Several Orange County mayors met Wednesday in Santa Ana, at the invitation of Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, to discuss beach fire pits and go over new data from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is considering a ban on fire rings throughout Southern California, according to the Newport Beach Patch.
Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry, who wants to ban the fire rings in Newport Beach, and Huntington Beach Mayor Connie Boardman, who opposes banning the fire rings in her city, were both in attendance at this meeting, along with OC Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn Nelson, who serves with Pulido on the AQMD’s Board of Directors.
The Patch reported on the outcome of the meeting and what we can expect next:
Pulido will hold a meeting at Huntington Beach City Hall Friday night to solicit public comment on fire pits. It initially appeared the AQMD might decide the issue at a June 7 meeting, but that is likely to be rescheduled because Pulido and Nelson may be unavailable, Curry and Boardman said.
Boardman said Pulido told her the AQMD could have a special meeting later in June. If the AQMD ban is approved, it would affect beaches throughout Orange County and most coastal areas in Los Angeles County.
The Coastal Commission has a meeting scheduled in July in Ventura when commissioners may discuss the issue, Pulido said.
In related news, Assemblyman Curt Hagman weighed in on the fire ring debate too, as reported by OC Political:
Many residents, including my Assembly colleagues who represent the area, support local control that would allow beach fire pits to continue to exist. I believe it is a sensible solution that can satisfy everyone. Equally important, local control helps keep government closest to the people.
The AQMD is a powerful agency with little public oversight. The regulations that the non-elected board members propose can have far-reaching impacts on our economy that are often little-noticed by the public – unless they touch something as popular as beach fire pits. Making the District more transparent is a topic for another day.
The Board of Directors of AQMD will vote on the fire pits ban in June. I hope the board heeds the voices of people who support local control. Until then, we must continue to make our voices heard by letting AQMD know how we feel. We cannot let a small minority of extreme environmentalists and NIMBY activists take away a special part of California’s culture.