Attend a Fireworks Show — For your Family, For your Country, For the GOP

Diana Palacios Diana Palacios 49 Comments


Much to the dismay of environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez, fireworks will illuminate the sky over La Jolla Cove this July 4.

San Diegans sorta have Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn to thank for this. As a refresher, back in May Quinn ruled that the annual fireworks display was subject to the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970. The ruling put the event in jeopardy as organizers would have needed to be granted an emergency appeal in order for the show to go on — something that was considered unlikely. Yet, Judge Quinn eventually issued a reprieve and the ruling was put on hold for 90 days.

Lovers of fireworks rejoiced. But Gonzalez and his ilk were not pleased. They said so on Twitter.

San Diego CityBeat editor David Rolland lamented that fireworks were dead to him. “I used to like fireworks, but thanks to Twitter, now I don’t,” Rolland tweeted.

Gonzalez stuck to his environmentalist guns and posted: “Absurd as it sounds, some actually think I do this to ruin other peoples’ fun. The “real” reason,” linking to an Onion article about planet Earth being fed up with humans.

Gonzalez also argued that citizens should be upset with the City of San Diego — not him — for not being in compliance with environmental laws. “Amazing new legal standard — We should turn a blind eye to illegality because, ‘it’s all about fun,’” he told radio host LaDona Harvey.

As I watched the debate unfold on my computer screen, it became fairly obvious that the individuals opposed to fireworks weren’t conjuring up memories of Independence Days past or feeling nostalgic when the topic came up. They just didn’t seem to care about this classic American tradition. I attributed the disdain to their usual extremist tendencies and left it at that.

However, this morning I came across an article regarding a study that was conducted by Harvard University. The study examined whether there is a correlation between attending Fourth of July events as a child and party affiliation. The researchers found that Independence Day celebrations (fireworks included) have a significant impact on people’s political preferences. These festivities energize Republicans and help boost GOP turnout on Election Day. More importantly, they also concluded that children who attend the festivities are more likely to grow up to be Republicans.

Democrats gain nothing from July 4th celebrations. “There is no evidence of an increased likelihood of identifying as a Democrat, indicating that Fourth of July shifts preferences to the right rather than increasing political polarization,” the study states.

On a subconscious level, could this be the real motive behind the left’s crusade to stifle our Fourth of July fun? They don’t want our kids to grow up to be Republicans?

It seems a bit far fetched, but just to be on the safe side, Rostrafarians should take their families to a fireworks display this Independence Day. Consider it your civic duty.


Comments 49

  1. Diana, this is simply genius.

    Taking this to extreme, I believe there may also be a correlation between shooting off your OWN fireworks and becoming a Libertarian. My father regularly stocked up on all the really good stuff in Mexico every year and blew some impressive holes in the lawn on July 4, causing my poor mother to shriek in horror and us kids to shriek with glee.

    One year a reclusive neighbor waved a white flag over our fence (a white pillowcase tied to a broomstick) when he couldn’t take it anymore. It was among the most memorable and hilarious moments of my entire childhood.

  2. Oh my goodness, Ms. Palacios completely misunderstood my tweet. I don’t recall ever uttering a single opinion one way or another on either of the judge’s rulings in this case. While I have the utmost respect for Marco Gonzalez and am honored to be considered part of his “ilk,” my tweet was a joke about how much back-and-forth about fireworks there has been on Twitter between Gonzalez and Alex Roth in the Mayor’s office. It was a stunning feat of dexterity that Diana pulled off, connecting that throw-away tweet to the judge’s second ruling. Truly impressive mental gymnastics. Bravo. Bra-vo.

    David Rolland

  3. So, the Harvard study mentions fireworks all of one time. Once. The study actually just says people who have at least one childhood Fourth of July holiday without rain are more likely to be Republicans. Apparently the only way to celebrate for SDGOPers is with fireworks. I guess you just alienated all those people who think hanging out with family and friends at a bbq, at the beach, or visiting a veteran at a retirement home is patriotic.

    I for one, saw many Fourth of July fireworks and have proudly celebrated the holiday since my early childhood. Nonetheless, I’m so far left I’ve already left the room.

