Sad that Galveston residents’ “significant” complaints aren't enough justification to discontinue the park board’s Sunday fireworks. The board needs more information before it can decide. OK.

In Michael A. Smith's editorial (“Cities must step up efforts to police fireworks bans,” The Daily News, Jan. 4) he states fireworks "terrorize pets and wildlife, generally disturb the peace and create several forms of pollution and litter.” True for all fireworks — legal or not.

I would also recommend park board staff members closely review their own mission statement: “to assure that Galveston's assets, for which the Board of Trustees is responsible, provide visitors and residents with exemplary experiences in an environment that is safe, clean, accessible, fun, and environmentally sensitive.”

Environmental sensitivity? Fireworks? Hmm.

Perhaps another article (“Park Board may dedicate more funds for birding," The Daily News, Oct. 23) provides the answer for how the board can better spend that $60,000-plus to increase flow of the almighty tourist dollar.

To be fair, Moody Gardens has Friday and Saturday fireworks, too. Yes, we get to hear fireworks three nights a week all summer long. Not enough space to address Moody Gardens here. Come on park board, lead by example. Give wildlife and residents peace on Sundays.

Cheryl Grafton

Galveston

Locations

(22) comments

Carlos Ponce

Best Places To Watch The Fireworks In Galveston
Did you know that Galveston Island has fireworks every weekend in the summer? You don’t have to wait till the Fourth of July to enjoy a free fireworks show on the beachfront. The Galveston Island Conventions & Visitors Bureau treats visitors and residents to a short fireworks show every Sunday at 9 p.m. from 37th and Seawall Blvd. The first show is Sunday, June 3 and last show of the season is Sunday, Sept. 2. We’ve asked some Galveston residents for their favorite vantage points and we have some recommendations of our own,
Most locals prefer watching the fireworks directly from the beach on the Seawall. Favorite spots mentioned include 37th and Seawall which is close to where the show originates. Restaurants with outdoor balcony areas, such as Nick’s Kitchen & Beach Bar, 3828 Seawall Blvd., and The Spot, 3204 Seawall, and Brick House Tavern, 3502 Seawall, are a good choice if you want to eat and enjoy the show. Visitors also enjoy watching the fireworks from The Rooftop Bar at The Tremont House (open to adults 21 and over) and Hotel Galvez & Spa guests can watch from the front lawn of the hotel.
Bonus Tip: Since The Rooftop Bar seating was expanded patrons now have a vantage point to enjoy Moody Gardens’ fireworks on Fridays and Saturdays through Saturday, Aug. 11. The show begins at 9:30 p.m. and is part of its weekly Bands on the Sand Celebration at Palm Beach. Admission to Palm Beach is $15/pp and includes live music, a lazy river and other beach fun from 6 to 10 p.m. The fireworks show is visible from Offatts Bayou and other dockside restaurants in that area. Number 13, 7809 Broadway, is an amazing vantage point for the fireworks.
https://www.discovergalvestontexas.com/travel-blog

Carlos Ponce

Where have all the fireworks gone, long time passing?
Where have all the fireworks gone, long time ago?
Where have all the fireworks gone?
Loved by tourists everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the tourists gone, long time passing?
Where have all the tourists gone, long time ago?
Where have all the tourists gone?
Left when fireworks were banned everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Paula Flinn

Good one, Carlos! I love the fireworks! At the end of the 37th Street pier, or jetty, they don’t bother wildlife. Those living close by should think about bringing their dogs inside for 5 minutes. I know that I go inside when I hear gunshots in my neighborhood on New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July! Now that is a more serious issue!
“When will they ever learn?”... that we are a tourist town. Still singing!

Wayne Holt

I hate to have to say it but this is a perfect example of the lack of logic and reasoning that has characterized much of the criticism leveled at those who SUPPORT traditional fireworks dates but OPPOSE the regular bombardment of neighborhoods and the pollution of the air, water and beaches that 14 consecutive Sundays poses.

Readers with an eye for the factual as opposed to the sensational should note the sentiment embodied in the line, "Where have all the tourists gone?
Left when fireworks were banned everyone."

That's right, fellow Galvestonians. We've been had. Nobody comes here to walk our streets filled with historic architecture, to kayak, canoe, surf and paddleboard in warm waters off beautifully maintained beaches. They don't come for the fantastic cooking served up all in the myriad island restaurants large and small. Tall ship Elissa in an historic waterfront setting, what a drag. Who needs world-class entertainment at The Grand 1894 Opera House or the finest collection of cowboy and Americana art and artifacts in the country at The Bryan Museum? Segway and E-Bike touring available for urban adventuring or the world's tallest watercoaster for the daredevils, creative arts on display in galleries and on public streets...and on and on and on. But none of it matters because as long as we have fireworks for five minutes on summer Sundays, we're gold.

This discussion needs to return to Planet Earth if we're going to make any headway in balancing ALL parties to this bargain we call the social contract.

