronics, tires, and frivolous stuff, too.

    Good luck. As the population of Alaska has increased since 1960, the
    quality of life here has notably gone down. Can you guess why? I can.

    I see the facade of ‘kindness’ to the tourists, when the new Alaskan
    urbanites appear to be out to kill each other all winter, & also out
    of this city, on the narrow and slower roadways to places like Seward
    Homer and other places where people still can gather and think free.
    Those, there, do not need to pretend freedom, to retain dignity & respect
    other person’s rights and freedom of space, peace & quality of life. Why
    is it the newcomers have brought the ugly American disease with them
    to a new country? And so many know not the history or laws of Alaska.

    * Location: pyrotechnical anchorage

    Comment: in a small town... – 05. January 2011 @ 10:56 am

  11. […] or compel themselves to revisit an issue.   For example, the legislation approving the use of fireworks on New Year’s Eve has a sunset date in 2012 so, unless we pass another ordinance, this coming […]

    Pingback: News from Assemblyman Patrick Flynn » De-commissioned? | An Assembly member's take on Anchorage issues – 30. June 2011 @ 6:15 pm

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