    And btw, I am one of Marco Gonzalez’s “ilk”. I love this country, and that’s why I don’t want it polluted on the very day we celebrate it.

  4. Rolland’s tweet makes it pretty clear that he’s blaming Twitter, and has no relation to the judge’s decision.

    If we’ve learned nothing else this week, it should be that looking at an individual tweet without the context makes it easy to misinterpret. Let’s stop being so foolish.

    And don’t take the study too seriously. The genre of researching the causes and effects of political beliefs is notoriously unreliable. This ain’t exactly rigorous science, folks.

  5. David-

    Thanks for commenting. I understood your tweet. I did not include it to be devious as you questioned tonight on Twitter. There were a bunch of tweets about the fireworks ruling coming from both sides. I found yours to be funny and succinct so I used it. You should also note that out of all of Marco’s tweets on the topic, I used one where he linked to an Onion article. I guess my Republican humor was lost on you.

    As far as whether or not I’m a nincompoop, I’ll leave that up to you and your ilk to decide.

  6. Livia –

    Did you read my post or the study? I specifically said that the relationship between SD’s fireworks battle and the study was far fetched.

  7. It’s pretty clear to me that Diana wasn’t putting any real stock in the study and that this was written with tongue planted in cheek. Attend a fireworks show for the GOP? LOL!

  8. All joking aside, you have to understand that while you “insider” GOPers are poking fun at the issue, me and my so-called “ilk” (which I guess includes my wife and two small children) we’re receiving death threats, racist epithets, and a whole host of other pathetic messages. That’s how the GOP responds to a legitimate political and scientific debate, and why we win as often as we do.

    And one more thing — Diana, your article isn’t clear about the exchange between LaDona and I. She proffered the absurd argument that we should allow fireworks to continue despite failure to comply with environmental regulations simply because “its fun.” I’m sorry, but even you have to admit that position is downright idiotic.

  9. Does Mr. Gonzalez have evidence of the political affiliation of people he says have uttered threats and epithets at him?

    Are these negative messages anonymous or signed? If anonymous, how does he know their party affiliation?

  10. Maybe we should ban apple pie because not only is it fattening and we need to tell people what to eat, but the feelings of apples have too long been cast aside like waste.

  11. Marco-

    Thanks for elaborating on your conversation with LaDona. I didn’t go into too much detail since it is just a blog post, but I did try to explain what I believe your argument to be: that the city is to blame for this dispute. Last I checked, Judge Quinn agrees with you.

    In regard to the threats you’ve received, they’re completely inappropriate. I think most people who read or contribute to this blog would agree. However, it’s also inappropriate for you to accuse local GOPers of being behind them without any proof. I know that this might be difficult for you to grasp but a few nut jobs ≠ the Republican Party.

  12. So… judging from the follow up comments, this blog post is not intended to mean anything. It’s a string of far-fetched connections and loosely supported logic which are not supposed to construe anything except the idea that Diana thinks the left is ridiculous and unpatriotic, and she likes fireworks, and she thinks she’s funny.

    Why didn’t she just say so in the first place?

  13. Now that we’ve established the fact only Republicans get upset when their fireworks are taken away, it all makes sense. How else are their kids going to become Republicans?

  14. Diana,

    I wondered if you were trying to be funny by taking the tweet out of context. I guess it just didn’t work. Not sure how your readers are supposed to know that I wasn’t talking about the judge’s ruling if they didn’t see the tweet in context. Your motives might have been lighthearted, but your readers are left with the wrong impression, which is a bad thing, whether or not the intent is humor.


  15. Perhaps this is a silly question, but I’ll go ahead and ask anyways.

    Since Rostra as a site is careful not to take any responsibility for the content posted here besides “foul language and name-calling,” is this post written in the author’s personal capacity or as communications outreach for her employer?

    I only ask because I’ve never noticed any other posters disclose when they are being paid to post press releases (which aren’t noted to be press releases), or when they offer analysis of policies or ballot measures or candidates that pay their bills.

