Typically the boom of Fourth of July fireworks are accompanied by the impressed “Ooh”s and “Ahh”s of proud Americans.
But in Poway, they were accompanied by complaints.
Disappointed spectators shrugged off the unusually lackluster firework show based at Poway High. Some attributed the display’s sparseness and brevity to recent budget constraints.
Poway’s recreation department, which hosts the fireworks show, has seen a dramatic decrease in funds. In 2008-09, the department operated with over $1 million. This year, the department proposed a low $403,901. The changes were visible this year, some Powegians said.
The contraints were felt in other areas as well.
"My family went to Santee and we were a bit disappointed" said Trisha Heth Jones in a Facebook comment. "We've been to this fireworks show several times and this year was definitely lacking compared to previous years."
City budget constraints have been a roadblock to many Fourth of July firework shows. The shows, which tend to cost up to $60,000, have appeared on the chopping block at city council meetings throughout San Diego.
In 2009, the Oceanside City Council voted to end their $40,000 fireworks display. Chula Vista also decided not to display fireworks in 2007. The show would have cost $50,000 in private donations.
Prior to the holiday weekend, the environmental concerns of local activists threatened to snuff out fireworks in cities such as La Jolla.
Although a judge allowed the show to stay, the debate over whether fireworks negatively impact water quality may have quelled private support for some festivities.
Lake Murray, for instance, cancelled its annual Fourth of July music festival due to a lack of funding. John Pilch, The event’s organizer, told LaMesaPatch.com said that the environmental controversy may have scared away donations to the event.
“We don’t have seals and sea lions, but we have ducks; we have birds,” Pilch told Patch, referring to the wildlife that Encinitas attorney Gonzalez seeks to protect with a challenge to fireworks under state environmental laws.
However, despite the disappointment in Poway, most San Diegans are still dazzled after other fireworks displays around the county.
NBC San Diego asked its Facebook followers if any fireworks show disappointed them this year.
Mark LaBlanc said the fireworks at the San Diego County Fair were “wicked awesome.”
Samantha Cazales-Hartley said, “The Santee fireworks were awesome! My two-year-old kept yelling ‘Mom cool! Mom awesome!’ It was a great night.”