Editor’s note: Today’s guest editorial was written by Kelso City Council member Jim Hill. Editorial content from other publications and authors is provided to give readers a sampling of regional and national opinion and does not necessarily reflect positions endorsed by the Editorial Board of The Daily News.
Now that the strum und drang over fireworks has quietened; now that the distributors, sellers and users of fireworks have had their say, allow me to add the epitaph to this year’s effort to get common sense city fireworks codes enacted. (And once again failing miserably. I’ll sadly admit.)
Let’s reflect on something you might ought to know, namely, who is Ding Yan Zhong? Ever heard of him? I doubt it. So let me tell you who he is. Zhong is a very discreet Chinese businessman and billionaire. He’s a member of the Communist Party, you know, adherent of Marxism and Leninism. Holy cow a “Commie.” Yup, that’s right. I don’t think he’s a socialist — he’s all for keeping his wealth in his own pocket.
He’s also the individual whose empire in China and in the U.S. provides more than 70 percent of the fireworks, including the illegal ones bought by us good ol’, red-blooded Americans. He owns the plants that make them. He owns the trucks that haul them to the ships that bring them to the U.S. and he owns the wholesalers selling them to U.S. distributors. And he laughs all the way to the bank. He can and does raise the price of his product any time he chooses to do so and your dollars have made him rich. Very rich.
I’m sure he’s an ethical man. I’m sure the U.S. companies he owns comply with our laws. I’m certain, within reason, that his companies don’t contribute to political PACs or finance lobbyists to make certain fireworks stay available and our dollars continue to flow back to China. One last thing I’m sure of is that the distributors and sellers of fireworks would buy them from home-based manufacturers if they could. Too bad they can’t. Zhong put them out of business. He doesn’t have to comply with all the stringent rules and manufacturing safeguards U.S. folks have to follow. And he sells so cheaply, they can’t compete.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!