    That is, there’s no disclosure of who’s buying the cyberink at Rostra. That’s a decision that Rostra is perfectly free to make, but certainly also institutes a level of dishonesty and disrespect between writer and reader.

    I think it would be in everyone’s interest to know generally whether, for example, a leading candidate for mayor is so casually dismissive of adhering to the law in the name of tradition, and what other laws that candidate would, as mayor, plan to ignore in the name of tradition.

    Going forward, it might be good to have some barometer of how to discern the difference without having to ask each time. If that’s not feasible, I’d very much also wonder why the most basic level of transparency is not an option between campaigns and voters.

  16. Lucas:

    Diana can answer for herself, but we have no doubt that this post is likely personally-written.

    However, your overall inquiry is a good one, and is something we have been discussing. Some political blogs make it very clear that bloggers need to disclose if they are involved in any effort about which they write. The “jury” is presently in deliberation on that matter.

    That said, we don’t get the thing about press releases. Press releases posted here are very typically posted by the official or candidate (or staff), or sometimes by admin, on occasion by whichever blogger gets to it first, but are almost always clearly press releases … Unless we are missing your point.

  17. To those of you who think that I attribute negative comments to GOPers willy-nilly, I guess I can concede that they do not openly identify themselves as Republicans bashing Democrats. But, copied below is a representative email that reflects the bias of the writer (a) against liberals and (b) as a racist.

    I guess my assumptions are simply predicated on too much Daily Show episodes showing Republicans on Fox News behaving as absurdly as some of these commentators.

    Yeah, I’m biased, and I think there are a lot more racist assholes who identify with the GOP than with the Democratic party.


    From: jerry mcdowell []
    Sent: Monday, May 30, 2011 2:27 PM
    To: Marco Gonzalez
    Subject: suimg to stop fireworks

    Maybe if 19 more ragheads hijack airplanes, some one will give them directions to you place and they can clean up the gene pool as you liberals and environmental lunatic bastards have polluted it beyond recognition.

  18. As noted, I think it’s perfectly fine for Rostra to have no policy on it if that’s the decision that makes sense internally. I think it’s entirely reasonable to put the responsibility of basic disclosure on the individuals with something to disclose, but to also make it clear that they’ll be called out for failing on that front.

    As to your question regarding press releases, it definitely amounts to no more than a quibble. Here’s a recent example:

    Many of us are veterans of inside baseball, and this is obviously a press release from the opening graf. But functionally speaking, I don’t think a layperson reads that and thinks “official campaign communication.”

    There’s certainly no violation of rules because there’s a paid for disclosure at the bottom, and I’m not suggesting otherwise. But there’s also no disclosure that the poster is in charge of communications for the entity issuing the release. And I would suggest that there’s a substantive difference between a random user finding the release newsworthy and a professional spokesperson who is paid to make sure the release appears here posting it — especially without saying so.

    And it gets tricky not just because of the post in isolation, but because of the context: The poster also has regularly posted in different official capacities and in a personal capacity, without differentiating between them.

    The poster doesn’t appear to have a user profile here, so a reader couldn’t get more information that way. Twitter profile wouldn’t reveal anything. Google search would find the councilmember affiliation but not quickly the current affiliation with CPR specifically.

  19. For the record, Diana Palacios works for the very fine people of OCEANSIDE, and their elected Councilman Gary Felein. The people of Oceanside are famously patriotic and flag-waving, owing in part to their proximity to Camp Pendleton and the USMC.

    [Her connection to the City of Oceanside is not only no secret, it was the subject of a post here at SD Rostra:

    So In defending patriotic fireworks, then, Ms. Palacios is well and truly serving the people of Oceanside, who pay her salary. That is in the highest tradition of good public service.

    By the way, Gary Felein defeated a liberal Oceanside councilman (Hon. Chuck Lowery) in last November’s city election. Perhaps that has something to do with the ire of “Lucas” ?

    So… Ms. Palacios’ ties to Oceanside are no secret, and she honorably represents the will of Oceansiders on this timely issue

    Perhaps “Lucas” owes Ms. Palacios an apology for suggesting she is other than Honorable?