Paula Flinn

Except for walking the streets looking at architecture or gallery art, everything else you mentioned for enjoyment in this town costs money. Even going to the beach costs parking money. Museums, tours, Schlitterbahn, Moody Gardens, Opera House performances, canoeing, and tall ship Elissa all cost money. The fireworks do not cost residents money or tourists extra money if they are already here. You can see the fireworks from hotels and residential neighborhoods for free! It is such a nice gesture for the Park Board to give us this, but instead of saying, “Thank you,” a small minority of people want to get rid of it. Maybe they could buy “quieter” fireworks.


LouAnn Nichols

👍

Wayne Holt

The following are FACTS and at least should be part of any discussion on this topic:

Chemicals recognized as potential carcinogens, respiratory irritants and aquatic food chain pollutants and bio-accumulants are thrown off by commercial fireworks displays; the sound blast is actually an air pressure wave, moving through neighborhoods at supersonic speed, which transfers TWICE the energy of the incident wave when it encounters buildings, in a pressure zone at the structure's surface; not one iota of statistically-valid confirmation was offered that identified Sunday summer fireworks as the economic driver that has been so casually attributed to it; new visitor numbers to Galveston have increased every since 2009 until 2017 WITHOUT summer Sunday fireworks; the second year of summer fireworks, rather than building on the first year's alleged popularity, actually saw a significant decrease in the revenue and occupancy count used to justify the economic success story...in other words, it only took one year for the novelty to wear off.

This is not about beating people over the head to win an argument. It is about having the maturity to be willing to use facts and data for the basis of our decisions and to understand that we do need to look at all sides of this question. Just holding the opinion, "I love fireworks" is a very thin reed to lean on since someone saying, "I don't" is equally valid.

Carlos Ponce

According to Smithsonian Magazine, carcinogens in commercial fireworks were replaced several years ago.You could pass a rule requiring commercial fireworks display to be carcinogen free.
Noise? Like the police/ambulance/fire engine sirens? Dogs howl whenever these sound. It bothers them. Are you going to recommend police/ambulance/ fire engines be SILENCED? Pets are bothered by them as well as thunder.
You can stop the fireworks and sirens but good luck on stopping thunder. They do sell sound-deadening 4 X 8 sheets at lumber yards in the area if noise bothers you.

Wayne Holt

"According to Smithsonian Magazine, carcinogens in commercial fireworks were replaced several years ago." Link please, so we can read that in context. The US Dept of Transportation provides a list of chemicals in their Table of Standard Fireworks Chemicals. It includes six barium compound variants, chlorinated rubber, nitrated asphalt, bitumen, pitch and tar, polyvinyl chloride, and four more long pages of other scrumptious ingredients. If the fireworks are Chinese in origin, they may well contain other, even worse, chemical constituents.

The other comments made are so obviously straw men they don't even need to be seriously challenged. Anyone of your intelligence comparing emergency services and natural phenomena to a scheduled public entertainment has to be putting us on. I've read your many other comments in the past and they normally rise well above that standard.

Carlos Ponce

I could easily provide a link but there's no convincing Wayne Holt. So why bother?
You'll just move on to the "noise" or some other excuse.

LouAnn Nichols

👍

Carlos Ponce

"Relaxing Music for Dogs to calm from Fireworks, loud noises - includes desensitising sound effect"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51LrVgWKTQE
"5 Hours of Music to Calm Down Dogs, Perfect During July 4th Fireworks"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC0VtqK6SIE
"10 Tips To Calm Your Dog During Fireworks This July 4th"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPhEe94-A7E
"July 4th - Relaxing Calm Music to Help Dog and Puppy anxiety from Fireworks, Bangs and Loud Noises"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6shjAYiD8fc

Paula Flinn

Momma lived to 98 years old, Grandmomms to 99. Neither one ever smoked cigarettes, though. Just stay all closed up in your Central air Conditioning! Close the windows and doors. Oh, they were closed and locked at 9pm, anyway. You hardly hear them if you are a few blocks away with your TV on.

Carlos Ponce

"Noise" on the island....
Not much "noise" when when Cabeza de Vaca landed here in 1528.
But in the early 19th century plenty of noise when Jean Lafitte arrived in 1821 with his multi-gunned corsair fleet. The United States sent a 12 gun schooner, the USS Enterprise, after him - more noise.
And the "noise" did not stop there. January 1, 1863 during the Civil War, two Confederate cottonclads, CS Bayou City and the CS Neptune commanded by Leon Smith, sailed from Houston to Galveston in an effort to engage the Union Fleet in Galveston Harbor, which consisted of USS Clifton, USS Harriet Lane, USS Westfield, USS Owasco, USS Corypheus and USS Sachem. When the USS Westfield was grounded on a sandbar, Union Fleet Commander William B. Renshaw ordered her destroyed to keep her out of Confederate hands. The explosives detonated early killing Union troops.
For the protection of Galveston, Battery Hoskins was built facing the Gulf at Fort Crockett with 3 - inch guns. Earliest reference is found in the August 3, 1925 Galveston Tribune. Small boats were warned with red flags when the guns were test fired daily in the 1930s. The 3 - inch guns were replaced with 12 - inch guns in 1942. More test and practice firings, more "noise".
What remains of Battery Hoskins can be seen at the San Luis Resort on Seawall Blvd..
So "noise" is a part of Galveston history with cannon, explosives, gun emplacements. But with fireworks on the island, no deaths. Celebrate Galveston history with a fireworks display!

