ABC-10 News picks up on interest of Fire Pit Adoption

by on December 14, 2009 · 26 comments

in Economy, Environment, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, San Diego


San Diego’s ABC news affiliate Channel 10 came out to interview me this morning about our ideas of adopting fire pits in OB.  Mike Chen, the reporter and camera guy all rolled into one, appeared at our doorstep wanting an interview and we couldn’t resist the PR.  I quickly threw on my OB Rag T-shirt and got in front of the camera.

As you may know, the OB Rag is promoting the idea that instead of the City of San Diego removing OB’s eight fire pits, that people, individuals, businesses, churches, civic organizations adopt them and pledge to maintain them.  This is similar to the idea that CalTrans has – having groups adopt sections of the freeways in order to maintain them.

chan10bSo, I stood in front of the camera talking about the fire pits with Mike asking questions.  It will run, he said, tonight at 5 or 6:00 7:00.  He liked the idea – and in fact told us he gets all his news from our blog (haha, at least Patty knew he was joking).

I explained that we’re trying to do this “the OB way” – that is without official sanction or permission.  I told him we thought the city could save the money it will spend removing the fire pits, save the money – the $173,000 – it spends maintaining the 186 or so fire pits around town – mainly at the beaches and Mission Bay – and allow this adoption process to bear fruit.

Mike was interested in the issue that kids have burned their feet walking on sand that has been dumped over burning and smoldering fires – that people used to have fires on the beach before there were fire pits. Chris Brewster, San Diego’s former fire chief, has complained of this problem if the pits are taken out.

What about the liability issues, Mike asked.  “There’s risks in daily life,” I told him. I recounted how OBceans had painted over graffiti on the public cliffs – they could have slipped on the wet rocks – but they went ahead and did it anyhow.  The folks who do that are my heroes. And there’s liabilities everywhere.

We’ve had at least 3 individuals or groups step forward and say they’d like to adopt a fire pit.  We  have documented them – where they are – and have numbered them #1 through #8 – with #1 being the closest one to Dog Beach.  All we ask is that they send us their contact info and do a pledge that they will maintain their fire pit.  It’s all confidential right now. So, if you are interested, get on the ‘adopt-a-fire-pit’ band wagon now.


Here’s Channel 10’s online news:

Ocean Beach Man Has Plan To Save Fire Pits

An Ocean Beach man has a unique plan to save a long-held San Diego tradition hit by budget cuts, 10News reported.

On Monday, the San Diego City Council voted 7 to 1 on a second reading to adopt an 18-month budget plan. Among the cuts, all of the city’s 186 shoreline fire pits will be removed by June, which will save more than $120,000 in maintenance costs.

Frank Gormlie, editor of the OB Rag blog, has called for residents to adopt a fire pit.

“These are part of the beach lifestyle that has been around for generations. Why don’t we adopt fire pits like folks are allowed to adopt sections of the freeway? This is the O.B. way; we don’t always wait around for authorization,” said Gormlie.

For the remainder of the article, go here.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

mr fresh December 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm

this is waaay too simple an idea–adopting the firepits. i’d be willing to bet that the City will try to squash this, and we have to be prepared to push back. go OB Rag, go!


Shawn Conrad December 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm


Love the Theodore Kaczynski thing you got going on there. However, I see you more as a unibonger.


Danny Morales December 14, 2009 at 4:36 pm

“He looks more like a fat Lenin! But it’s buey more cool than his present avatar which looks like a sausage eatin’ cracker from Klantee! Even so, now SD has a face to put upon the idea rater than vice a versa.” – U. Dushe


Frank Gormlie December 14, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Hey, I never thought my beard stuck out so much, by golly. Maybe I should shave it off for my fans. Ah, gee, thanks Shawn. Danny – a”sausage eatin’ cracker’ ??? Yur freakin avatar looks like Queen Sativa with a huge headdress.


Danny Morales December 14, 2009 at 5:50 pm

“I wuz tryin’ for the Queen Indica look but there for the grace of Dog go I!”- Ben Mover


Shawn Conrad December 16, 2009 at 8:43 am

As dog as my witness, Danny looks like the angry dad on American Chopper. Frank looks like he is about to be mauled by bears.


Patty Jones December 14, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Michael Chen says this piece will air at 7:00 tonight.


Frank Gormlie December 14, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Channel 10 did their piece at about 7:15 or so – it was okay, we received some PR, the issue was aired, and the reporter, Mike Chen, got a typical city response: unless someone with big pockets can pay for liability insurance, this ain’t gonna happen.

The report also stated that the costs for maintaining the fire pits was $120,000, and that the City would begin to remove them in June 2010.

We have been making the comparison to the ‘Adopt-a -Highway’ program of CalTrans. Now cleaning up alongside of a freakin’ freeway is a lot more dangerous than maintaining a firepit, so there is a liability issue on the freeway adoption.

