Editor: We’ve asked one of our local commenters, bodysurferbob, who has a strong opinion about OB’s fire rings, to do a rant for us. He thinks that if they go, part of beach culture dies. We’ve posted earlier articles about threats to surf culture , plus we’ve covered how the fire rings and pits were saved last year, and how this year the California Coastal Commission is requiring the City to get permits.
If the fire pits go, part of beach culture dies
I’m telling you right now, if you allow the City of San Diego to remove OB’s fire rings and pits, you will live to really regret it. Maybe not this summer, but a summer or two down the pike. Or maybe the next time your kids ask you to take them to the beach for a marshmallow or wiener roast. Or the next time you have guests from out of town, and you want to do a beach party.
I’m telling you right now, if you let the City take the fire pits out, part of beach culture goes with them. Part of our beach culture will die.
You’re saying, hey, they’re closing libraries, they’re talking about cutting out school sports and music, the City is laying cops and lifeguards off. These are really dire economic times. How can we worry about fire rings?
These are good points. And yes, things are bad.
But we’re talking about fire rings, for chrissakes! Lowly, concrete, dirty fire rings and pits. The city says it needs the $173,000 plus that it takes to maintain the 186 or so pits around town – mainly or mostly at the beaches and Mission Bay. Supposedly that’s the cost – wages and benefits for two people who are in the fire pit maintenance division.
There are simpler solutions. There are better solutions than taking them out.
First of all, how much will it cost the city to take them all out? They’ve already started removing them from Fiesta Island. Other folks are pissed off about that. In fact, there’s a web site and entire community up in arms about their removal from Mission Bay – see their web site “Save the San Diego Fire Pits“.
Proposal: Find a sponsor for each OB fire pit
I propose we in Ocean Beach find a sponsor for each fire pit on our beaches. Whether a business, a church, a civic organization, a sports team, a circle of friends, or just simply an individual, I believe that we can organize sponsors who will maintain their pit for the rest of the community. We can do this. Let’s start now, before it’s too late. Mayor Sanders wants to complete the elimination of the fire pits next year. Next year is not that far off.
We need to figure out just how many fire pits there are in OB and just where exactly they are. (Editor: OB Rag staff are currently doing this count and documentation. We will publish a map as soon as we can.)
I propose that if you want to sponsor a fire pit, contact the OB Rag right away. In the meantime, contact the OB Mainstreet Association, the OB Town Council, the Planning Board with your offer to sponsor a fire pit. And of course, call Kevin Faulconer, call the Mayor. But those are phone calls and emails. I’m talking of taking responsibility for a little part of the beach, for a little part of our culture and history.
I know we have other things – important government and public services that are being threatened. Yet the fire pits are something that a single person by themselves can save. You, me. A single person can sponsor a fire pit and thus prevent its removal.
I promise you, if the fire pits are gone, you and your friends and your kids will really regret it. You will see a part of surf and beach die. The fire rings have been here for generations, for decades. They were here during World War II. If they can survive that war, they can survive this.
But if the fire pits are taken out, they’ll never come back.
Don’t let them take the fire pits.