The Widder Curry Says: ‘They’re Fire Crackers – Not Fireworks!’

by on June 26, 2020 · 12 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Judi Curry

Within the past few weeks, Sunset Cliffs has become a more dangerous place to live than ever before.  Dangerous because of the noise and air pollution; dangerous because of possibility of more accidents, both “cliff-wise” and automobile wise; more dangerous because our first responders will not be able to fulfill their job because of the additional traffic on the road.  Yes, I am angry; upset, tired and irritated.

Let’s start with the new 4 way stop signs on the corner of Pt. Loma Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

I counted 29 cars stopped at the corner going north after the sunset yesterday.  Prior to that I watched people speed up once they passed the stop sign, going south to watch the sunset.  I watched people on motor scooters and bikes ignore the signs completely and just go through them while cars were making turns onto the same road as the riders.

I watched – and hoped – that there was not an emergency because if there was there would be no way that our first responders would have been able to respond because there was no place for the lines of cars to go. They could not have pulled over; chaos would have reigned.  But just because there were no accidents yesterday, I would be willing to wager that in a very short period of time there will be an accident, and the responders will be called, and it won’t be a pretty sight.

There is no question that that intersection is a dangerous one.  But in the 50+ years that I have lived here I am not aware of many accidents at that intersection.  If something is/was needed it should have been a signal, operational by a “pressure plate” so that it was not going on and off all the time.  As the summer progresses traffic is going to get worse; pollution will increase, and there will be many more incidents involving cars, scooters, pedestrians, etc.  I think that those stop signs should be removed – maybe the cement is still wet.  I shudder to think of the statistics at the end of October if they are allowed to remain.

And let’s talk about one other thing that has my blood boiling.

But… for the last 5 nights I have been woken up by the sound of fire crackers. Last night there were two groups of 5 starting at 12:45 am.  The night before there were fire crackers being shot off at 10:00 pm and again at 11:30 pm. The night before there were fire crackers at 1:00 am; the night before that there were so many that I cannot even begin to tell you when it started and when it ended.  And, to make matters worse, the people shooting off the fire crackers were all in a long limo that were “partying” in the first parking lot on the cliffs.  It almost sounded like, besides shooting them off in the lot, they were throwing them into backyards around the area.

And I want to make sure that people realize that, for the most part, these are fire crackers, not “fire works.”  In case you are not sure of the difference, here is the definition of “fire works” – “a device containing gunpowder and other combustible chemicals that causes a spectacular explosion when ignited, used typically for display or in celebration.”

For the most part this is NOT what is being tossed into the ocean, the street, the backyard by these party goers.  No. What they are throwing out are – again – fire crackers – “A loud, explosive firework, typically wrapped in paper and lit with a fuse.”  The basic difference, for those of you that aren’t quite sure, might be more helpful if stated this way:  “Some fireworks set off fountains of colored sparks for a visual display at ground level, others explode to make showers of colored sparks in the sky, some make noises. Firecrackers are small but loud fireworks that explode at ground level without any visual sparks. They are usually joined together in long strings.”

Firecrackers have no purpose other than to make noise!  And… both are illegal for private persons to have in San Diego.

(And let me add that this problem is just not Sunset Cliffs.  Many cities all over the United States are complaining about the same thing.)

And it just isn’t me that is upset, irritated, angry, etc, at this display of disregard.  For starters, people suffering from PTSD, particularly veterans, have flashbacks when they hear the sounds.  It brings back war memories.  Animals, particularly dogs, freak out when they hear the sounds and frequently manage to run away from their homes just to get away from the noise.  The 4th of July has more lost dogs than other time during the year.  And it is dangerous.  Let me tell you a true story:

It was my last year of teaching 6th grade in Chula Vista.  I was leaving teaching in the public school to become an Assistant Professor at San Diego State.  As a “graduation” gift to my class, I invited the entire class and their parents to my house for a swim party on July 4th with the thought that we would walk to the cliffs and watch the fireworks at the pier.  As the class arrived, the students were talking about their class president – Johnny – and how worried they were about him.  (He was an extraordinary student – excelled in all areas; a fantastic baseball player, etc.)  I asked what happened to him and it seemed that the night before he and a few of the students were shooting off firecrackers and he didn’t let go in time.  He blew off three of his fingers – on his dominant hand.  A 12 year old boy; maimed for life; because he wanted the excitement of shooting off a firecracker.

