Are People Who Want to Ban OC's Beach Fire Rings Racist?

Categories: Environment

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When we first started to cover the issue of NIMBYers trying to have OC's beach fire pits banned, friends immediately cried racism, pointing to the legendary incident last decade that found Corona del Mar councilmember Dick Nichols claiming there were too many Mexicans occupying the neighborhood's grass near the beach. For once, I dismissed the gabacho card: Corona del Mar people hate ANYONE who doesn't live there, regardless of color.

But as an epic meeting at the Diamond Bar headquarters of the South Coast Air Quality Management District gets ready to rumble mañana, it's time to examine the issue, especially with the people who created this mess in the first place: Corona del Marens (Marites? Maranians? Coroners?). In the beginning of last year, they wrote letters to the Newport Beach Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Commission urging the removal of Corona del Mar's fire pits. And while most of the requests claimed health, more than a few claimed in coded language that minorities were messing up their pristine beaches.

Here are a sample of the letters sent, followed by our commentary:

"...I understand that historically they have provided family fun and barbecues. However, now, they attract gangs, crime, drugs and most importantly are a health hazard to local and non-local residents..."

--Tom and Jill Schriber

We understand that the fire rings still provide family fun and barbecues. And Gangs, crime, and drugs has been attracted to everything since Cain met Abel.

"Unlike normal beaches, having fire rings allow these visitors to stay into the dark hours. I cannot say crime is increased, but it makes it easier when there is darkness to commit such acts. The correlation is that if we did not have fire rings, people would be far less likely to stay around the beach after sunset and therefore there is less possibility of crime."

--Justin Edson

The correlation here is that if we banned nighttime, therefore there is less possibility of crime.

"Years ago the fire rings were populated by families roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. Today I see a minimal use by families and a surge of young adults trying to leap over the roaring bonfires as a passage of manhood."

--Tod and Peggie Parrott

What they're unwittingly describing is the fire-jumping part of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. After my initial story, many of my Persian friends said that the ban effort was directed at them, since they go down to Corona del Mar every year to partake in the fire-jumping. It's progress: for once, the brown-skinned people that Newporters hate aren't Mexicans!

"The fire rings attract individuals who are involved in gang activities and their sole purpose is to cause trouble including fights requiring police response."

--Daniel J. Leonard

This comment is probably the most illuminating. Leonard wrote in his capacity as president of the Breakers Drive Homeowners Association, which means his thoughts represent the thoughts of nearly everyone on Breakers Drive (the neighborhood closest to the fire rings in CdM). Just like the Schribers, Leonard claims there's now an uptick of gang members without offering any proof of increased crime, or that they somehow are keeping good families away. And last I checked, cholos have every right to toast S'mores on the beach like the rest of us.

I'm sure there are many, many more examples buried in the public comments section of previous Newport Beach City Council and AQMD meetings (and just read the comments left on other news organizations that have covered the case), but the above examples suffice. I still maintain class is the main issue at hand--Gustavo not crying bigotry for once? Progress!

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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66 comments
krobinson20
krobinson20

In regards to walking up and down the streets of CDM and forcing your presence on people who live around there, what a waste of time!  Pick another beach to go to like Huntington, there is plenty of room there for all!  The more we do things like this person suggests the farther we make the divide in between us all.   Quit forcing yourself upon everyone!

krobinson20
krobinson20

I'm with Danigirl949!  Yes, there are rich people that think those are "their" beaches and we all know they are not,  BUT; if the people that went to use them used them for the right reasons like barbecuing etc, instead of going to them to drink and fight etc. and leaving their trash and bottles all over then they wouldn't have as much to complain about. That is one of the problems with certain ethnic groups, they think they can use numbers to overpower citizens that pay taxes to keep up their cities and communities and that if they just out number them they can do anything they want anywhere they want.  If people didn't ever abuse the fire pits and took care like it was their neighborhood  this issue probably wouldn't have ever come up!!!!

I don't know but if I take a ride to Santa Ana I bet I see graffiti all over the walls and trash and crime everywhere. It was like that 20 years ago. If you want to live that way that's your community (well it is now) but don't expect everyone else to want to live like that! 

The issue of air quality is just an acceptable reason to get all the community thrashers out of their communities!!!  Quit pushing your ideas and culture and way of living down everyone else's throut, Americans still have some things that are dear to them, even if it doesn't  involve tortillas!  Learn to act normal and follow the rules and then there won't be people trying to get rid of anyone!! .  nuf said! 

bigblobber710
bigblobber710

Well if they get rid of the pits I say to all my Latino,  Persian, and economically challenged brothers and sisters, its time to start a new tradition, get as many friends and family as we can together and go to the beaches of Corona Del Mar, walk up and down their streets singing ethnic, and Kid Rock songs. Drink Kool-Aid, eat corn cobs on a stick, and other foods they find offensive(pack it in pack it out). They think they own the beaches, well we can show them who owns the streets. -D.W. Urban Libertarians   

tomgarcia350
tomgarcia350

why do white people think that they only feel uncomfortable around mexicans or in your term "hispanic" i feel the same about YOU. Becaues i know what your thinking when you see me... YOU ARE SHOLLOW PHONY RACIST that i dont want to be around i like real people...And if you hate mexicans so much,why are all your streets in spanish 

Jerry Vazquez
Jerry Vazquez

Hey go there rasa and walk around that pisses them of to. then start 20 little fire pits.