  20. Marco:

    We no more condone the representative email you’ve shared than do you, and — had such a message been posted here as a comment other than as an example — it would have been removed as a violation of our rules.

    We would further agree that racists of all parties can be described as you have, although we typically don’t condone such wording here, but in this case your choice of words is probably appropriate.

    As for more racists identifying with one party than another, that certainly is a slippery slope, especially if one cares to get into history and geography. But, even moreso, due to the ease with which some are willing to use the term “racist” to label anyone they disagree with about legitimate policy differences having absolutely nothing to do with race, other than in the minds of those too weak intellectually to differ without resorting to that card.

    From that standpoint, there are a few liberals who believe nearly all conservatives and Republicans are racist. Considering such labelers often view legitimate policy differences from only a race-based standpoint, they may be considered by some as racist assholes themselves, but we wouldn’t say that.

  21. Lucas-

    Yes, this post is my own opinion. I am allowed to have one, right My employer is the Oceanside City Council. As a general rule, I do not personally post anything related to Oceanside politics under my Rostra account. There have been a few instances where my boss has asked me to send out a press release. Thor’s Assistant posted those under the “guest column.”

  22. Lucas: you “think it’s perfectly fine for Rostra…”
    Did anyone from Rostra ask what you thought was “perfectly fine”? regarding anything?
    Just curious.
    More to the point, this is the best 4th of July article ever written. I love watching humorless liberals like Marco Gonzalez squirm. Marco, why do you hate fun? Why do you hate freedom? Why do you hate fireworks?

  23. fwiw, the e-mail example Mr. Gonzalez offered is from a server ( located in North Carolina.

    Are San Diego Republicans (or Democrats) somehow responsible for messages from 2,500 miles away?

  24. Marco: I am friends with a good number of Latino conservatives… they get called racist things by fellow Latinos and other groups (“sell-outs” and really original things like that) all the time. They get threats from union folks… but they are never unseemly enough to whine about it… because conservatives don’t believe in basking in victimhood.

    Marco: The day you rail against and COMPLETELY disavow the vile things routinely said against minorities who are conservative, I will begin to take you half seriously. I could copy and paste all day vile things just said to Michelle Malkin alone (conservative Filipina American).

    Two can play the copy and paste game Marco.

  25. Marco –

    I live in an affluent white liberal neighborhood that sits next to a poor black liberal neighborhood. I’m probably the only Republican on my block. The two neighborhoods share a school. I don’t know a single white liberal – for all their talk – that sends their kid to that school. Not one. Big talk about integration. But their kids go elsewhere.

    There’s plenty of racism to go around buddy. And hey… I grew up in a Latino neighborhood, and there was just as much racism there against, particularly blacks, as I’ve ever seen in the white community.

  26. Confused as to why “Jim” thinks my name needs to be in quotes. Not sure if this is a compositional tic, a war on punctuation I’m not aware of, or an implication that there’s anything questionable about who I am, but the latter would be a delight.

    Ryan — I was simply clarifying that while I’m concerned about the implications for individual users, particularly as the admin for several community blogs in my time I have no criticism of the editorial decisions of Rostra. But your angry defensiveness in place of addressing the point is duly (if wearily) noted.

    Diana — By no means am I suggesting that you’re not allowed to have an opinion. I’m glad that you do and are motivated enough to share them. But since I’ve yet to see any regular Rostra contributor seek to meaningfully differentiate between personal and professional opinion, or disclose potential conflicts, I went ahead and asked what I admitted in the first place was likely a silly question.

    However, if you think that it is inappropriate to consider the motivation of personal criticisms, particularly against the described backdrop, it raises an entirely new set of questions related to ethical standards. As you and other commenters seem eager to suggest, you don’t have to prove anything to me and I won’t be offended if you don’t bother trying. But it won’t stop mattering.

  27. Death threats: I’ve received them working on the issues surrounding fireworks permitting, too. It’s scary. It’s not a “Copy and paste game” – It’s the reality of folks who think it’s clever to do a little research and post our home addresses, making that info easily available to those making the violent anonymous threats.