As I read more about firecrackers, I am not surprised to see that what happened to Johnny happens a lot.  And why? Can the thrill be that great that you are willing to risk losing a limb – or worse – to hear a lot of noise?  I remember watching people throw firecrackers at other people and they had to dodge them.  Why?

In tying together the 4 way stops and the traffic and the shooting of the firecrackers, I can only hope that our first responders will get to the victim fast enough to save their lives.  Better still, I would like to see those people with the firecrackers be caught and fined so that the rest of us do not have to suffer from sleep deprivation – or worse.



{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi Curry June 26, 2020 at 1:47 pm

I just came back from the post office only to see 3 scooters go through the stop sign, traveling south, just as a car on Pt. Loma Ave. was turning left onto Sunset Cliffs. He missed the scooters by inches. The ages of the riders – 20 or so. It’s an accident waiting to happen.


Allan Moser June 26, 2020 at 2:04 pm

Still bitter and unhappy I see. Hang in there.


Geoff Page June 26, 2020 at 3:12 pm

Still nothing but disagreeable and unhelpful I see Moser. How do you find the time?


jeffeck June 26, 2020 at 3:14 pm


Don’t worry, they will use Ebers and then Devonshire for the emergency vehicles if they cant get through… Doesn’t that make you feel better?

But then again so will the traffic that doesn’t want to be backed up at the sign. Not sure what the answer is except better law enforcement. The word is out about Sunset Cliffs and has been for a few years. This year it just got worse.


Polecat June 26, 2020 at 6:26 pm

The reduction in flights and the lack of motorcycles going to Cheswick’s biker bar has made the past few months the quietest and most peaceful since I moved here.


Scott June 26, 2020 at 7:12 pm

Thank you for sharing. I share your concerns on this matter.


Judi Curry June 27, 2020 at 12:24 pm

Thanks Scott. Last night there was partying going on well after 2:00am. The firecrackers began about 2:45am. It’s not going to get any better until the people that can make changes make them – restricted parking; restricted hours; tickets for opened containers; The Sunset Cliffs area has to be made undesirable after a certain time. And another scary thing – the partying didn’t stop until 5:00am. Then they got in their cars and drove home. Hopefully they did not harm anyone; any animal, or themselves, etc. It is just the beginning of the “tourist” season.


Peter from South O June 27, 2020 at 1:08 pm

Y’all do realize that the pyrotechnics are a Nationwide problem right now? Conspiracy theories are being spawned about the outbreak . . . well worth checking out the coverage in NYC. Imagine having a skyrocket detonate 25′ from your apartment window!


nostalgic June 27, 2020 at 1:49 pm

Myself not into conspiracy theories, but fireworks are mostly, if not all, made in China, their chemical manufacturing not meeting US standards.


Toby June 28, 2020 at 11:12 am

Jeffeck’s comment: “… the word is out about Sunset Cliffs,” accurately identifies the increase in activities due to social media. Regrettably, it is destined to become more active with the summer weather and events such as the Independence Day celebrations canceled. Neighborhood residents are likely to see more traffic, garbage, and streets and lawns used as out houses (remember the debacle from the bioluminescence?). Contact: Conrad Wear at the Mayor’s office to voice your concerns.


Kate July 8, 2020 at 1:50 am

We live on Devonshire and were just woken up to our entire bedroom walls and windows rattling during a round of 10 or so banging fireworks in a yard behind us. I have become so fed up with it that I started searching the web at this hour and found your post. We have already called the police once and nothing was done about a week ago. It was just so loud our windows shook and that is not an exaggeration. It was also terrifying. I can’t believe how frequently this is happening.


Judi Curry July 8, 2020 at 12:55 pm

Hi Kate. I live on Devonshire and Tivoli. Heard it all too. There were 20 firecrackers; the people shooting them off were parked in the first parking lot on SSC, and were aiming them at the houses on the street; not the ocean. (Perhaps that is why they were so loud.) Even though I am back one street from SSC, I saw – and felt – each and every flash. I was sure they were tossing them into my backyard. My dog was freaked out – still is today. I wrote a note to Jen Campbell’s office. I have talked to Josh from her office. I have suggested that we have a community meeting to look at this problem. (It will have to be a zoom meeting, which is too bad because not everyone will participate.) I also suggested that the parking lots be closed from 10:00pm to 4:00am, as they are in Pacific Beach. Of course everyone is coming here, because they can. I am as angry as I have ever been with people that are supposed to represent us, the community.


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