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Seaside Officials react after Grand Jury says illegal firework enforcement has “minimal effect”

SEASIDE, Calif. (KION) - The City of Seaside isn't doing enough to stop illegal fireworks, according to a recent Grand Jury Report.

A member of the Monterey County Grand Jury and others say that Seaside is a hotspot for illegal fireworks around the 4th of July. The Grand Jury report added that Seaside's attempts to reduce illegal firework use have appeared to have "minimal effect."

“I want people to enjoy the 4th of July I don’t want any injuries or any loss," said a business owner in Seaside.

The repeated use of illegal fireworks in Seaside sparked an investigation from a Grand Jury in Monterey County.

Complaint calls for illegal fireworks over the past four years have gone up according to the Grand Jury's findings.

"We're going to have extra patrol officers, at least eight patrol officers just for fireworks enforcement sergeants, as well as a commander as well," said Matthew Doza, Seaside Police Commander.

Police also have the support of businesses, which are worried about the hazards.

Members of the Grand Jury found the City of Seaside was not providing the necessary language in Spanish surrounding the illegal use of fireworks on the city's website. There also wasn't a way for people to submit their complaints online.

“We recommended there be more clarity on the city of seaside website more information be shared with the public regarding information they can obtain on the websites on illegal fireworks," said Shaumbe Write a Grand Jury member.

The nine-page report released last month found the city should be maintaining contact with flock safety, a neighborhood safety system with audio detection which helps differentiate the sounds of fireworks from gunshots. And the city should have year-round community education on illegal fireworks in multiple languages.

"Our city is translated in various languages and all our communication is bilingual," said Alexis Garcia-Arrazola.

Councilmember Alexis Garcia-Arrazola says the has been taking steps to reduce the level of special effects in the seaside skyline, creating a fire hazard and loud noise for neighbors.

"The city council has pushed forward some money to implement shot spotter detection technology, but also cameras and more drones to help combat the effort," said Arrazola.

This year seaside PD says they're adding extra measures.

"We're combining both administrative sites, civil citations, and also criminal citations. we're going to be wrapping up our arrests," said Doza.

The Grand Jury says the city has until October 31st of this year to complete some of the recommendations. There were 13 recommendations made, and eight have an October 31 deadline. The city says they're on track to meet them all.

Marina and Seaside are the only cities on the peninsula that allow the use of "Safe and Sane" fireworks.

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Dania Romero

Dania Romero is an reporter at KION News Channel 46.


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