Newport Beach Council Asked to Ban Beach Fire Rings ... and I Couldn't Be Happier

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A divided Newport Beach Park, Beaches and Recreation Commission voted 4-3 Tuesday night to ban and remove fire rings from city beaches. A ban advocate told the panel exposure to smoke from the 60 rings can aggravate asthma, bronchitis and lung disease, and being a seasonal sufferer of at least two of those maladies I can relate. But that's not why I wouldn't be happier if the pits were verboten.

When one of my kids was still in high school, he met some friends at one of the 33 rings near Balboa Pier for a nighttime bonfire. None of them could drive, all having been dropped off after a school function. I drew the short straw to pick up my boy.

That was no easy task because it was pitch black out and most rings had groups surrounding them. Trudging from the parking lot, across the sand and to the first ring, I stopped to get my bearings. Standing there with my legs spread to maintain my balance, I twisted from side to side in a fruitless attempt to locate my son's party.

That's when I was confronted by a fellow possessing the unmistakable whiff of the 909. (Sorry, 909Jeff, he just did). Unshaven, wobbly and through beady, bloodshot eyes, he vomited something that sounded to my ears like, "Hey, blag gerf jeeg nooner fooshen!"

Whatever he was saying, he was quite agitated.

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"Uh, yeah," I replied, "I'm looking for more son."

Soon he was joined by what I assume was his Clampett cousin wife, and in between his "nergs" and "bloofahs," I could now make out what he was accusing me of: peeing next to the fire ring surrounded by the intoxicated couple and their poor kids. He went on to accuse me of being a pervert who got off whipping out his wang around children.

At one point, he started to make a move at me, and I imagined joining Johnny Cash in a burning ring of fire. I think my would-be combatant suddenly realized how blitzed he was and feared I would have an advantage.

"Look, buddy, I didn't whip out anything, and I didn't pee," I pleaded. "I just stopped here to look for my kid."

"Oh, I bet you're looking for a kid," chimed in his Rachel Dratch-lookalike wife. They both got louder and louder with their accusations, hoping I suppose that a peace officer of some kind would overhear them and swoop down to take me to the hoosegow. Would a cop believe my word against these two?

"We just try to come here, have a nice family day at the beach . . ." the dad nearly sobbed before his voice trailed off. His wife busily collected the chitlins, tattered blankets and the quarter-full Mountain Dew liter bottle and scooted toward a rusty old station wagon in the lot.

Left in a face-off with her hubby, and not recognizing any way this was going to end well, I then did what any proud, unjustly shamed, red-blooded American man would do: I removed my flip-flops, grabbed one in each hand and ran like hell toward the ocean and into darker darkness. It was there I practically had a head-on collision with my son, who bitched me out over how long it took me to arrive.

As we approached the lot, I could see the taillights and hear the popping muffler of the rusty wagon pulling away.

So, yeah, rip those godforsaken fire rings out, I say. There are plenty more in Huntington Beach, where you don't have to worry about any unanticipated run-ins with 909ish elements. They already live there.  


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43 comments
Been there and back
Been there and back

Just because you are the "entitled 949ers" doesn't mean that people from other areas are less fortunate than you.  You feel that your glass house is impenetrable just because you live near the beach.  You make sweeping statements that your encounter must have been the work of a couple from the "909."  I have seen drunk, ignorant people from all walks of life and alcohol favors no race or area code.  You people need to find true happiness in life without condemning those whose "downfall" in life is not living near the beach.

disco stu
disco stu

sooooo...you want to ban fire rings because you can't whip out your dick at the beach?

DanGarion
DanGarion

I still don't understand why you are happy about this.

Bill T.
Bill T.

I live where you can say good morning to a stranger and they don't run screaming from the crazy guy. This is more what I get out of the story, the folks who can't get past their paranoia in their dealings with others. The fire ring is obviously just an excuse to write the story, works for me.

Jjhcat
Jjhcat

I thought this was a left wing paper. What is it doing getting snobby about the less affluent 909?

Kevin Wagner
Kevin Wagner

You are such a tool for writing this.   Just because you have a bad experience you applaud NB for removing the fire rings?  I happen to enjoy going and having a bon fire every once in a while.  If you don't like the crowd then don't let your kid go there...  nah, that would be too logical.  Sorry, my bad.  This and no frisbees/footballs on the beach is what is wrong with America these days.

Tristar205
Tristar205

Sorry to learn a grown man would run away into darkness with his tail between his legs. Typical of Newport Beach though, all glass and no mass. Thanks for not visiting Huntington.

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

I also failed to mention that when I was in high school in the 909 when it was 714, a bunch of us ditched for a beach day (and night). We all passed out next to a Balboa Pier fire ring, only to be awakened by one of Newport's finest. Given the assorted, uh, glassware, and, erm, tobacco smoking gear (cough-cough), he could have busted us for being underage and over-intoxicated on the public beach. Instead, he politely suggested we sleep elsewhere lest we discover ourselves underwater from a looming high tide. Ah, those were the days. And, no, I still didn't pee next to the fire ring.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

So because fire rings at the beach may attract some "unsavory" elements they should remove all of them and ruin it for everybody else? Give me a break.

