Enough picking on Californians; it’s Washington’s turn

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True or False:

1. Upward of 30,000 people gather in Coeur d’Alene every Fourth of July for the fabulous fireworks display on Lake CDA.

2. The fireworks display is relatively short — under half an hour — but boy, does it pack a punch, with lively changes of pyrotechnic pace and an incendiary climax that leaves crowds breathless.

3. Duane Hagadone pays the $25,000 or so for the July 4 fireworks display.

4. Spokane residents, teetotalers all, pay the $25,000 or so for Coeur d’Alene’s July 4 fireworks display.

OK, let’s see how you did.

True. True. False. False.

The trues are pretty easy. Big crowds, short but mule-kick powerful fireworks shows.

The first false, that the guy who owns The Coeur d’Alene Resort, this newspaper, a bunch of restaurants and other real estate, is a falsehood that refuses to die. Perhaps that’s because the Hagadone family does foot the bill for the fantastic fireworks show the day after Thanksgiving every year, and the ringing in holiday revelers’ ears prevents them from thinking clearly when July 4 rolls around.

As for the second false, we only wish it were true.

Like locusts, waves of Washington license plates descend into Kootenai County every Independence Day. Hey, it’s a free country, right? And to many of these visitors, “free” is the operative word.

Several years back, we editorialized that maybe toll booths should be set up at intersections leading into downtown CDA. Drivers heading toward the lake while brandishing those distinctive white plates would be required to shell out a shekel or two, their required contribution to defray the cost of fireworks and cleanup. A civil libertarian and a distant relative of an offended Spokanite objected vehemently to our modest proposal, but otherwise, locals loved the idea. Unfortunately, it has not caught on.

So here we are roughly a week from the big bang, and the fireworks fund raisers at the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce have miles to go before they sleep. If you can donate, call the Chamber: 208-664-3194.

Feel free to also suggest they set up toll booths.

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