by David De Mullé
Every year since 2005, the 4th of July fireworks program has had its fair share of arguments and dispute. This year is no different. The Pyro Spectacular fireworks company that has provided the 4th of July excitement to the community since at least 2004, made the decision to just go along with the program, get its licenses and permits from the city, and expects to get reimbursed by the Sunland-Tujunga, Shadow Hills Community fund afterwards.
What makes this year’s 4th of July fireworks event more interesting than normal, is how absolutely no one has a definitive answer as to how the Pyro Spectacular’s invoice will get paid… In speaking with their office manager, we were told that “It’s business as usual.” Pyro has already taken out all the required licenses and permits that the city requires and is ready to set up the fireworks display July 3rd at the Verdugo Hills High School.
On the surface, it appears that everything is flowing along with no problems. But once you get below the surface, you can see the dissention of all the agencies involved. Dana Stangel, a STNC officer flat out said “We don’t need fireworks – they scare the animals.” As for the other 23 officers, not one of them had any information on what was really going on behind the scenes.
City Council president’s field representative Tony Wilkinson stated “No funds will be released prior to July 3, when we make everything available to the new CD-7 councilwoman Monica Rodriguz.” He continued to state “It would not be fair to disburse that great amount of funds ($18,000) with out her being completely involved.”
The Sunland-Tujunga, Shadow Hills Community Fund is the non-profit organization which receives and distributes the funds for the July 4th event, has had internal problems and a representative from the city said under condition of anonymity “We can’t determine if their non-profit status is valid and we can’t find any information as to who their officers are. We’ll let the Councilmember handle it.”
When asked about their participation in the 4th of July fireworks event, Chamber president Monique Reneaux said,“The Chamber of Commerce is no longer involved with the 4th of July fireworks program. “We are fully involved with the Honorary Mayor’s Race and we’re going to make it a really fun event for the community.” She continued, “The Honorary Race involves the 3 candidates selling tickets, holding fundraisers, advertising themselves to get more vote sales. Each candidate might have a car in the parade and be at the fireworks event to promote themselves. The winner with the most ticket sales will be announced at an awards dinner August 17th at the Great Caesars Banquet Hall.
The 4th of July fireworks spectacular will be held at the Verdugo Hills High School and proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Verdugo Hills High School programs.