Veterans and dogs were repeatedly mentioned Monday at the Vancouver City Council meeting as the people and pets most bothered by fireworks.

Since Monday wasn’t even the actual public hearing on a proposal to limit personal fireworks use to just the Fourth of July, I’m sure vets and pets will be brought up again at the real hearing, 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at City Hall, 415 W. Sixth St.

And since I doubt Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt or the council would be impressed if someone brought a dog in and have it give its, um, thoughts about fireworks (although I would be amused), maybe some veterans will testify. Because while several of the 14 people who signed up to comment mentioned that veterans are bothered by the blasts, a Cascade Park resident, a veteran of the Marine Corps who said he volunteers at the VA, disagreed.

“I guess I’m representing the minority view, from what I’m hearing here,” said Richard Prentice. “This is not a national calamity … I’ve never heard so much bellyaching and whining, with all due respect to those people here that are in opposition to my view.”

He said he polled veterans and with few exceptions, said they are not bothered by fireworks.

“I’m sorry if someone doesn’t agree with me, but I’ve done a survey on my own,” Prentice said.

The final speaker, Christian Sanchez-Bartz, had a suggestion for veterans who may be bothered by the noise. Leavitt called Sanchez-Bartz to speak first, but granted his request to speak last so he could respond to arguments put forth by the anti-fireworks crowd.

Sanchez-Bartz, who said he’s a student of speech and debate, said people use hyperbole and slippery-slope arguments to support limiting fireworks use. Some speakers mentioned a lack of personal responsibility on the part of those who do set off fireworks, such as when they leave their mess in the street for someone else to clean.

“I fail to see how personal responsibility does not go both ways,” Sanchez-Bartz said. About veterans, “If you know that you have been diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and loud noises affect your PTSD and trigger your PTSD, how are you not personally responsible for leaving town on the night of the Fourth, so that way your PTSD is not triggered?”

As for dogs, Sanchez-Bartz said he lives in a household with four dogs. A lot of different types of noise cause dogs to bark, he said, including motorcycles, other dogs barking and footsteps on his front porch.

“That doesn’t mean there should be a city ordinance against people walking up to my doorstep,” he said.

I’m not a dog owner and I did not serve in the military. But here’s a question I do have for combat veterans: Does it bother you that people use the term “war zone” to describe neighborhoods where there are a lot of fireworks being set off?

At any rate, Monday’s public hearing will not be dull.

Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at or 360-735-4508.

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