Lake Murray Fireworks Show Canceled for This 4th of July

Committee chair John Pilch, in an email to La Mesa-Mount Helix Patch, said that because of a threat of litigation by the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF), the popular event will not happen this year.

The festivities of the annual celebration of our nation's independence at Lake Murray will be a lot less festive this year, as the Lake Murray July 4th Music Fest and Fireworks Committee has decided to cancel the fireworks display and music fest.

Committee chair John Pilch, in an email to La Mesa-Mount Helix Patch, said that because of a threat of litigation by the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF), the popular event will not happen this year.

"Marco Gonzalez (CERF lead attorney)  prevailed in lawsuits No. 3 and 4, due to the City of San Diego not completing a Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) as they reported they were working on last August. The three-member Lake Murray Music Fest and Fireworks committee did not wish to deal with personal liability exposure and the costs of litigation and decided to cancel the event this year," Pilch wrote.

Gonzalez, an environmental attorney, is a staunch opponent of fireworks displays over bodies of water, claiming that they can have harmful ecological effects on the water, and that further evaluation is needed. As Pilch noted, last week, Gonzalez and CERF won two lawsuits against the City of San Diego, because of the city's failure to properly complete an EIR about fireworks shows.

Pilch added that his committee is awaiting the results of a pending appeal that the city has taken to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"We hope to hold the event next year, if the court rulings are favorable," Pilch wrote.

It was reported earlier this week by U-T San Diego that Gonzalez will choose not to challenge the annual fireworks display over La Jolla Cove, despite his previous victories.

In a , an overwhelming 70 percent voted that once-a-year fireworks displays should not be subject to CEQA laws.

For more updates about the Music Fest and Fireworks and other events in our area, please visit www.navajoevents.com.