949girl
949girl topcommenter

I don't necessarily think the proposed ban is due to racism as much as I think it's more of a socioeconomic status thing.  Some people with a certain level of wealth or status may feel like they own the beach or are more entitled to use the space because they bought an expensive home close by, have more money or are a "better" person.  Just because you own a home doesn't mean you own the beach and get to decide who is worthy to use it.  And of course anyone who doesn't measure up to their standards.  But I'll be a hypocrite here and state that I do get really annoyed when the 909'ers come out with their obnoxious behavior.  I don't think they should be banned but can they please go park their lifted truck somewhere else?! 

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

There's nothing wrong with not liking someone or being a racist. I don't like 90% of the people I see at beach fires and the smoke bothers me. What is wrong is this notion that because I don't like something, i'm going to restrict others. Same goes for the idiots trying to ban plastic bags, Walmart, hunting, large sodas, etc etc. If you don't like something then don't do it. If you don't like walmart then don't shop there and if you don't like beach fires then close your damn windows and turn on MSNBC you libtard jerks.

Dawn Ramirez
Dawn Ramirez

That reminds me of that scene from that movie that sort of good spoofs em'n'em and has a rich boy character like if he'd have been a rich boy... he complains to his new friends about people being on his beach as a sore spot... one of our Watsonville youth cracked up so hard at that scene, the counselors were stunned smart.

dtakeda1
dtakeda1

People who live along the beach think they OWN the beach.  Getting rid of the rings would be one less reason for "tourists" to go there.  Keep the rings.  

STOPTHERECONQUISTA
STOPTHERECONQUISTA

why is opposing gangs racist? please begin your reply with 'opposing gangs is not racist, but...'

Denise Mello
Denise Mello

That is one of the stupidest rationales I've ever heard.

John Dennis
John Dennis

I know that I always loved going to the beach after dark. I always went to area's that did not have fire pits and never had issues.

Patrick Coakley
Patrick Coakley

No, they just do not like poor people. It's a class thing, not a race thing.

Roberto Rico
Roberto Rico

They've been trying to keep La Raza out of the U.S. for a while now. not to worry. lol

JV Joaquin Vazquez Jr.
JV Joaquin Vazquez Jr.

Ridonkeylous. Got to agree with Julian, SoCal beaches have always attracted la Raza. But that has always been the case for decades. We come with the package, deal with it or move cabrones.

Eric Enciso
Eric Enciso

Since Raza commutes from further out, they tend to make a day of the beach. If they start banning ice coolers and early 90's Ford vehicles, then the raza is really screwed.

Jose Bermudez
Jose Bermudez

Wasn't this an old episode of CHiPs with Panchito Gomez?

Julian Ponce
Julian Ponce

First, I favor the term, 'Corona del Martians'. What bullshit! People have always cooked over fires on the beach as far back as I remember and that goes back to the 50's! These opponents are the same kind of neurotic, upper middle-class, yuppie scum who see mortal danger in flip-flops, music from ice cream trucks and the bacteria in cat shit (all articles from just the past week). And the idiot implication that suddenly a bad crowd has taken over the beach! The beach has ALWAYS attracted a questionable crowd, and always will, so try as they may these twerps aren't going to turn OC beaches into a Barbie & Ken look-alike parade. Some 50 years ago there may have even been a group of ruffians burn a dead seagull in a fire ring while they were smoking weed! That's a story I think I heard about somewhere....... ;-)

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

Don't the beaches of Rosarito allow bonfires? Perhaps these festive folk would be happier there.

Joe Pinney
Joe Pinney

Eat the rich. No, I mean literally. Turn them into hot dogs, and cook those rich people hot dogs over a fire ring at Huntington Beach, and eat them. Yum yum.

Martin Gilbert
Martin Gilbert

@JA typical cover 4 rascism, sacastic Q‘s!!!!!

Martin Gilbert
Martin Gilbert

I loVe CDM, I respect and just dO MY WorkOUTS, ignore DA LOOKS, excp, da HoteeZ. So yes Prejuidice has A Factor

Alberto Luna
Alberto Luna

They tried to pull the same BS in Malibu & Santa Barbara

Changoleon Trotski
Changoleon Trotski

did they notice that their fire places burn more wood than those fire pits?