Charlotte O'rourke

The one thing we should be able to agree on is: if one Galveston resident wants to go left, another one wants to go right, and still another wants to stay in the center, and still another to zig then zag.

As a resident, I personally like fireworks on the beach and at Moody Gardens but am willing to listen and compromise based on facts and economic factors. I hope the PB listens and researches as well.

One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and it’s important to check all the wheels. It’s important to determine the significance and number of complaints as well as the true cause. Many of the comments in the 83 signed signatures (103 total) with about 43 comments were that the money should go to other HOT projects like arts and downtown. And other comments requested a move or rotation in the firework location. At least one person was not a resident per the comments, and residency was not required for the petition. Many comments were against fireworks based on pollution issues.

Wayne Holt

Charlotte, your first paragraph is undeniable...so that's a good start. I respect and thank you for your open mind about this issue and for my part have publicly said if the science I have presented is clearly wrong, I will admit that and concede the point. We should be seeking honest answers and if that requires changing my mind, so be it.

You are correct about the petition comments; folks were offering ideas they felt met both the criteria for tourism draws and were beneficial to residents and the environment. Galveston residency was not required; that was a feature, not a bug. If we wanted a truly representative sample of opinion that reflected the effectiveness in meeting the stated goal of the funding--more tourists--both our petition and the comments made against it should have excluded any comment from islanders.

This point constantly gets lost in the shuffle; it was not, and is not now, a resident entertainment provided by the Park Board. It is a tourist development tool, one of considerable cost, that was vetted through the Tourism Advisory Committee to the Park Board. Obviously, anything done that residents enjoy in addition to increasing tourism is gravy but it has to pay for itself for it to justify scarce marketing funds being expended on it. Other factors like environmental impact have a place in the discussion, too.

Again, thank you for your take on this and for offering clear thinking on how we might move forward.

George Croix

It's certainly become popular almost everywhere for a tiny percentage of complaints, sometimes even just a single one, to override the wishes of all the rest.
We don't vote on every issue because we elect representation to make decisions for us based on what they, those we voted for, decide. Those reps need to make up their minds whether they vote for a majority or a minority of the population, and WHY they went with the squeaky wheel, rather than with all the other folks who built, paid for, loaded, and drive the carts....
IMO...as always....

Wayne Holt

Why does it seem next to impossible to discuss facts as opposed to impressions about this issue? 1) This isn't a popularity contest, George; it isn't a decision to be based on majority or minority of the population. It is based on what is a financially sound use of scarce tourism marketing dollars, always has been from Day One of this project. That would be $120,400 for a total of 140 minutes of local entertainment 2) The fact that it is repeatedly referred to in terms of entertainment for locals only proves that its mission has been completely obscured in the popular mind. 3) It doesn't make any difference if one or one thousand people point out that misunderstanding. If you call someone who points out misinformation a squeaky wheel, I wonder what you would call someone who makes a significant financial decision based on willful ignorance of facts?

George Croix

A fact, Wayne, was complaints about noise and upset pets. Hence the squeaky wheels minority vs majority, which was brought up by another poster, and preceded my followup.
But, it’s equally applicable to a shift to concern about use of funds vs concern for wanting the show to go on. In an official Council meeting or an individual editorial the subject is about whatever a speaker or author says. In an open forum with multiple inputs we gat a basket of mixed fruit, not just picked cherries.
Perhaps, though, concern for scarce funds will become more popular, and allow a longtime dependency city to get some control over its own future without constantly having to beg for outside assistance. Good luck with that..,.,

LouAnn Nichols

👍

Jarvis Buckley

Well here is an article that can be voted on & implemented.
Unlike the coastal barrier , that won't ever be voted on or implemented.

Connie Patterson

Fireworks over the Beach is a classic and I love them. We plan our Sunday evenings to attend and many of our guest have stayed a nite longer to see them. It’s fun and it’s free and families with young children take advantage of that. Fireworks over the Pleasure Pier are not always scheduled and Moody Gardens Fireworks are for their guest. So for 10 min a week for 10 -12 weeks is 90-120 minutes total...from a noise factor relatively minuscule compared with other noise making events like Mardi Gras parades, Biker Rally and traffic noise in general along the Seawall on a Saturday night. If someone is that sensitive to noise, just 10 minutes a week at 9:00 perhaps they should invest in a good pair of earbuds.
Connie Patterson

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