Happy 4th of July; Now Go Do Something

In honor of Independence Day, we want readers to break free from their cyber shackles and light something on fire that seconds later shoots in the air and explodes without hurting anyone or setting fire to other things. We’ll be back Thursday. Until then, here’s a guide of local festivities for the 4th of July, including the San Jose Giants shooting off some fireworks, Santana Row hosting a barbecue and Camera 3 theater showing a campy movie. Get some.

29 Comments

  1. Not to be on my repeal the fireworks ban kick again but…

    It’s 10:43pm and mortar rounds are flying off everywhere around my house..  Earlier from Com Hill the white cloud from…. heh.. just heard something bounce off my roof.

    Earlier from com hill the city looked as though it had a blanket of white smoke, from where previous shells had exploded, with technicolor star bright flowers appearing for a moment before fading away.

    I think it’s silly that I see basically millions of dollars in high end mortars going off, yet not so much as a small safe and sane cone is legal for sale in the CSJ.

    Elsewhere the sound of a fire engine pierces the night.  Likely someone not trained in proper mortar use blew off a hand, or set something on fire. It’s not just my neighborhood though.  One of my friends in a downtown apartment told me of people lighting mortars in the middle of the U shaped apartment quad. 

    If we’re not going to repeal the safe and sane ban.. FINE.. but at least give these mortar firing knuckleheads a place to fire them off on the fourth.  Getting a little scary with pellets bouncing off my roof here in the burbs.

    • Well Robert,
      You and I finally agree on something. Last night, we endured the usual very loud, dangerous, and illegal fireworks display at Farnham School AGAIN.

      Every year, this idiot pulls up to Farnham School with a van filled with illegal fireworks, and rocket launchers. Hundreds of people show up illegally parking their cars on red curbs, blocking our driveways/roadways, and carports to view them.

      An apartment complex comprised of 177 units sits just a few hundred feet a way from the hot embers falling from the sky. The area he sets them off at is surrounded by dry grass, trees, small businesses, a GAS STATION, houses, the school of course, and other apartment complexes.

      Children are allowed to run up to the rocket launchers while they are being fired, and the guy setting them off can always be seen holding a beer in his hand.

      Don’t bother to try and get the Police out there because you’ll be on hold for at least 20-30 minutes, and when you do finally get someone on the line you’ll hear, “We’ll try and get someone out there.”

      The part of this situation that really angers me today, is that our Council Member held a community meeting with Captain Honda weeks ago, and asked that he prevent this from event from happening again this year. He promised to make an effort to get a Police Officer out here to do just that.

      Well guess what, an Officer DID come out and sat in his/her patrol car on the corner of Twilight and Woodard, and did absolutely NOTHING to stop it. So much for enforcing the law, working with the SJPD to try and keep your neighborhood safe, and practicing fire safety prevention.

      Since the SJPD is non responsive to our requests for help, and since a roof fire, a few blocks down the street from us, occurred due to illegal fire works, and since people are going to set off fireworks off, and risk the lives of innocent citizens any way, I think these idiots should be given an area where they can set themselves on fire, or blow their hands off without endangering the rest of us.

      • Kathleen, I understand your frustration on seeing “an Officer…sat in his/her patrol car… and did absolutely NOTHING to stop it…”

        That is District Tom which has 5 beats of which only 4 are staffed. Dedicating that ONE officer at that location means that there were only 3 officers available to respond to calls for service in the rest of the district – a district where everyone else expects the same response and service from a SEVERELY UNDERSTAFFED POLICE DEPARTMENT.

        “…Every year, this idiot pulls up to Farnham School with a van filled with illegal fireworks, and rocket launchers. Hundreds of people show up illegally parking their cars on red curbs, blocking our driveways/roadways, and carports to view them…” 

        What is “one officer” supposed to do here? Arrest/Cite the guy with the van and confiscate all the fireworks?  I am sure that would go over real well with the “hundreds” who show up for the display…. Most might just verbally vent their opposition to the officer but chances are that someone in the crowd is going to incite others to “stand up for America” and take the officer on to ensure that the show goes on.

        Sorry but post Measure’s V, W and B public safety in San Joe WILL be 100% “re-active.”  Sooo, if the cause of that roof fire in the area can be linked to the guy in the van’s fireworks show and someone wants to come forward with information to substantiate that, then maybe a detective at the PD or an arson investigator at the fire department might around to investigating it. Otherwise, the homeowner’s insurance will cover the damage and life will go on. 

