One of the sadder but interesting stories in Orange County over the last few weeks is the battle that’s about to get serious between the beach property owners in Newport Beach, backed by their Republican Mayor, and the city of Huntington Beach. The socialist environannies at the South Coast Air Quality Management District are in the middle of this as well and issuing edicts that don’t require legislation to enforce some pretty drastic restrictions on our freedom.
The You Tube embedded above is Chris Epting, a columnist for the Huntington Beach Independent
(an LA Times local weekly) speaking with the Real Orange news readers yesterday on PBS SoCal (KOCE, Channel 50). Epting is a well-known local historian as well — his work on Orange County points of interest and historic photo collections is published and available via Amazon and locally at Barnes & Noble. Here’s his recent column on Newport’s move, with the AQMD’s powerful help, to remove fire pits from EVERY beach in California: Banning fire rings is overreach.
Huntington Beach clearly got blind-sided by their neighbor city, and the street’s saying the real reason behind the attempted ban are a handful of wealthy NBers who want the grimier, mostly human “element” the fire pits draw off their beach. The smoke in the wind argument hasn’t been proven by the AQMD, and according to Epting, they haven’t even done any testing. I liked his arguments on television about the economic impact that shutting down the pits would have on HB, particularly since they have no homes fronting it and they encourage their use by anyone (especially if they pay to park). His writing was also very romantic about a collection of lovable charred holes in the ground:
My hunch is that first it will be the fire rings at the beach. Then the ones in backyards. Then it will be barbecues. Because this is how it starts, this sort of encroachment we’re seeing all over the country today with bureaucrats deciding what is right for us, trying to impede life’s little pleasures and freedoms, one step at a time…to be huddled around a fire like that with family and friends goes beyond just beach-town ritual. It is like a sacred tribal gathering — primal and powerful. It is how our culture evolved. Cooking your food over fire. Huddling with those you love. Basking in the glow and warmth while an ocean thunders nearby. In an increasingly sterile world, one micromanaged and oppressed by growing interference, coastal fire rings provide a refreshing, rugged dose of “leave us the heck alone.”
And he’s right about the AQMD’s nanny-tendencies and long-term strategies — this is nothing compared to what they’re doing to local and regional businesses and how their impunity eats away at our freedoms. An unelected group of nerds like this AQMD bunch, along with CARB, presents more long-term danger to us than the Democrats in the Legislature, Governor Moonbeam and RINO Mayors like NB’s Keith Curry who’s wealthy and powerful supporters that have lived with the fire pits for generations. We can’t unelect AQMD or CARB.
One other item is of interest here — I’m sure we can count on the entire Huntington Beach City Council to unite (for once) in opposition to the potential loss of these lucrative beach attractions. The liberals’ interest is more in revenue than our freedoms, but anything will do right now. The economics are clear, and after all, they’ve been accustomed to the beach “element” which for years has been frequenting and often thrown out of their downtown bars. But what’s NOT tolerable in the arguments they’ll make against the AQMD nannies is their own hypocritical nanny position on banning plastic grocery bags. The liberals on the Council like Joe Shaw will whine and moan about this attack on their rights as a city, but they’ll turn right around and defend this nonsensical, childish plastic bag ban as being a good thing for their residents (and Devin Dwyer’s boat motor), despite its impact on local businesses. You can’t have it both ways, Joe.