    I’m a single Mom who because of unbridled, self-indulgent “sacred” hatred fears for her kids. I tend to go by “Sara_H” in forums such as these, as the example Marco posted is one of scores received, some more explicitly violent.

    I say the Pledge, I love my country, am proud of my WWII vet Gramp, other family members in the Armed Forces, and the civil liberties we enjoy. I find it a little ridiculous that in order for Reeps to recognize my shared patriotism I have to prove it by enjoying all things “inherently” patriotic, like fireworks. I’m liberal, I’m Christian, and I think the ideals of this Nation have been bastardized in favor of corporate interests.

    I grieve modern divergence from most of our forbears’ intentions. Somewhat connected: shouldn’t we honor the hard work that has been done to establish environmental laws by following them? Go ahead – heap on the criticism following that point from your ivory towers exempt from environmental justice issues.

    It’s not patriotic to turn a blind eye to environmental protections because it’s *Just One Day* (not to mention, ahem, it’s not just one day.)

    No one seems to have mentioned yet that the fight isn’t over fireworks inherently. Rather than re-state, check “The Real Fireworks Debate, or Lack Thereof”:

    Side Note #1: Regarding Oceanside, patriotism (not necessarily affiliations): Diana tried grilling Marco’s sister on Twitter yesterday regarding their 4th of July traditions. Turns out they regularly and enjoyably went to the fireworks displays as a family in Oceanside growing up, liberal bent and all. Funny how she chose not to include that information in her post.

    Side Note #2: Racism: Isn’t Rostra the same place that tried to blow up the issue of another jocular tweet recently? Indicating that a humorous off-the-cuff tweet smacked of Swedish racism? Just noting.

  28. Christ on a crutch, happy hour is apparently long overdue here.

    Lucas, I’m in agreement with you completely. Full disclosure is always in order, even if it seems evident to most and overkill to many.

    I looked back over my posts to check my own record. For the most part, I have disclosed any paid or causal affiliation on my posts. See example at the links here:

    However, I’ve slipped on this a few times, so thanks for a timely reminder.

    NBC political reporter Chuck Todd recently said in an interview that “transparency is the new objectivity.” I wholeheartedly agree. As I’ve said many times here about the news media, everyone has a bias, even if it’s only the value judgment made in determining the choice of material that gets into print or on the air. I’d prefer everyone to stop pretending to be unbiased, disclose all leanings and let the reader, listener and viewer filter accordingly.

  29. We are getting a Clinic today on the Liberal Playbook.

    If they are losing an argument, then (a) charge Racism and/or (b) question the integrity or the motives of the person on the other side.

    That is a little tricky when the opposing voice here is both (1) a Woman and (2) a Latina! But why let the facts get in the way?

    And if they think this will intimidate or silence that Latina… Boy, did they get a wrong number. lol

  30. Sara-

    It would appear that you and a few others took this post far too seriously. San Diego Rostra is a center right blog that’s moderated by some guy named Thor’s Assistant. We’re going to routinely post things that you don’t agree with, and yes, we’re also going to have a little fun now and then. I suggest that you learn to deal with it.

    You raised a lot of points in your last comment. I’ll respond to the one that applies to me. Yes, I did have an exchange with Lorena on Twitter yesterday. We talked about fireworks and how her family celebrated the 4th. If you continue reading you will find that I also told her that I did not agree with the study because of my grandparents. They were Democrats and loved the 4th of July. As I’m sure we all do.

  31. Hey Jim

    Maybe you missed this, so let me spell it out….

    The primary racism I’m “charging” is against the numerous jerks who felt that because I’m a latino fighting against unpermitted fireworks, it’s ok to call me things like “taco bender” “spic” or “wetback” as they lament my perceived lack of patriotism. (There were also a lot of “go back to where you came from” comments too — which happens to be Oceanside).

    Disclosing personal attacks such as this has nothing to do with the “Liberal Playbook” — it’s just plain old facts. Your post above doesn’t make sense.

    I’ve always been more than happy to debate policy and science, but thanks to some people (like Diana, Carl, Alex and the rest of their “ilk”) who have chosen to make this more a personal than a policy issue, my family, co-workers, and I get to deal with all of this collateral nonsense.