        Please let your “councilman” know that when he proposed /supported the aforementioned measures he should have thought about the repercussions he was warned about

        • Meyer Weed,
          First, let me start by saying that I truly understand and sympathize with you on how the shortage of Police Officers is affecting our City, especially during the 4th of July.

          Secondly, I did not expect one Officer to take on a crowd of 200 plus people. I know that some idiot out there would have gone nuts, and tried to harm this Officer if he/she tried to stop this illegal, and dangerous event.

          Having said that, you seem to be missing my point. We had a community meeting with Captain Honda, weeks before the 4th of July, and asked him to have an Officer at Farnham School intervene BEFORE this guy could unload his van, and set up his launchers. We all took him at his word that he would do so. By the time he finally did send someone out, it was too late.

          His lack of action to prevent this situation from occurring in the first place is what I’m angry about. He betrayed our trust, and that is the real issue here.

          Had Captain Honda told us that he could not provide an Officer to stop this from happening because of the shortage of Officers, I would have gladly contacted the School District and offered to pay for two off duty Police Officers to secure that school from this event. (I know two Officers would have greatly benefited from this pay job, given the huge financial sacrifices they’ve already made with the City.)

          On another note, you can’t ask citizens to be the “eyes and ears of the Police,” and then abandon them when they are reporting crimes. Also, you cannot, in good conscious, take your frustration with Council Members who voted for measures W,V,and B out on we citizens.

          I voted NO on all pension reform measures, and even if I didn’t, I deserve Police protection when I or someone else’s life is in danger. Police Officers take an oath to “serve and protect,” and if they aren’t going to honor that oath, then they need to leave the force and do something else for a living.

          As to the roof fire, I never said that the idiot shooting off fireworks at Farnham School was responsible for the roof fire. That was just an example I used to show how many illegal fireworks were being set off in my area without Police intervention, and the harm they cause.

          In closing, I want to thank Council Member Rocha for trying to prevent this situation in the first place. I also want to thank Police Chief Moore, and Deputy Chief Larry Escovel for contacting me, and apologizing for the lack of Police response we received, for reassuring me that they will not allow a repeat of this situation next year, and for investigating my complaint.

          It takes a lot of integrity to fall on the sword when you screw up, and the SJPD did screw up big time in this situation. I deeply appreciate their willingness to be honest with me, and to take the time to work with me on this vital issue. 

          Please, be safe out there Meyer Weed, and thank you for your service to our City.

        • Weed,

          Pointing out a grievous factual error..  Not a Don Rocha fan but.. I don’t like seeing mistruth’s spread.

          Please let your “councilman” know that when he proposed /supported the aforementioned measures

          OK so the aforementioned you refer to is..

          Measure’s V, W and B public safety

          Don wasn’t even elected when measure V & W passed.  Also, a few weeks ago Pierluigi called out Rocha and Pyle for supporting pension reform “In name only”

          The only person I see on the council that continues to stand his ground on the issue is Kansen Chu.  The ONLY one to vote against, even after B passed. 

          I am so glad I had the opportunity to campaign for him.

          Thing is now, the council has started to get REALLY nasty towards one another.  Word on the street is part of the reason Pier went after Pyle/Rocha is because people associated with them were starting a whisper campaign and spreading some really nasty rumors about PLO.

          Wouldn’t surprise me if the whisper campaign rumors were true.  I’ve had the same treatment from those folks.  A virtual fountain of vulgarities and 4 letter epitaphs could flow from my fingertips right now if this site allowed it to describe my disgust at these low brow type of politics.

        • @ Robert:  I stand corrected! Please forget that I said anything about Kathleen’s councilman “proposing” Measures V and W. He merely won this blogs endorsment for his council seat by publically supporting them.

          http://www.sanjoseinside.com/news/entries/10_28_2010_don_rocha_city_council_district_9_endorsement/

          “…He (Rocha)  has come out publicly in favor of Measure V and Measure W, which would strengthen the city’s position with regards to public employees’ unions…”

          Niether did the councilman propose Measure B – he merely supported it by casting one of the votes on the council that put Measure B on the ballot.

          Pier’s awards say more about him and his “no bounds”  pettiness than anyting else.

          Did you hear the “rumor” that he was nearly arrested last month for interfering in a domestic violence investigation the police were investigating at his next door neighbor’s house?

        • Weed I see no reason to argue the chronological anymore.  You’ve pretty much laid it out correct now.

          Did you hear the “rumor” that he was nearly arrested last month for interfering in a domestic violence investigation the police were investigating at his next door neighbor’s house?

          Who is he?  PLO or Rocha?

        • Thank You for your continues support. Honda is a good man and probably suffers from the same condition we were all indoctinated under “do more with less!”

