Pro-Business? More Jobs? Mayor Greg Fischer’s veto of the Metro Council’s fireworks ordinance makes little sense.
Fischer, knowing that the Council’s new legislation allowing the sale of bottlerockets and Roman candles to be sold around here would allow new businesses to open, hid behind the idea that the inherent danger was too great. Did he account for the fact that residents living in, say, David Yates’ District in Valley Station could drive a couple miles to Bullitt County to get them?
No, Fischer said he was siding with his public safety officials in opposing the sales: “My first priority as mayor is to make sure that all of our citizens are safe. I agree with the police, fire, EMS and other members of our city public safety team that this ordinance is a threat to the safety of our citizens and unnecessarily exposes property and our firefighters to potentially dangerous situations,”
It was a surprise and disappointment to Councl members, like Yates, who said he knew of at least one entrepreneur in his district ready to invest $23,000 in opening a retail business.
“I knew it was a possibility,” Yates told me. “We had been working on this a long time. I thought we should be business-friendly and not full of red tape. It’s silly to make regulations and controls when you have no intention of enforcing them.”
Fischer’s decision to defy the Council and dismiss their work won’t save any lives. But it will restrict business in Metro. Restricting business in the interest of protecting the public is almost always a bad idea (see Metro’s nude dancing ordinance), especially when the activities are voluntary and harm no one, and if the supposed vice is available across the street.
For those who want to buy a Roman candle for the Fourth of July, it just means driving a few miles over the county line.