La Jolla fireworks show in limbo after city rejects permit

Local

LA JOLLA, Calif. – The battle over a La Jolla fireworks display could continue into Friday with organizers scrambling for a new location after the city denied their permit for La Jolla Cove.

A San Diego judge dismissed a temporary restraining order against the organizers filed by an animal rights organization because a permit was never issued for it. Event organizers say the city is requiring them to obtain a specific permit for the display, which they have not had to obtain in the past 33 years.

“We were informed by the city that we would have to get a coastal development permit to get the park permit,” said Jack McGrory, one of the fundraisers for the La Jolla Cove fireworks show.

The last time a fireworks show was held at La Jolla Cove in 2017, there were no issues, McGrory said.

“As far as I am concerned, this is an incredibly arbitrary and capricious decision by the mayor’s office, city attorney and by the Coastal Commission,” he said.

Bryan Pease, an attorney for Animal Protection and Rescue League, which sued the organizers, says this permit was never required in the past due to prior city leadership.

“Now elected officials are realizing that people do not want the marine habitat being trashed,” Pease said, “and we have actual responsible leaders who care for the environment and are willing to stand up for it.”

Pease argues that marine life has thrived in the four years since fireworks shows stopped happening at the cove. Having one there this year potentially would destroy that, he said.

“La Jolla means ‘the jewel,'” Pease said. “It’s called that for a reason. It’s a very rich ecosystem and it’s a beautiful environment and having fireworks there would be detrimental not only for the marine mammals but for the birds and other wildlife in the area.”

Event organizers say they are discussing alternative locations to launch fireworks in La Jolla.

Deborah Marengo, a La Jolla business owner and event organizer, says local businesses need this show to help make up for revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On the property that we are standing on right now, there is going to be a party with 600 tickets sold,” Marengo said, “and those people are going to have no fireworks because our mayor is saying he cannot support this show any longer.”

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