          Sadly niether Honda, Esquivel, Goode nor Moore nor anyone else has control over staffing or resource deployment at the San Jose Police Department anymore. I hope that they have learned from this and REFUSE to make any more promises that they CANNOT in anyway shape or form keep.

          What you saw on July 4 is only the beginning.  Once upon a time in San Jose all it took was ONE San Jose officer in a marked police car and those thinking of doing anything remotely anti-social or illegal would flee the area. Those days are gone.

        • Thank God for measures V,W and B. As we all know, in say, 2 years, San Jose will have a higher ratio of police per resident. Does anyone out there doubt this? I’ll put money on this. The math is on my side on this. Anyway because of those three measures the future looks bright.

      • I grew up in the area of this illegal fireworks show and was home visiting my ill 88 year old mother.  Her home is less than a mile a way from Farnham.  Upon hearing all these explosions, my cousin and I drove over to Woodard and parked in the empty parking lot at St. Francis Cabrini Church and walked up the street.  I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing.  Shells were exploding all over the neighborhood.  It was like a war zone with some of the shells going in all directions. I saw a San Jose police officer sitting in his car and I asked was the heck was going on here. I told him that these explosions were shaking the windows of my Mother’s home on Lantz Ave (off Foxworthy b/t Union and Bascom).  He told me he was only one person and he could not do anything.  Here’s a bit of information for you all, his young son was sitting in the passenger seat. I am retired from the fire dept. up in El Dorado County and I can tell you that this was a very dangerous situation.  I doubt a fire engine could have driven down some of the side roads packed with cars. People were allowed to stand too close to where they were shooting off the fireworks.  We tried to contact the police and fire dept., however we were on hold for over 15 minutes.  I finally gave up.  Bottom line, this is crazy and the city needs to put a stop to it before someone gets hurt.

        • Bottom line, this is crazy and the city needs to put a stop to it before someone gets hurt.

          It’s not going to be stopped, just like marijuana and gambling.  The best the city can hope to do is regulate and tax it, like they used to.

          Ever since the ban I’ve seen the type of illegal firework go from just a block party firing off some safe and sane cones they bought in Hollister or Gilroy to the modern day, professional grade artillery being fired over our homes now.

          Looking at the burst patterns, some of these are the same fireworks used at Disney Land. 

          It doesn’t matter how these things are getting into the hands of the average citizen, point is the genie is well out of the bottle on this one.

          So why not give these guys a safe venue to fire from away from our rooftops?  Maybe the fairgrounds?  Maybe the municipal soccer stadium?

          Something with supervision.  Staff on hand to make sure everything is being done safely and correctly.  Maybe have some EMT’s on hand for injuries.

          A show at Fahrnam *could* be safe with the proper supervision and guidelines.  The city should sell permits to cover the cost of public safety staff for the event.

          I would pay to attend such a show, as would many others. Doesn’t sound half as crazy as the first time I pitched it, now does it?

          You also get the added benefit of neighbors coming out to meet each other.

        • Barbara,
          Please call Captain Honda at 408-219-6606, and tell him what you just posted here on SJI. Please be sure you mention that the Officer had his son in the car. It is very important that we help him get to the bottom of this.

          Thank you.

        • Robert,
          No fireworks show at Farnham is ever going to be “safe.” There are apartments, businesses, houses, and a GAS STATION surrounding it. The streets are blocked by illegally parked crowds and pedestrians run across the street in the dark. Farnham School is not an appropriate venue for these kinds of pyrotechnics.

          They belong in a safe, open area a way from businesses, homes, and schools.

        • Kathleen, I called my Mother’s councilman, Mr. Rocha.  I spoke with a woman in his office and told her about the officer and the kid in the car.  I explained to her that I was appalled that this type of activity was being allowed in such a densely populated neighborhood containing so many homes that were built in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  I would hated to been living directly next to where this activity was going on.  I told Rocha’s gal that there is no excuse for the city not to have made an attempt to shut this down before it started.  All you needed was a couple of police cars along with the fire department there.  Told her I was not buying the excuse of being short handed, I am sick of hearing that crap over and over again.  I live approx. 60 miles west from Tahoe, off Hwy 50 and this a rural county and our public agencies are also short handed but I doubt that this sort of activity would have been allowed to continue.  My family has lived in Cambrian Park since 1949. We played in the apricot and prune orchards.  We watched the Cambrian Plaza being built, along with the new schools and the new houses that sprung up all over.  I attended Cambrian, Farnham, Metzler, Ida Price and am one of five kids who attended and graduated from Camden High.  These people are ruining this area.  It needs to stop.  Farnham School is not safe to hold a fireworks display.  Who are these people who are doing this?

