Marco Gonzalez, the Encinitas attorney leading efforts to challenge San Diego fireworks displays on environmental grounds, replied to a series of questions Friday from La Mesa Patch.
Gonzalez says it’s “totally speculative” over what caused the Lake Murray Music Fest Committee led by John Pilch to keep the fireworks show—but cancel the bands at the Fourth of July event.
Notified about these responses, Pilch declined to comment specifically, but reiterated that an environmental impact report—as sought by Gonzalez—“will kill” the holiday event.
“There’s no question,” Pilch said. “We’re not going to raise $20,000 for a document [the EIR] good only one year.”
Ken Stone conducted this interview via email:
La Mesa Patch: Do you regret the collateral damage your suit allegedly caused?
Marco Gonzalez: No, though I’m not sure what collateral damage you refer to. The organizers say they didn’t raise enough money. It’s totally speculative that such difficulty has anything to do with our lawsuits. In fact, the organizers are pretty clear they’ve had fundraisers numerous past years when we didn’t have challenges pending.
La Mesa Patch: [John] Pilch told me that you once sent him email challenging the Lake Murray fireworks show. Are you including that show in your suit?
Gonzalez: I sent him an email indicating his show is subject to Clean Water Act and California Environmental Quality Act regulations. His show has not been included in any suit to date, though the city special event permits required for the festival are implicated.
In the future, however, we will be focusing on that particular fireworks show as we believe the discharge of fireworks over a drinking water reservoir is a bad idea.
La Mesa Patch: Pilch says he wants to work with you and your group to make fireworks possible, but he says an EIR (which he says costs $20,000) would effectively end the Lake Murray event. Can compromise allow for an EIR that is less costly?
Gonzalez: There are a lot of options for the city to deal with this. Your question is better posed to city officials.
La Mesa Patch: Pilch says water quality tests in recent years show no harmful effects from his fireworks. Do you have any facts to dispute this?
Gonzalez: Why didn’t he provide us that data? What was the sampling protocol? Why were samples taken days later instead of minutes or hours? Evidence suggests huge spikes in pollutants following shows with dissipation over days; but there isn't evidence of what harm these spikes cause: See this study.
La Mesa Patch: Do you have any records of communications between you and Pilch? If so, could you share those exchanges?
Gonzalez: Not readily available. I communicated with him through the music festival web page. It's been extremely minimal. He's never bothered to call or initiate a discussion of his particular circumstance.