Rick
Rick

There's a real problem with getting rid of fire rings.  Just because the fire rings are gone doesn't mean people stop having beach fires.  Then people burn their feet from the hot coals left in the sand or cut their feet from glass or nails (from burning pallets).  Several beaches, like San Onofre, have had to put back fire rings after removing them.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Limousine liberal Coker, with the delicate constitution, wants to limit access to HIS beach. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

I do appreciate the shout out! And when we have our beach fire evenings its usually at HB... Mostly because until I was about 14 I lived about 2 miles up Beach Blvd from there and you go with what you know. Also you can park closer to the rings so you can go to your car to pound a beer.  

I'm guessing the person you had a run in with was, if in fact from the IE, actually a 951er.  Other than that my second guess would be any of the following five, Buena Park, Stanton, La Habra, La Palma, or Cypress

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

Unmistakable whiff of the 909? 

Am I to imagine you are referring to the super-dankydank chrypto-chron of the new millennium? 

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

That wasn't his tail between his legs. Coker is just a real man.

909Jeff
909Jeff

I think it was the bigger man that didn't instigate a fight with a drunk man and set a shitty example for his kid. 

But hey your response is typical of a flat billed hat wearing, Jacked up truck driving, koi fish tattoo having, HB meat head. 

All Balls No Brains! 

mitch young
mitch young

I'm a Reagan era kid, but my older siblings do seem to wax nostalgic about a mellower, less intense time.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Yeah but back in the 70's the cops were a lot cooler! 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Hey, they scare Coker...

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

Wait, the '01 Ford Ranger with the check engine light on because I can't afford to take it to a mechanic is actually a limo? Sweet!

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

The 951 is just an attempt to dissociate from the 909... kind of like when Valley Village decided they didn't want to be part of North Hollywood anymore.

mitch young
mitch young

Dude, diss the 951 all you want, but it has Temecula, which is better than anything the 909 has got, by a long shot. 

Tristar205
Tristar205

I don't believe there was any mention or implication to instigate a fight. Had it been I put in that position, I would have acknowledged that person and simply walked away without incident, and then report your concern to law enforcement. Yet, prepared to defend myself if need be. Kinda interested to know how you look at yourself in the mirror shaving, knowing that your spine has been reduced to twine. Good luck there feller hanging behind your make sift curtain. Peace out! 

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

 "But hey your response is typical of a flat billed hat wearing, Jacked up truck driving, koi fish tattoo having, HB meat head."

As an HB resident, I won't take offense because I see those types of guys all over the place. ;-) But I'd rather see a koi tattoo than an iron cross... =:-O

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

No shit! Back then, the cops would just dump out your baggy of weed. Ya go back 15 minutes later to pick up the buds.

Remember the midnight movies--Neil Young Rust Never Sleeps, Zepelin's Song Remains the Same--and you'd hear all the bong water bubblin' in the theater?

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

Don't worry the "check engine" light goes away eventually if you just ignore it...

909Jeff
909Jeff

I would agree except that the 951 is the Shittier area... 

The 909 took a dump and the 951 was created

909Jeff
909Jeff

Nope... the median income for a family was $80,836 in Temecula.

Claremont - the median family income was $107,287Diamond Bar - the median income for a family was $93,185Chino Hills - the median income family was $93,133Rancho Cucamonga - the median income for a family was $91,240Corona  -median income for a family was $88,620 (Eventhough this is in riversippi) 

The wines are marginal, but its fun to go tour the temecula valley in a party bus because you can act like a white trash drunk assshole and fit right in! 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Sorry to learn a grown man would run away into darkness with his tail between his legs.  Insinuates that your calling coker a coward for not standing his ground and fighting. 

 However if in fact you would do what you say than good for you and I stand corrected.

I wont take your insults personally... You were only responding to me

909Jeff
909Jeff

I dont mind their skanky girlfriends... Gotta have something to look at when I drink my Jameson... };-)

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

You're right, the (ahem) gentlemen you speak of (and their skanky girlfriends) have polluted the hell out of Main St....which is why I don't go there very much. =:-O

And leave it to those stupid Nazi's to sully the reputation of the iron cross the way they did the swastika, a very old symbol. :-(

909Jeff
909Jeff

C'mon Fish... You know the type that hang out at the bars on main street... Never met a fight they couldn't walk away from and are the reason why HB city council wants the bars on Main street to close early... 

And Hey, like i said I lived there til I was 14 went to Kettler Elementary (which is no longer a school from what I hear) and part of a year at Edison.  

That could've been me! 

And Iron crosses are very misunderstood... It was stolen from my Prussian forefathers by that dastardly Kaiser Wilhelm and then vilified by the Nazi's.  But the Iron cross was one of the highest honors that could be given to a Prussian soldier. 

Bill T.
Bill T.

Hm, same year my daughter was born (kills my wife when I call her "my" daughter he he he). Like I said, kids ;-)

Entirly non-pejorative, I am nothing short of in awe of the smart young folks in our office and despite appearances I'm not an entire dunce myself.

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

It was the funniest thing I'd ever seen, at least in that condition.

Bill T.
Bill T.

From where I'm sitting, anyone under 40 looks like a kid.

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

I'm guessing '76?

That was the scariest shit to date, at the time...

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

I recall rolling in the aisles to the original "Phantasm."

909Jeff
909Jeff

Yeah i was kinda taking a shot at coker for being old... I was born in the 70s... 

mitch young
mitch young

There's more to life than 'median family income', Jeff.

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