Earlier this year, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait made a radical proposal: Conduct Independence Day fireworks sales like just about every other city that allows them. Let nonprofits and other community groups manage, and thereby profit from, the stands.
But how could something that seems to work everywhere else work in Anaheim? Instead, detractors wished to maintain a needlessly complicated program where Anaheim Arena Management, the for-profit operator of the Honda Center, manned the city’s two firework stands, one in the arena’s parking lot and another in West Anaheim.
The company received 60 percent of the profits for “staffing and building the sales booths.” Another 30 percent went to community groups and charities, and 10 percent was set aside for the Anaheim Community Foundation.
An opposition campaign was launched. Folks in Anaheim Hills were led to believe that Tait’s proposal threatened the area’s annual firework show, which has received a $40,000 donation from the Honda Center’s operator the past two years.
Well, the numbers are in and community groups came out the winners under Mayor Tait’s plan — and Anaheim Hills had their fireworks show (as they did for 28 prior years without assistance from the Honda Center).
According to city data, Anaheim’s eight high schools and eight nonprofits, chosen through a lottery, raked in $202,900. An average per group of $12,681.
That’s a sizeable improvement from $53,633 split 99 ways last year, even when you add in the $40,000 that went to the Anaheim Hills fireworks show.
We question why firework sales require a nonprofit middleman, or why firework shows are a government responsibility, in the first place, but the previous year’s “charity” scheme was a farce. It was government-imposed monopoly in which the lion’s share of the proceeds went to a for-profit group.
Now Anaheim has a program similar to neighboring cities. It is also in keeping with the will of the voters who approved Anaheim’s…