Why “Ban the Boom” didn’t make the ballot

During the Vancouver City Council’s public hearing on personal fireworks Monday, a few speakers called for a public vote.

Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt said he suggested a public vote several months ago, but changed his mind. Because what would you put on the ballot? Many of the people who spoke in favor of only allowing personal fireworks to be discharged on the Fourth of July would prefer a total ban. So the question on the ballot would be, Should personal fireworks be banned in the city of Vancouver?

If the “yes” vote won out, fine. But if the “no” vote triumphed, it would be back to square one, Leavitt said. “We’re back to how many days of sale and how many days of use.”

Councilor Jack Burkman said the issue of personal fireworks has an equal number of opponents and supporters — even though, as Councilor Bart Hansen said happened at a recent meeting he attended, each side tries to claim the other side is the minority.

“We’d have two groups spend a lot of money to campaign,” Burkman said of a public vote. And the result would be 51 to 49 percent.

“It’d just become such a mess if we take it to a vote,” Burkman said.

Hansen said it was a difficult decision to make and that regardless of what happened Monday, “some of you are not going to be happy with me or the rest of the council. And that’s why we signed up for the job.”

“For people to be unhappy with us?” Leavitt asked.

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