ROHNERT PARK, Calif. (KRON) – A garbage can filled with fireworks was set off in front of a North Bay city official’s home.
Rohnert Park City Councilmember Willy Linares shared these pictures of the vandalism from Sunday night.
In a special city council meeting Tuesday night, Councilmember Linares says he believes this vandalism is retaliation for his stance on fireworks and was also racially motivated.
The councilmember has been on board with banning fireworks here in Rohnert Park and he says this fire was a way to intimidate him and his family.
The fight over fireworks in Rohnert Park now involves vandalism and possible racism.
Councilmember Linares found this trash can burning and filled with fireworks at his home — A neighbor alerting him to the horrifying discovery.
“My heart sank and I yelled out in anger and frustration. On Sunday night, there was a crime committed. Someone tried to send me a message and someone tried to intimidate me,” Linares said.
Linares has been on board with other city councilmembers to ban fireworks in Rohnert Park.
The city even canceled a 4th of July fireworks show this year.
One of the biggest concerns has been the potential of sparking a wildfire in the area’s extremely dry land.
But the councilmember says this act of vandalism goes beyond protesting over pyrotechnics.
“If you look deeper this has much to do with the color of my skin. The type of anger that manifests this type of hate is not related to just fireworks,” Linares said.
The only other person of color on the city council, Vice Mayor Jackie Elward, echoed those sentiments.
She too says her family has faced threats over banning fireworks.
“No one should feel unwanted in our community. Whether they move here last week or have been here for 60 years,” Elward said.
Mayors across Sonoma County have shared their support for Councilmember Linares jointly calling the fire “cowardly.”
Linares hopes this terrible act will reopen the conversation over race in Rohnert Park.
“If you’re convinced that this is a coincidence and want to wave it off, call me crazy. I invite you to live a day in the life of someone with less privilege,” Linares said.
The decision over banning fireworks in Rohnert Park will be up to the voters in September.
The police department is still investigating this fire.