By the Numbers: $500
San Jose is taking heat over its crackdown on illegal fireworks. According to a handful of Blossom Hill residents, the city slapped them with $500 citations with no proof that they did anything wrong. The fines stem from the city’s online reporting system, which allows anyone to complain and apparently requires little in the way of evidence. The new reporting system was launched in May, according to city spokeswoman Cheryl Wessling. By mid-July, the system, run by the San Jose Fire Department, had generated 1,076 complaints that resulted in 161 warning letters and 45 citations. City officials declined to state how many were based on hearsay, however, and residents who want to contest their citation will have to pay up before they can file an appeal. City attorney Rick Doyle said the complaints require a thorough review. “There is a due process issue here,” he said, “and that’s a legitimate concern. You need video proof, witnesses or some evidence to cite people. I’m unclear about the sufficiency of the evidence that they had.” The City Council will revisit its fireworks enforcement policy when it meets next week.