In their editorial comment section of June 23, the Los Alamos Monitor chose to criticize the manner in which the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos is preparing for our annual 4th of July celebration at Overlook Park.
I would like to respond to that editorial with our own viewpoint, and to remind all of the residents of Los Alamos that a great deal of preparation and planning has already taken place, and much of that has been in consultation with the Los Alamos Fire Department. We take the safety issues associated with a fireworks display very seriously, and would not jeopardize the people or property of Los Alamos if we thought it were not safe to do so. Let me also remind you that we did not have any fireworks displays in 2000, 2011, or 2012 because of safety concerns and local forest fires, and that the final say of whether or not fireworks can be set off remains with the Fire Marshall – as it always has been.
We appreciate the cooperative efforts of the LAFD, who reminds everyone that a community wide fireworks display under controlled conditions can be safer than having individuals set off their own fireworks in widely dispersed neighborhoods throughout the county. And this sentiment was repeated by Governor Martinez, who in an interview with KRQE-TV, encouraged New Mexicans to attend their community-sponsored fireworks displays under these safer conditions.
It appears that the Monitor is more concerned about county resources being used for the 4th of July celebration than about the safety aspects. Let me point out that over the years the Kiwanis Club has amassed a great deal of very expensive equipment and expertise in providing this service to the community. If Los Alamos were to hire an outside entity to put on a fireworks display, it would be very expensive, and would still require police and fire protection. The Kiwanis Club merely requests donations at the gate to help defray costs and collect money which would eventually be returned to the community in the form of scholarships, etc. It is also important to note that the county supports many civic events like the Gordon’s Concerts, the Tour de Los Alamos, the Winterfest parade, the Triathlon, and Senior Appreciation Night for our high school graduates. We should all be grateful that Los Alamos County is so supportive of these events.
We invite everyone to come and enjoy the celebration that will take place at Overlook Park on July 4th, with a Battle of the Bands, The Nomads, the Los Alamos Winds concert, skydivers, a variety of vendor booths, and – with the permission of the Fire Marshall – a fireworks display.