Sure, people can burn themselves, get cut by broken glass in the fire pit, so it is not a piece of cake to clean one, and it does have its own dangers. As life does.

We maintain that the “liability” issue is a false one, and the City – as Mr Fresh (see above comments) predicted – is trying to squash this adopt idea.

People and groups who do adopt a fire pit can sign a waiver that says they agree not to sue the City for any injuries while cleaning and maintaining the pit. You can waive this.

There’s only eight (8) of them, OB fire pits. This is not rocket science and is not as difficult as the City wants us to believe.

We already have one sponsor, and 2 other parties are in discussions to adopt a pit.


Patty Jones December 14, 2009 at 7:56 pm

And in case you missed it, see the video on Channel 10’s website.


Larry OB December 14, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Back a number of years ago, I made a pole sifter for cleaning up fire pits at Sunset Cliffs. It looked like a long-handled tennis racket except with 1/4″ metal mesh. The sand and ash fall through the mesh, and the charcoal, nails and glass can then be dumped into a bucket. A similar tool can be made from an old pitchfork and a piece metal bird mesh. Keep the wind to your back so you don’t have to breathe the ash.


Frank Gormlie December 14, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Larry OB – thanx for the advice. We’ll add this to the little info packet we’re making up for the fire pit sponsors.


Debbie December 14, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I say we get people to chain themselves to the fire pits in June 2010. Now that will definitely get publicity. Of course, we expect Kevin Faulconer to be right there and chained also (voluntarily of course).


Frank Gormlie December 14, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Debbie -I knew it would be you to first start talking about chains. LOL.


Jen December 14, 2009 at 10:43 pm

I’d definitely chain myself to a firepit if it would help to save them. Just say the word and I’m there.


r hoobler December 14, 2009 at 10:13 pm

i think gormlie looks more like trotsky


Frank Gormlie December 14, 2009 at 10:18 pm

troksky moxey!


claudia j December 14, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Frank, How does the OB Rebel Team adopt one??? Details?????? cj


Frank Gormlie December 14, 2009 at 11:47 pm

To those who comment with interest in adopting a fire pit, I’m getting back to you individually and privately.


JPinSD December 15, 2009 at 7:43 am

Sounds like the city isnt going to support this unless there is liability insurance purchased. How much would that be? Also, if it costs $121,000 to maintain 181 fire pits why can’t we just come up with the $5k-6k that it would take to save the 8 fire pits in OB?


Frank Gormlie December 15, 2009 at 10:09 am

JPinSD – our position is that people and groups who adopt a firepit can sign a waiver of liability.


Fstued December 15, 2009 at 8:13 am

Bottom line the city doesn’t want them. It has nothing to do with budget cuts. If they thought about they could make money on the pits require a permit that you get from the life guards $5 or $10 that would be nothing to most folks having a fire. I am sure they could sell plenty of permits May be not the $120k worth but still that could go a long way toward maintenance. They haven’t even though about what the pits do for the stores in the area I know I have spent many $ at the local stores getting more hotdogs or whatever to enjoy has we watched the flames.
The city could charge for a lot more things than they do to come up with ways to make cash instead of cutting to balance the budget. I hate to say this but I had to agree with Mr. DeMiao when he said it’s like you’re selling your car to make rent this month but there won’t be any car next month to sell for rent. No forward thinking in City Hall at all.


Frank Gormlie December 15, 2009 at 10:08 am

Fstued – I think you are right, unfortunately.


doug porter December 15, 2009 at 10:46 am

the firepits are being used as a symbol or metaphor to help persuade the populace that the City’s budget crisis is real, even as they proceed with big ticket items whose only long term benefit will be for the owners of the construction companies (et al), real estate speculators and the politicians that do their bidding.


Debbie December 16, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Check out City Beat and Carl Luna’s log that comments on the firepits. I thought he had a good idea…”Side note 2: If ACE parking can have dozens of unattended parking lots where drivers simply swipe a card or insert cash into a machine to get a little ticket saying they’ve rented a parking space for a set amount of time, why can’t the City do the same with fire rings? Set up machines and charge an hourly rate that covers maintenance costs with a little profit (extra revenue) on top of it. If people want to hang out at the rings let them pay for it. And DON’T subcontract it out to ACE parking so they can take the profit. Surely City employees are competent enough to manage the service.” Continue on with the sponsors and charge at the site and they can pay for themselves.


Debbie December 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm

In case you want the link for easy access….


Frank Gormlie December 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Debbie – thanx for the link, I did check it out. And I left a comment saying ‘why should we have to pay for fire pits, they’re just a bunch of dirty concrete?’ I did say more, like who will service and collect the monies from the machines? And where will you place the machines? Carl Luna claims ACE parking lots are not monitored. NOT True.


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