By Roz Rogoff
Scenario #3Uploaded: Sep 14, 2012
In my blog on 4th of July Options last month, I described my participation on the Research subcommittee of the 4th of July Citizens Committee and listed the five Scenarios the full committee proposed to present at the September 13th Community Forum. That Forum was held in Dougherty Valley last night.
I wanted to be prepared for the forum because the Committee member who suggested each Scenario would present their Scenario at the Forum. I suggest Scenario #3, which I based on the events in Cupertino.
I interviewed Kelsey Hayes in Cupertino about how their 4th of July events were planned. She gave me some of the history of why and where they set off their fireworks, which are intended to be viewed from parks around the city instead of the High School where the fireworks are set off. I also found a list online of all of the different activities they have during the day.
So when it was my turn to come up with a Scenario for San Ramon's 4th of July, I based it on some of the events Cupertino held. I was particularly impressed with their barbecue in the park.
Many people brought home barbecues to Central park in 2011 and accidentally set off fires in trash cans or tree limbs. Personal barbecues are not allowed in Central Park, so I liked the idea of having a central barbecue run by the City for safety and to make some income to offset costs of police and firefighters.
I liked the event we held last year and wanted the band concert, tribute to the troops, and party band with dancing to be included too. The event should end early, like at 5 pm, to keep it completely separate from the fireworks show at night.
Cupertino separates their fireworks from the barbecue and other daytime events. They shoot off the fireworks from their high school, but close off access to the high school. Three other parks are opened for viewing. I liked this idea, but I also checked out the parking and seating capacities at our two high schools.
Dougherty Valley High has parking for 911 vehicles. California High has parking for about 600 vehicles. Dougherty Valley High Football Stadium has seating for 2,762. Cal High has seating for 2,450 or over 5,000 combined.
If the barbecue in the park charged $5 for a lunch, and the event drew 2,000 people, that's $10,000 gross. If the fireworks filled both stadiums at $5 each that's $25,000. That would help to offset the cost of the events and discourage large crowds because tickets could be sold in advance.
The 4th of July committee in Livermore sold tickets to their event at Las Positas College. It was so successful they made enough money to finance next year's event. So I merged all of these good ideas into Scenario #3 and presented it at the September 13th Community Forum.
Trish Johnston came up with Scenario #1 but she was unable to make the Forum last night; so Parks Commissioner Bill Meine presented Scenario #1 in her place. Scenario #1 is similar to Scenario #3 but simplified a centralized event in Central Park with fireworks in a different location and separated by an amount of time.
Committee member Joe Inderlum presented his Scenario #2. Joe's Scenario is to do the same thing we did this year a nice event in Central Park with a band concert but no fireworks. He found the crowds at last year's event scary. He didn't miss the fireworks at this year's event. He went home and watched the fireworks in San Francisco on TV. He even showed me a photo of one on his cell phone. He said not having fireworks is safer and could save the City an estimated $277,000.
Carl Hirokoshi presented Scenario #4, which is basically going back to the way the event has been held in Central Park for years. Carl thought with more cities providing fireworks this year and in 2013, the San Ramon event wouldn't be the only one and wouldn't attract the big crowds it did in 2011.
Scenario #5 is to celebrate San Ramon's 30th anniversary on July 1, 2013 with an event in Central Park, and only set off fireworks on the night on the 4th. Parks Commissioner Carol Lopez presented it at the Forum.
At the end of the meeting those in attendance voted on their preferred Scenario. Scenario #4, to go back to the way it was, was the clear winner. Scenario #1, which was separate the fireworks from the event in the park but keep it simple, came in second. Scenario #2, to do it the same as this year without fireworks, finished third. I don't know how many votes Scenario #3 got but it wasn't enough for the Bronze.
However, everyone will get a chance to vote online. Online voting with begin on September 17 through October 5. Then the results will be presented to the Parks and Community Services Commission. The Commission's decision will go to the Policy Committee to be put on a City Council agenda before the end of the year.
So watch for the 4th of July Scenarios on the City's website. Voting begins this Monday. This is a better election than the one in November. At least we have more options to choose from, so Vote!