        • So this officer is prevented from spending the 4th of July at home with his son and now you all want to chastise him for trying to make the best of a bad situation?

          These cops can’t win. We’re alienating them to the point that we’ll be lucky if they ever exit their vehicles.

          Do any of you realize what upward discipline is and how these officers could apply it to us all?

          And don’t give me any of that “well we’ll fire them” etc etc. anyone knows that does not happen and cannot happen with our dysfunctional city “leadership”

          What’s the worst that can happen to these officers? Force them to work 4th of July?
          We’re lucky the guy even showed up. Atleast you were safe from being a victim of a violent crime or burglary.

          And if I’m not mistaken, the fire Marshall/chief is equally responsible for the enforcement of fire code violations. Not everything is solely a police issue.

        • Kathleen,

          Here it’s 6 days after the 4th, and explosions can still be heard in my neighborhood, even as I write this.

          I just looked at the size of Farnham.  It’s fine.  It fits well into the National Fire Protection Association 1123 handbook.
          http://www.nfpa.org/catalog/product.asp?pid=112306&cookie_test=1

          There could be a “scaled” and safe display run there.

          Also, to give you a historic are of similar size and traffic formerly with legal fireworks shows, look no further than Discovery Park. 

          This is the problem with Farnham..

          A majority obviously wants it there.  The issue is one of safety, and again, here is a guideline to that safety.

          http://www.nfpa.org/catalog/product.asp?pid=112306&cookie_test=1

          You’re not going to stop these people.. Ever.  You knock one off, another sprouts up.  The cop seemed perfectly happy to bring his son to this fireworks show.  For all we know, it’s a cop running it (or a friend of the cop)

          The man running it spent a good amount of cash on his fireworks.  Why did the city lose money?  In exchange for supervising and making sure safe standards(NFPA 1123 PLEASE)  and crowd control were followed, we should have hit them with permit fee’s and taxes on the purchased fireworks.

          Boiling down the one reason fireworks are good…  It brings people out in peaceable masses that no other method can even come close to.  Bringing people together to celebrate is always good for the city moral.

        • Robert,
          We’ll just have to agree to completely disagree on this. You don’t live here or have to put up with it, so I’ll close by saying this, if this guy wants fireworks so badly, then he can comply with the law and do it LEGALLY, somewhere else.

        • Barbara,

          Thank you for contacting Council Member Rocha’s office to let them know how serious and dangerous this event was/is. You still might want to contact Captain Honda. He is a great guy, and would like to hear your input.

          Also, there will be a Neighborhood Watch Meeting, July 31, 2012, at Houge Park, Building #2, at 6:00pm. Part of the meeting will focus on this issue. I hope you can attend.

          I hope your Mom feels better.

        • Plain Truth,

          I disagree. This Officer was wrong to do what he did, period. As for protecting us from a violent crime, that is quite a stretch. He was too busy watching the fireworks display with his son, to see anything else. He was not sent out to watch fireworks. He was sent out to stop this illegal fireworks display from happening. It was only after he realized this wasn’t just a group of kids shooting off Roman Candles, that the reality of the situation sunk in. 

          Having said that, I support and advocate for the SJPD on a consistent basis. To that end, I plan on putting together a BBQ to honor and show appreciation for both Police and Fire. Hopefully, they’ll show up.

        • To that end, I plan on putting together a BBQ to honor and show appreciation for both Police and Fire. Hopefully, they’ll show up.

          And if you put on a fireworks show, they’ll bring their kids!

        • Plain Truth,
          Thank you for the kind words, and thank you for your service. As a mediator, and arbitrator of 30 years now, it never ceases to amaze me how many people have little to no respect for the law, Teachers, Police Officers, their neighbors, other people’s property, or each other.

          You make a very valid point when you say, “The reality that a large segment of the community obviously supported this show and when individuals have little or no respect towards the police, they are most likely to ignore the requests or demands of officers. This can lead to the officer having to use force in order to gain control of a situation. When police are faced with dispersing large crowds, it is necessary for the public to have the respect to follow police orders.
          The reality that he will be vilified by the IPA should he use a loud voice or rough tone in ascerting authority. The reality that he will not be able to feed his family should he get hurt enforcing the law. The realities are many many more than I’ve described.

          Public approval and cooperation are the basis of effective policing.  The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions and they must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law.”

          You are 100% correct when you say that everyone of these folks who knowingly, and willingly attend an illegal fireworks show like this are the reason this nut keeps showing up, and endangering us all. The selfishness of their decision to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the dangers of what they are doing is mind boggling to me.