Kevin George June 27, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Here's an idea: I read here that it is a " Music fest and Fireworks Show"........So what is to stop us from having the music fest and when it gets dark if someone may have accidentally brought there own fireworks and then mistakenly set them off.......what would happen? Use a page out of the "occupy" handbook and go with the they can't arrest us all theory. Now that I think about it I could probably be arrested for writing this....what a Country!
Things I Learned June 27, 2012 at 06:34 PM
In Soviet America fireworks set off us!
john June 27, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Bummer, just another reason for a lawyer joke. Someone please as old Marco Gonzalez how one night of Patriotic Fireworks is any worse than 365 days of vehicle pollution entering the water system. That's why the engineers invented filters!!!
kathr June 27, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Another sad day in America when the traditional setting off of fireworks is extinguguished by a small group of fundamentalist...seems all the worls aches and pains (in the rear) are caused by fundamentalists.
Laurie Gordon June 27, 2012 at 08:50 PM
I live across from Lake Murray, and planned to have my beautiful patriotic day with my family there. Now I will have to get on the road, in the midst of all the already ridiculous traffic (exhaust, gas etc) to take my 6 year old somewhere that will actually display fireworks. How much sense does THAT make?
Sariously June 27, 2012 at 09:53 PM
You guys, it's fireworks. They happen in the sky. Just hike up neighboring Mt. Cowles or some other reasonably high elevation in La Mesa and enjoy all the other firework displays that are going off. No need to drive all the way out to where they are.
Sariously June 27, 2012 at 09:54 PM
There's also things like public transportation and bicycles if you care that much about seeing them up close and personal but don't want to waste gas. The trolley usually runs later on the 4th for people to get home after celebrating. A good spot is over by Harbor Drive where the Maritime Museum is--there's a trolley stop right there!
Kevin George June 27, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Yup, we could also take the trolley and then bus up to La Jolla where they will be happily watching toxic fireworks over the pristine marine preserve where evidently they have enough money to protect themselves from fundamentalist environmentalists.
Village Creative June 28, 2012 at 01:50 AM
When "culture vultures" like Marco Gonzalez and CERF can precisely delineate the "price" of our American freedoms, the end of "the great American experiment" is near. Shame on the City of San Diego for not being better prepared to battle these shredders of our Country's foundation. Shame too on the Lake Murray Music Fest and Fireworks committee for folding before battle not only on the fireworks, but the music portion of popular annual Festival. Oh wait, Gonzales is against music too. Guess when you're allowed to be on a roll, you get emboldened...!? Good thing none of these City officials/Committee members were forming skirmish lines during the War for Independence. "Run away! Run away!" would've looked out of place on a "Don't Tread On Me" banner. If Gonzales is so focused on our environment, maybe he should turn his sights to the oceanic pollutants being sent north from our neighbor, Mexico...
Looking for reasonable solutions July 02, 2012 at 01:41 AM
First, Lake Murray is a drinking reservoir, all water coming through goes through a treatment plant before distribution to users. Second, the lake is used as a recreation area where gas operated boats and swimmers area allowed. I believe there would be a negative environment impact because of that. Why isn’t Mr. Gonzalez creating a stink (threating lawsuits) about that??? Indeed it seems Mr. Gonzalez for the sake of getting his name in the news is instigating threats of lawsuits. While he may not have caused the fireworks to be canceled, his threat of suit did have a direct impact on the cancellation. I suggest his actions are an infringement of our rights of local and inexpensive entertainment. While living close enough to the lake, I cannot (nor a multitude of others) enjoy the 4th of July at home in a way of choosing (sharing time with friends/neighbors at home having BBQs enjoying food & drink). We (collectively) are forced to go elsewhere should we choose to go out. That being stated, I would suggest that individually, we sue Mr. Marco Gonzalez in Small Claims Court for the costs of going out when the plans were to stay home... OR better yet threaten him with suits… Maybe Mr. Gonzalez should stay in his own neighborhood...
Kevin George July 02, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Selina, sure, but the one that counted, the guy that prevented the fireworks for EVERYONE is a liberal. Looking.....no big deal, but swimming is not permitted at Lake Murray.
Chiming In July 02, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Oh thanks for the brilliant suggestion. It's more than just watching the fireworks. We have a great sense of community over here and this Grinch of Summer has ruined it. Ill take my 77 year old mother right up Cowles Montain instead of her back yard surrounded by family. Great totally practical idea. We can just send 15,000 la Mesa/San Carlos residents up the mountain. What's the environmental impact there??
marco gonzalez July 02, 2012 at 05:33 PM
While CERF has yet to take any formal action regarding the Lake Murray firework show, I would simply point out that the science that does exist supports being a bit more careful before shooting off toxic chemicals over our drinking water. Have a read: http://www.denix.osd.mil/edqw/upload/es0700698.pdf
Kevin George July 02, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Then why pussy foot around? Ban all of them now. Or will just the threat of litigation be enough elsewhere?
joan sullivan July 02, 2012 at 08:50 PM
