Simply No Money to Celebrate
Struggling cities cancel Fourth of July fireworks
Nearly 50 cash-strapped cities nationwide are forgoing fireworks festivities.....
Reporting from Euclid, Ohio -- Mayor Bill Cervenik has spent a lifetime celebrating the Fourth of July curled up on a blanket in this city's Memorial Park beneath bursts of fireworks across a darkened Ohio sky.
People have long considered the fireworks a treasure of this Cleveland suburb, where flags fly year-round in neighborhoods of bungalows and stores post signs for passersby to "support our troops."
But the fireworks and singing along to "The Star-Spangled Banner" on a warm summer night -- and the police and firefighters needed to manage the 30,000 people who turn out -- don't come cheap.
So this year, Euclid will have no fireworks. "I'm 55 years old and I can't remember not going to one of these," Cervenik said.
As the economic crisis has dragged on, city leaders around the country say fireworks are a luxury they can no longer afford. Big and small, urban and rural, the skies will remain dark over at least four dozen communities nationwide come July 4.
"It came down to this: Did we want to spend $150,000 on something that would be over in a few hours?" Cervenik said. "Or did we want to use that money to keep city workers employed?"
The news has sparked outrage and protests among residents who long to preserve an American tradition that dates to 1777. They say that fireworks displays are more than a nod to nostalgia: They allow communities to come together, set aside their woes and build up town pride -- even if only for a few hours.
"Good times, bad times, there's always been fireworks," said Robert Baker, who heads the Fourth of July festival committee in Abington, Mass.
Baker, a shipping foreman with a shoe manufacturer, has been out of work for a year. The festival was quashed this month amid city budget fights.
"This is one more blow in a year of blow after blow," Baker said.
In San Jose, slumping tourism and dwindling sales tax receipts shut down the city's America Festival and its evening display over a half-mile stretch of Highway 87.
"We're faced with balancing an $84-million budget shortfall," said mayoral spokeswoman Michelle McGurk. "We don't have the money to support a lot of things we'd like to."
Some cities would rather feed their residents than entertain them. In the Los Angeles suburb of Montebello, where unemployment hovers at 12%, the City Council unanimously voted to use its $39,000 fireworks budget on donations to local food banks.
"The last food bank line I saw had more than 1,000 people in it," said Mayor Rosemarie Vasquez. "We figured that, instead of burning the money in the air, why not give it to people who need it."
In Lowell, Mass., Mayor Edward Caulfield canceled the city's annual show to help save one city job. He had already cut 48.
Jobs are being cut in city after city after city across America....do you see your politicians taking pay cuts or publicly adressing the issue??? No, all you hear are the wimps, pimps, and chimps getting angry at Alstry for reporting the truth.
Soon we are going to be forced to stand together as a nation as more and more go broke. Millions of city, state, and other government workers including those in healthcare are likely going to lose their jobs in upcoming weeks and months.
It is simply the mathematics as we proceed forward with current Zombulation government policies. It is not the end of the world, just the end of a game as we know it.
Look around.....there are likely neighbors of yours in distress, lend a helping hand where one is needed.
America has been giving for generations.....do you think there will be anyone to give us a hand in our time of need???
Prepare.....just in case there is NOT!!!!!