          As you already know, or can guess, we have many older folks living here that once served in the military and suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or who are ill. These loud blasts stress these folks out, and terrify animals too. A few days before, and a few days after 4th of July, when illegal fireworks displays happen, are the worst.

          4th of July is the one holiday that most animals are killed, injured, or escape from their homes, and fill already over crowed shelters. It is also the most prevalent time for fires to occur.

          I don’t know what the solution to all of this is, but my neighbors and I am working with Captain Honda, and Council Member Rocha’s Office to prevent this event next year, and to try and identify who is putting on these fireworks, using drugs at Houge Park, and Farnham School, putting graffiti up everywhere, breaking into people’s homes and cars.

          As to the BBQ, it IS going to happen. I am working with Captain Honda on the best time, and date to hold it to ensure there is coverage for our area. I hope my neighbors will come out too, and show our public safety servants the support, and respect they so richly deserve, for putting their lives on the line for us everyday. And if someone wants to complain about it, well so be it. I will be more than happy to address their concerns. wink

          Stay safe out there.

        • “It was only after he realized this wasn’t just a group of kids shooting off Roman Candles, that the reality of the situation sunk in. ”

          I think the reality of the situation sunk in when he started his shift and knew that he was without backup should he choose to engage these firework supporters alone. The reality that the officer couldn’t get the day off to be with his family because there were no cops left to cover his shift and the city will not allow someone to cover him through overtime. The reality that a large segment of the community obviously supported this show and when individuals have little or no respect towards the police, they are most likely to ignore the requests or demands of officers. This can lead to the officer having to use force in order to gain control of a situation. When police are faced with dispersing large crowds, it is necessary for the public to have the respect to follow police orders.
          The reality that he will be vilified by the IPA should he use a loud voice or rough tone in ascerting authority. The reality that he will not be able to feed his family should he get hurt enforcing the law. The realities are many many more than I’ve described.

          Public approval and cooperation are the basis of effective policing.  The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions and they must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law.

          Kathleen, you seem to be a very conscientious citizen and an exceptional neighbor. The type of citizen our communities could benefit from. I’m sure the city would be better off with more people like you. The reality however, and the officers see this daily, is that the majority of citizens are not like you ANYMORE, but more like the people who attend and support these impromptu fireworks shows and expect officers to turn a blind eye when it benefits them, yet apply the letter of the law when the violations impact them. The highly entitled masses who blindly support the mayor and the Mercury News, yet are perplexed that their quality of life is so diminished lately.

          Having a support BBQ is a great idea! I support your efforts 100%. This is what a community should do. But consider this.

          Sure, the officers may show up if you schedule it during a calm time. But who’s going to defend these officers when your other neighbors complain to Captain Honda or Councilman Rocha that their fireworks/burglary/noise complaint/family fight,  isn’t handled immediately because all 4 of the neighborhood officers are “just sitting around eating BBQ”?

          Another reality.

  2. “had Captain Honda told us that he could not provide an Officer to stop this from happening because of the shortage of Officers, I would have gladly contacted the School District and offered to pay for two off duty Police Officers to secure that school from this event. (I know two Officers would have greatly benefited from this pay job, given the huge financial sacrifices they’ve already made with the City.)”

    Let this be the last time you assume the city has adequate policing.
    Hire the extra help or take the law into your own hands.
    These are the times.

    • Plain Truth,

      I never assumed the Police had enough staff. I was told it wouldn’t be allowed to happen in the first place. That was my point.

      The situation at Farnham will not occur again. I spoke with Captain Hinda this morning, and he assures me there won’t be a repeat.

  3. I have an update on the BBQ to show our appreciation to our public servants in D9.

    I’m very pleased to announce that Council Member Rocha has graciously agreed to sponsor and PAY for a BBQ in honor of SJPD, SJFD, and Crime Prevention at Houge Park. It will be at Houge Park, Sunday, September 23rd, from 2-5pm. It will be a pot luck, and the Fire Fighters will be manning the BBQs! Everyone living in and serving D9 is invited, and welcome to join us!

    I will be presenting appreciation plaques to SJPD, SJFD, and Crime Prevention for their service to our community.

    Pastor Sonny Lara and his group will be there to hold a short prayer vigil for our public safety servants.

    If you care about our public safety servants and their service in your neighborhood, I would encourage you to hold a special BBQ for them too. They deserve to know how much we appreciate them for putting their lives on the line for us everyday.

    To you Officers and Fire Fighters, please, stay safe out there.