Fire Pit This!

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The first time I had the…uh…privilege of meeting former Councilman Don Webb when I was running for the Newport Beach City Council in 2006.  One of the first things that came out of his mouth, and I paraphrase, was, “What year were you born?”


“Well, I first came to Newport Beach in 1964, started working for the City in 1967, so why should a person like me vote for a person like you?”

Needless to say, that meeting didn’t go very well.

I mention this because, in my brief research, I’ve actually found something that pre-dates “Walking” Don Webb’s entrance into Newport Beach … but more on that later.

I’ve always found humorous how neighborhoods complain about stuff.  For instance, bars and partying has gone on for decades and decades on the Balboa Peninsula, yet every time the 4th of July comes around, or a bar – heaven forbid – an existing bar, wants to expand or improve themselves, the neighborhood stands up and starts complaining about the bars and the partying and the noise.

The Balboa Peninsula = noise.  It always has.  But people seem to forget this when they are looking for a house, and it isn’t until they’ve signed the escrow papers and walked outside on a warm summer night when – alas!  There’s noise!  And parties!  And kids everywhere!  Being loud!  Being Boisterous!  There are bars!  Oh my!  Bars everywhere!  Where were these bars when I was signing my escrow papers?

A quaint, albeit sticker-covered, taco stand wants to expand its dining room and BLAMO!  Noise!  Drugs!  Rock n Roll!  And … shhhhhhh … s-e-x …

Stuff that the Balboa Peninsula has been famous for, in all the history picture books, since the turn of the 20th Century, with the early bathing suit contests.  All forgotten once the last bit of furniture is moved in.

So in Corona del Mar, according to my crack research (an email to the City’s Public Info Officer), fire pits have existed since the early 1960s.  Not too far back (but before Don Webb, and probably before many, many of the Corona del Mar folks who are complaining about the them moved here.

Maybe?  And if you are one of the ones complaining about the Fire Pits, and moved in before the early ’60s, before the Fire Pits, then why are you finally complaining about it after 50 years?

But for the rest of you, did you not notice the large concrete circles in the beaches before you moved here?  All 30 of them?  OK, if you moved to Corona del Mar in the winter, maybe not, but how about the thousands and thousands of folks (Mexicans, as former Councilman Dick Nichols declared) who go to Big Corona Beach and light up the night with 100 foot tall bonfires?  Must have missed them too, huh?

It’s like déjà vu all over again, because after a nice little slap down in 2009 when now-Mayor Nancy Gardner suggested banning Fire Pits, Gardner brought the issue up again in late 2011 for the Parks Beaches and Recreations Commission to study, and study they did as they voted, somehow, 4-3 to ask the Newport Beach City Council to remove the City’s 60 (total) Fire Rings.

Banning Fire Pits.  Wow!

Everyone and anyone who has ever gone to the beach as a youth has burned their hands at least once on the glowing red coat hangers right?  It’s part of growing up.  I myself spent many evenings during my Vacation Bible School days (yes I was a religious teen) at the Fire Pits in Corona del Mar praying with my fellow religious teens and wishing that I had used my t-shirt to grab that wire hanger instead of my bare hands.

I have a sneaking suspicion that many of the folks who oppose the Fire Pits secretly wish that a fence would be built around the entire Village so that no one would use the beaches, no one would make extra noise, and no one would make extra smells.

After all, they are complaining about something that has existed since probably before they moved into Corona del Mar, probably even before the glorious Don Webb moved into Newport Beach.

They also are complaining about something that the California Coastal Commission will also have to sign off on – and good luck on that.

What’s next?  Banning Frisbees and Footballs on the beach? Oh wait, Los Angeles County beaches have already done that. Shhh … don’t want to give our Nanny Newport Beach City Councilmembers any bright ideas, right?

Take a picture people.  The Newport Beach you know and love is being banned, one fire pit at a time.


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  1. Mr. Wu,
    I too agree it is ridiculous to even consider banning the fire pits. In addition to wild teens enjoying the beach pits, thousands of families such as mine enjoy them too. Unfortunately, gov often makes poor decisions on behalf of the people they serve. They seem to always be a step behind with the desires of those they are meant to actually serve. Mrs. Gardner needs to lighten up and be proud of one of the very unique features her town has to offer, and realize those pits are a huge vacation draw to so many families that want to come enjoy the beach culture. What is a summer if you do not get to have at least 1 beach bonfire with hot dogs and marshmallows? Hopefully the council will reconsider the issue and see the jewels in the sand for what they are.

  2. Its the fake mentality of the “quality of life” ex-environmentalists radical leftists! A duck is duck!
    It is a relief that one of our oldest locals (way before Mr wonderful WD) has two big banners with “Save the Fire Rings” hanging from his three lot custom home. Thanks Howard!!! you rock! Now if we can just get the newbies in “New Newport” (Newport Coast & most on the hill) to keep to the new part and leave the original beach part alone with that nasty idyllic nicky-picky HOA crap. Looks like Newport Beach will have a “Old Town – New Town” feel after the new city hall opens its doors. Thank the Irvine Company’s mentality, for claiming Fashion Island as the Newport Center.
    Are we in Irvine or what?