The fireworks ban in El Centro has been on the books for quite awhile, as well as in other cities and the county. About the only city with open season is Calipatria. Even Calexico, which modified its ordinance last year, is limited to a few days leading up to Independence Day and a portion of July 5.
Cheryl Viegas Walker, who has been on the El Centro City Council since the ban was first instituted, said the decision was based on recommendations from the El Centro Fire Department, but also with the idea that the community would support a Valleywide fireworks spectacular in Freedom Fest at Imperial Valley College.
She said the emphasis was on public safety.
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But that doesn’t mean the public can’t have a hand in overturning an ordinance or getting a modification. But there is a specific process.
We spoke with City Clerk Diane Caldwell, who said the step is to come to the City Clerk’s office and request to be put on a meeting agenda to ask the City Council in public session to reconsider the ordinance, or to change it.
From there, it’s a lot of maybes and possibilities.
To force a change or petition for an ordinance in general, the petitioner would have to compel the council to act. The likely course would be for the council to ask a city department to investigate and bring back pertinent information to the council, and at the same time, possibly schedule a public hearing.
If it moves beyond that stage, the council could ask the city attorney to draft an ordinance or modification of an ordinance, to be brought to the council for first and second readings, where the ordinance could be refined or changed before becoming official.
Once the second reading is passed, the ordinance would likely go into effect 30 days after that.
Best-case scenario is this process could happen in two months. But it usually takes about four months.
That’s how a bill becomes a law.