By Matthew Wood
If the Town Council has its way, Ocean Beach will be a marshmallow-free zone this Fourth of July.
Town Council President Gretchen Newsom hammered home that point Tuesday morning during a press conference at the Veterans Memorial by the beach as they spread the word to “Mallow Out.”
“This has been too much. The last couple of years, it’s gotten completely out of control. It has desecrated our memorial,” she said. “It’s time for our community to clean itself up.”
The Town Council is calling for all businesses to stop selling marshmallows in order to keep participation down. Newsom cited people throwing marshmallows that frozen, on fire and stuffed with batteries at last year’s Marshmallow War.
Captain Joe Ramos, of the San Diego Police’s Western Division, said he hopes revelers will keep it under control this year.
“We are here as law enforcement for Ocean Beach, but we want to make sure everyone has a safe time on the Fourth of July.”
He said there will be more than 100 officers dedicated to the beaches. While declining to cite an exact number, he said “a good deal of them” will be dispatched to OB.
“We will be enforcing laws as we see necessary. … Our goal is to not have to cite anybody. We want to see a reduction in activity through compliance.”
Newsom read a letter from City Council District 2 representative Ed Harris, who was unable to attend Tuesday’s press conference. It read, in part:
“What started out as friendly fun on the beach has spiraled out of control.”
Roger Kube, chair of the Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego Chapter, cited numbers from the group’s last two beach cleanups the day after Fourth of July. He said that in 2012, they picked up 2,600 pounds of litter and more than 2,000 pounds came from Oceach Beach. In 2013, they had more than 2,400 pounds, 1,800 of which came from our beach.
“The amount of litter on the beaches has just become overwhelming,” he said.
Despite the pleas from the Town Council and OB Mainstreet Association, marshmallows are still available in some area stores.
Grace Cordell, an employee at Rite-Aid, said they will still be selling their regular stock of marshmallows, but won’t be ordering any extras.
Newsom said that’s not enough and she’s hoping all stores in OB will comply with their wishes to stop selling marshmallows.
“We want them off the shelves now. Right now.”