The Newport Beach City Council voted to remove the 60 fire rings from Newport’s beaches. This goes along with the village elders’ previous actions banning smoking on the beach and banning gas powered leaf blowers in our neighborhoods. I am so glad that the city council is watching out for my health. Otherwise I might already be dead.
Had the council not voted unanimously to save me from myself, I would never have known that I should not breathe smoke from my campfire as I roasted my marshmallows for my s’mores. So I took the family down to the beach last week to build a large fire for my s’mores. A last fling before it is outlawed.
Now, we have “new” information on the deleterious effects of smoke and the nanny sisters have acted. Plus as an additional bonus the “riff raff” will have to harass the neighbors without a fire, or go back where they came from a little earlier than planned.
Now what will the Boy Scouts do to teach fire safety? What will the local Persians do to celebrate Nowruz (Persian New Year) where jumping over a fire is a tradition? Again the elders are saying, “Not Welcome in Newport.”
Back in my Boy Scout days we used send the tenderfeet out on wild goose chases. One of our favorites was a “left-handed smoke bender”, which experienced Boy Scouts knew didn’t exist. Our invention was great fun. I was tempted to stand up before the Seven Wise (council)Men and Women and testify to the effectiveness of the Boy Scout invention, but I thought they might take me seriously.
As another columnist here pointed out, most people didn’t live here when the fire pits were installed. Most people purchased their homes knowing that the fire pits were on the beach, and that they produced smoke when used.
The city didn’t have to remove the fire pits, they could have voted for alternatives, such as enforcing its own rules? Why not enforce the curfew (10pm-6am), require permits, or remove the fire pits on a seasonal basis? But rather than actually enforce the city’s rules, our village elders decided that was too difficult and they are simply removing the rings of fire.
Now the city must ask the Coastal Commission for a permit to remove the fire pits. The question is whether the California Coastal Commission will allow “visitor oriented services” (i.e. keeping the fire pits) to prevail over this NIMBYism and environmentalism. I never thought that I would be rooting for the Coastal Commission over our City Council.