DaniGirl949
DaniGirl949

It has nothing to do with “race”, let’s be ‘real’ here and stop with the BS on pulling the race card, it gets old. It has everything to do with the fact with people respecting the beach & city, be it may NB or CDM or any other city (regardless if you’re from the 909. 714. 213. 323. 858, so on and so on). If you can’t play fair, respect our beach(s), our city and residence, leave your thug mentality at home, pick up your trash, then it’s all good… If you can’t be a stand up normal fricken citizen, guess what….. you’re not allowed to play in the sandbox (no pun). If you get out of hand, the NBPD is on top of everything and it’s just a matter of time, before you’re on your way out of town. It’s that simple! Gotta fight fire with fire-pits…LOL

Matthew Brian Jones
Matthew Brian Jones

Translation: We paid lots of money not to have to be near "these" people. Having them around in the daytime is bad enough.

Dennis Sam S
Dennis Sam S

I over heard a conversation that a CDM lady was complaining about too many "Black People" living in Corona Del Mar.

Peyton Farquhar
Peyton Farquhar

Sounds like the uber wealthy boomers of Corona del Mar need a waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaambulance.

René Bruce
René Bruce

Yes they are, they think that only people with lots of $$$ should enjoy the beach ! CDM isn't that great a beach to be honest.. HB is much as is NB CDM is rocky etc.. Aimee Dana PT beaches and that stretch south is way better then CDM ;0) I wouldn't bother driving up if I were you !!!

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

Liberal envirotards. Same people who want to ban smoking on beaches because of their precious wittle lungs. Same people who want to ban plastic bags because some stupid sea otter gets stuck in one. First they came for the smokers, then they came for the drinkers now they're coming for you. 

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@Alberto Luna Seattle and the UK too they did this. Buncha global warming loonies and NIMBY types. 

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@DaniGirl949 You're a moron. It's not your beach nor is it the residents of Newport/Corona whatever. I'm calling you a troll come to think of it. Not a bad one either. But on the 1% chance you're being sincere you can frigg off. I'm gonna pour some used motor oil on your stupid beach and I don't even like bonfires (they bother my lungs when i'm cycling the boardwalk but i'm not gonna make everyone stop because of me). 

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@vegandawg23 Actually, Corona del Mar is as GOP as it gets—but why bother with facts?

DaniGirl949
DaniGirl949

@vegandawg23 And if you read my post more closely, you would see I am for keeping the firepits you dork!

DaniGirl949
DaniGirl949

@vegandawg23 Nice to see I got your panties in a twist! If anyone is a moron it's you! Firepits have been around for a gazillion years.. I don't know anyone whom has died from 2nd hand firepit smoke. And yeah it is our beach, just as big bear mountian is a mountian and playground to those in big bear, if you can't figure out the big picture in all that, then you're more of a moron then I thought! Go eat a hamburger!

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@GustavoArellano @vegandawg23 Here's another from a vegan health nazi. "There's a lot of studies that definitely show that wood smoke, as well as just particulate matter in general, are very harmful to health," Fine said. "There's people living very close to these fire pits who tell us that they have smoke in their house, that they have respiratory problems, and this causes them to aggravate those respiratory problems." 


You really thing republicans are sitting around smoking cigars and eating donuts going "Let's get rid of those fire pits. Darn kids." No it's the enviro nuts. It's always the enviro nuts around here. 


vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@GustavoArellano @vegandawg23 Here's some facts Gustavo: "One fire pit burning one night, a few hours, a couple bundles of wood, emits as much as one average diesel truck on the road today driving over 500 miles," said Dr. Philip Fine, of the Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD).

Sounds like global warming libtards to me. 


DaniGirl949
DaniGirl949

@vegandawg23 I think the smallest thing here is between your legs. Again, it's clear reading is not your thing. Take care.

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@DaniGirl949 @vegandawg23 Your initial post made absolutely no reference to your position on whether to keep the firepits. I'm not trying to insult you little girl. Just stating facts. 

DaniGirl949
DaniGirl949

@vegandawg23 

Clearly you don’t read or comprehend words very well. If you clearly read my first post, before jumping in and spouting off (as it seems to be the only thing you’re good at), you would see that I am in agreement to not remove the fire-pits. You might want to go back and read that line again; slowly, so you can take hold of it properly.

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@DaniGirl949 @vegandawg23 Obvious troll is obvious. Living close to a particular natural resource doesn't give you any more rights than people who live further away. That is a National Forest those Big Bear types live in and us flatlanders have just as much right to go up there and fill our pickup trucks full of snow as anyone. Smoke bothers me and makes me cough. I didn't say I would die from it. You read about as well as you write apparently. I'm not an Obama voter so I don't think they should be banned just because they bother me. Your craphole beach community (one of em did, tried to goto trader joes and it was full of those losers who bring their own bag)also saw fit to ban plastic bags as well. 

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@GustavoArellano Again even if they did, they're using envirotard arguments that they would not be able to use were it not for liberals. Don't you get that? Look for dis-confirming evidence Gustavo. You're a journalist. I bet you won't have to look hard to find dozen enviros that think banning fires is good for the environment and support this measure fully. Who started it is not at issue. I can start a petition to ban anything. If it gets traction then it's not entirely my doing.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

Again: it was rich GOPers who started all this--but don't let facts get in the way of your stupidity!

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