Proposal to loosen fireworks ban may fizzle outUPDATED 9:23 PM HST Jan 29, 2014Video Transcript
"glow" to your New Years or the 4th of July... Good evening, I'm Yunji de Nies. And I'm Paula Akana. A proposal to scale back Honolulu's fireworks ban looks like it could fizzle out. KITV-4's Andrew Pereira joining us now with our TOP STORY at 6...Andrew? Paula, Yunji... Two city council members want to make sparklers and fountains legal again, but their biggest battle could be with fellow colleagues. Gone are those small kid days when sparklers and fountains helped ring in the New Year, or celebrate America's birthday. Honolulu's fireworks ban began Jan. 2, 2011. WILLIE HOLLY: "ARE YOU GOING TO LEGISLATE US INTO DEATHLY SILENCE? PLEASE, LET US HAVE SOME KIND OF FUN." Council members Ann Kobayashi and Ikaika Anderson have heard an earful from frustrated residents who want to bring back the glow of yesteryear by making fountains and sparklers legal again. They face stiff opposition from those who like the status quo... DAVID TAKAHASHI: "IF YOU FOLKS PASS THIS BILL, YOU FOLKS ARE MARKED... YOU FOLKS NOT GOING TO GET ELECTED." And those who want to go a step further... SOCRATES BRATAKOS: "THE HFD POSITION HAS BEEN AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE ADVOCATING FOR THE TOTAL BAN OF FIREWORKS." The current law allows Oahu residents to purchase red paper firecrackers with a $25 permit. In 2013, the fire department issued 10,922 firecracker permits... a 27 percent jump from the 8,564 permits issued a year earlier. The bill proposed by Anderson and Kobayashi would add fountains and sparklers to that permit system. IKAIKA ANDERSON: "WE ARE LOOKING FOR A FAIR COMPROMISE HERE BY ALSO PROVIDING THE REQUIREMENT OF A VALID PERMIT." ANN KOBAYASHI: "SO, WE'RE JUST KIND OF GIVING A LITTLE MORE OPTION TO THE USE OF FIRECRACKERS." However the sponsors of the bill must first convince colleagues. Two council members passed the bill on first reading, but with strong reservations. A third voted no. BREENE HARIMOTO: "WHEN SOMEONE'S FUN AND SOMEONE'S CELEBRATION CAUSES FIRES, INJURIES AND EVEN LIFE-THREATENING BREATHING PROBLEMS FOR THOSE WITH RESPIRATORY CONDITIONS, I THINK THAT'S WHERE YOU DRAW THE LINE." Anderson and Kobayashi say the key to passing the bill could be public testimony. The earliest the Public Safety Committee could hear the bill is February 25. The measure also allows a refund of firecracker permit fees for anyone who does not use their permits. Yunji?