Though Rohnert Park Mayor McKenzie was absent at the latest council meeting Tuesday, June 20, 2017, the first order of business was presenting coach Ricardo Oliva the Mayor’s Certificate of Recognition for his outstanding coaching efforts and achievements. Having received the ‘Coach of the year’ for the Northern District of California in April, the smile on Mr. Oliva’s face – as well as those on the faces of the youth soccer team he coaches – made it fairly evident that this was the icing on the cake.
After breezing through a presentation about how to increase tourism in the area – which is a big job creator through the hospitality sector, and important to the city economy – one of the big topics that came under consideration had to do with the upcoming 4th of July holiday and the safe use and sale of fireworks.
Firework stands have begun popping up all-around Rohnert Park, and though the drought is officially over, the concern over an unintentional fire is still on the forefront of most people’s minds. Add to that the very real danger of injury if an illegal firework is used and the Department of Public Safety wanted to remind everyone that there are very real consequences to their use.
Director of Public Safety Brian Masterson wanted to remind everyone that California is called the Golden State for a reason, “…as we look to the hills, everything’s golden. But those hills are dry, and the dry grass, the vegetation’s dry, the weeds are dry, [they] pose a fire danger, and we’re in fire season. Just last week, the five counties – including Sonoma County – all fire permits have been suspended because we are in the fire season”
After this warning, he did let people know that they should enjoy the 4th of July holiday – and to help with the celebrations that there are 19 different booths selling safe and sane fireworks, and they will sell them all the way up until 9 p.m. on the fourth. The caveat is that there will also be extra patrols out that night, so anyone who decides that ‘safe and sane’ isn’t enough and decides to celebrate with illegal fireworks instead (those that shoot high into the air) they will be hit with a $1000 fine. This isn’t restricted to being caught lighting one; merely being found in possession of one has the same consequences. Masterson ends by pointing out, “I have yet to have seen a firework that was worth $1,000.”
The public comments were lighter than usual, free of unexpected protests. Rounding out the agenda were the usual talks of budgets, economic development, and how to incorporate retail attractions into downtown; all the things that keep the city running well.