From reading Mr. Gonzalez' study, I gather that we should also ban space shuttles, road flares, agricultural fertilizers and lightening storms. My goodness! That lawyer is going to be a busy little bee, isn't he?
Craig Maxwell July 02, 2012 at 09:08 PM
(This is insane...)
Mike July 02, 2012 at 10:04 PM
The study by the EPA on fireworks in one lake in from 2004 to 2006 is initial at best in the issue on increases in ClO4 levels in drinking water. This study is a very good study on one lake. To extrapolate that to other lakes would not be considered “supported by science” by any reputable scientist. With only 1 lake there is no control with respect to the level of microbial perchlorate degradation in other bodies of water. Also lacking is a study on the effects of a large, short lived (return to background in 20 to 80 days) spike (up to 7.5 times state determined safe limits) in perchlorate levels on drinking water. The study responsibly cites that more research is needed and that people should be careful when exposing our environment to high levels of naturally occurring substances. I don’t pretend to know as much about the law as Mr. Gonzales but I am a reputable scientist and do know that the > 20 reports on the environmental impact of firework based perchlorate pollution are very early from a scientific & health perspective. A more comprehensive study is the Albany 2011. To put this in perspective the fluorination of drinking water has been done since the 40s and is still being evaluated on the best way. If only Mr. Gonzales were only as preliminary in his legal proceedings (instead of over interpreting results to fit his legal agenda) as the researchers in this field suggest being the rest of us could enjoy the fireworks shows. cont..
Mike July 02, 2012 at 10:04 PM
In full disclosure I find lawyers who don’t know how to interpret scientific findings, but litigate on, them decrease their professional credibility. This is truly a shame because we need strong environmental lawyers to battle credible environmental threats.
Craig Maxwell July 02, 2012 at 10:50 PM
What could be more fun that a Fourth of July Fireworks show over the lake? But wait! Not until we first marshal an army of "experts"--scientists and lawyers--to conduct "studies" to determine its health effects and legal advisability. (No wonder this nation's so you-know-what'd up.)
Things I Learned July 02, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Patty Kay Mooney July 03, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Why couldn't we still have the music and the little food and crafts booths? People love to gather at Lake Murray for 4th of July festivities. Why just lie down and complain that one guy has ruined it for everyone? What about a laser light show? It's still a beautiful thing to gaze at, and a good DJ could replicate the sounds of fireworks, and I'm sure it wouldn't cost nearly as much as blowing up a bunch of fireworks. I'm a First-of-July baby, so I love fireworks, but I also realize there are compromises to be made in terms of keeping our drinking water supplies clean. Why can't people think more outside the box, and exercise their imaginations?
nicole July 03, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Patty I appreciate your idea. It's insane to completely cancel ALL 4th of July festivities because of this mess. Someone should have stepped up and implemented plan B...there should have been a plan B...
Zelaznog Ocram July 04, 2012 at 08:06 AM
First paragraph. Insufficient evidence. Done. Go save the whales, dolphins, rain forrest, caraboo....etc. Sufficient evidence exists to justify the need. Fireworks..... Really?
Batman July 04, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Plan B: 1 barrel hot tar, 1 bushel feathers. Where is this Mr. Gonzales' office?
Todd July 04, 2012 at 04:48 PM
The decline of America is this story....told thousands of times...interests of few...deleting rights of many....
john July 04, 2012 at 07:12 PM
well it's finally the 4th, thanks again Marco............you jerk!
john July 04, 2012 at 07:15 PM
damb right! time for the sensible citizens to stand up and get off the sidelines. lets stop being pushed around by the minority of whinners.
john July 04, 2012 at 07:21 PM
What shall we spend the $$ on from not having the fireworks? Plan B?
Batman July 05, 2012 at 02:28 AM
As I said in a previous post, this Mr.Gonzalez is obviously an anti-American and probably an anti-humanist also. Just the kind of sub-human rubbish our society can do without. Perhaps a class-action suit against him and his firm will get him out of our hair.The 30,000 plus people who normally watch the show should be able to pony up the legal fees. Mr. Gonzalez should be forced to pay for next year's Lake Murray fireworks show. Anyone interested in going after him? We should nix the tar and use super glue instead.
Gregg Ward July 04, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Fascinating...people who are upset that the annual LM fireworks and music show have been canceled are quick to blame environmentalists and people who are legitimately concerned about how fireworks may be causing damage not only to the aquatic life, but possibly to humans consuming the water. And yet these same folks say nothing about the fact that the City promised to do an Env. Impact Study on these things and didn't come through, AND the fact that lawsuit was NEVER directed at Lake Murray, only at the City. Why, for example, was there never a Plan B, such as Music without Fireworks? According to the LM 4th celebration organizers, they didn't want to apply for a permit for the music, without explaining why. Perhaps its because they lacked the money or the willpower or the organization skills? I love fireworks, I've seen a lot of terrific fireworks shows, and I've been to the LM celebration many times over the years, always enjoyed it. But I also care about the safety of the water we drink and of our environment. A safe, enjoyable alternative could have been found. But instead people point fingers and make harsh statements without really considering the facts or the options.


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