    The points I’m making in my comments on this thread are: 1. This isn’t a joke to us; and 2. The vast majority of those who have chosen to express their dissatisfaction with us directly have done so with hate and vitriol rather than rational and respectful disagreement. And I still believe it’s mostly conservatives… (who are probably Republicans)

  32. Can anyone say greenmail, race card, humorless and machismo run amok? Jim Sills said it perfectly,”We are getting a clinic today on the Liberal Playbook.” Ha! In the end a big hand for the little lady who made the lawyer whine.

  33. Marco: can you explain (without using the race card, if that’s at all possible) why it is you didn’t sue Sea World–which has fireworks EVERY summer night over the bay? Are their lawyers too intimidating? Be brave, think of the tortured fish in the bay!

  34. Have to hand it to Marco, with that last line. It has to be conservatives and Republicans because YOU say so. Typical liberal response. Proof. Who needs that. Evidence. Forget that stuff. Your opinion trumps facts.

  35. Sorry about reverse order, but here is what John Pilch was responding to in the La Mesa Patch (see prior comment)…
    In Q&A, Marco Gonzalez says he has no regrets that Lake Murray 4th of July had to cancel its annual music fest:

  36. With the San Diego brouhaha, I must have missed that the Lake Murray fireworks show was in jeopardy The Lake Murray area is in the City of San Diego, part of Del Cerro and San Carlos (and bordering the City of La Mesa). The annual fireworks show was long supported by Jim Madaffer and Judy McCarty before him, with the community coming together to support it and raise funds. So, where was Marti Emerald on this issue? Did she take a position for or against Marco Gonzalez in her own backyard?

  37. Wow. Sensitive much?? Rush Limbaugh did a segment on the study last week. He must be psychic or liberals must be really predictable because he described what their reaction would be to a T! Kudos to Ms. Palacios for lighting their hair on fire.

  38. WOW! You folks sure get riled up easily. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The fireworks at Lake Murray are scheduled for 9:15 PM. The Music Fest portion of the July 4th event was canceled, due to a lack of funding. The La Mesa Patch articles cited in previous posts fairly state the situation. Greg, for the record, neither The City of San Diego nor The City of La Mesa made a financial donation to the 2011 event. That said, both are providing services and for that, we thank them.

    With respect to Marti Emarald’s position vis-a-vis Marco Gonzalez, we prefer to allow politicians to speak for themselves.

  39. Marti Emerald is my council representative, and I have disagreed with her on just about everything — except this. We are looking forward to the Lake Murray fireworks — with all of our neighbors, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, white, black, Latino, Asian, etc.

    God Bless America. Where else in the world does someone have the freedom to try and ban fireworks? Or is it firecrackers? 🙂

  40. Greg: Just to set the record straight, Marti voted with Marco and his cohorts against the fireworks on the first reading. Then, perhaps due to flak from the community about that vote, Marti voted in favor, using Marco’s comments about the $200,000 settlement as her basis for the change in her position. Could running for re-election have something to do with this? Only Ms. Emerald can explain it.

  41. Just a quick response to Ryan a ways up: Sea World was the obvious and first entity we worked with on fireworks issues. Do a little searching and you’ll find the story online.

  42. Marco,

    I have the utmost respect for those who are true believers in any cause. However, I have to question your true motivation when you tell the City Council that you will drop your lawsuit for $200K. How exactly would that pay day benefit the environment? It also makes me wonder what it cost Sea World to “work with you” on the fireworks issue.

  43. Follow the money, folks. CA is overrun with attorneys suing us all to make a living. They might believe in their cause — or develop a rationale to match their economic interests.

    As long as we have a “can’t lose” civil court system, these lawyers will sue us into oblivion.

    BTW, Texas is adopting a tepid version of “loser pays” in business lawsuits. That’s going to be yet another reason for CA businesses to head to the Lone Star State.

    As I understand it, we have several bogus “class action” lawsuits filed weekly in this state — with the settlement money (they seldom go to trial because of defendants’ costs) going mostly to the attorneys — and seldom to the default members of the class action extortion game.

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