San Diego Fire Rings Saved … for now

by on May 10, 2010 · 11 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Environment, Ocean Beach, San Diego

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Mayor Sanders announcing the saving of the City's fire rings. From left to right - Stacey LoMedico, head of Park and Rec, Councilwoman Lightner, Phyllis Pfeifer of the La Jolla Foundation, (two unknown city people), Bob Kelly of the San Diego Foundation, Mayor Sanders, Councilman Faulconer, Frank Gormlie. All photos by Shane Finneran.

In front of a fire pit near the waters of Mission Bay, Mayor Jerry Sanders announced at a press conference today (5/10/10) that the City’s 185 beach fire rings have been saved … at least for now. Due to a hefty donation of $90,000 from the San Diego Foundation, and smaller amounts from other sources, the fire rings’ are safe from removal until June 2011.

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Mayor Sanders had earlier found himself alone on the issue of removing San Diego's beach icons.

Mayor Sanders had placed the rings on the budgetary chopping block and they were scheduled to be removed after the current funding ran out on July 1, this year. But apparently over the last several days, Councilmembers Kevin Faulconer – whose District 2 beaches harbor the vast majority of the fire rings (102 out of 185) – and Sherri Lightner had finagled a solution to the funding.

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Bob Kelly is President of the San Diego Foundation. They donated $90,000.

Besides the large donation, other sources when combined matched the total of $120,500 – the annual amount the City spends in maintaining the rings:

  • San Diego Foundation — $90,000
  • La Jolla Community Foundation — $ 4700
  • Fire Pit Fund  — $ 2896
  • Kevin Faulconer’s infrastructure fund — $16,452
  • Sherri Lightner’s infrastructure fund — $ 6452

The San Diego Foundation is a non-profit civic group and has a special fund for Mission Bay Park.  The Foundation has in the past replaced 1200 dead trees in the Park that died due to disease, weather, or natural causes.

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The vast majority of the fire rings are in Kevin Faulconer's Second District.

Kevin Faulconer’s office had asked me to attend because of my involvement in the OB “Adopt-a-Fire-Ring” Project that this blog has organized over the last several months.  Our constant rants on saving the rings won us a place at the press conference.  Phyllis Peiffer of the La Jolla Foundation, Jim Grant,  Katheryn Rhoades, Shane Finneran were there in support as community members. However, Hans Baumgartner – who spearheaded the website that championed saving the fire rings – could not make it.  That guy deserves some recognition.

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Getting the word out. Frank Gormlie speaking to Paul Kruegar of Channel 7 News.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie May 10, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Jim Grant had actually brought a bag of marshmallows – I wasn’t sure what he was going to do with them – cook them or toss them?


annagrace May 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Congratulations Frank & to all the other people who came out on behalf of the fire rings! The reprieve until 2011 means that the Ring Cycle will continue…..but another year is a great another year.


Smuffy May 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Thank you everyone for caring and for your generous donations! Those fire rings really do provide a lot of bang for the buck. Good job!


Debbie May 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Well good news and a thank you to everybody! I hope that those who enjoy the fire pits will donate some of the time and do a good deed like pick up little or get rid of graffiti or pick up dog do do or something in appreciation like a donation to the city for next years fund to keep the pits. On another note, doesn’t the city give money to the Foundation or maybe it’s council members who use the pot of funds??? I just wonder if the city isn’t footing the bill after all. Anyhow, happy fire pitting!


Sunshine May 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm

What beautiful outcome to all our collective efforts. Praise the Fire-ring-gods for staying put another year! Let’s all head out soon and enjoy a nice big roaring fire (of natural oak, of course!) in the Fire rings. Who’s got the tofu weenies? I’ll bring the gram crackers for s’mores.


Save The Fire Pits May 10, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Congrats everyone! A little bit of the beach life is preserved for another year.

Had a nice bonfire tonight with family and some of of the fire ring crew. The wind was cool, but the company and bonfire was warm.


lane tobias May 10, 2010 at 11:10 pm

to all the people who had a role in keeping the rings alive – thank you. and frank, might i add that this is further proof the squeakiest wheels get the oil….however last minute the oil comes.


Jon May 11, 2010 at 9:51 am

Did you notice you also made the LA Times….,0,4769261.story

Great job Frank & Co.


Frank Gormlie May 11, 2010 at 10:05 am

Jon, yes I did. Tony Perry, the reporter, is an old veteran of San Diego politics, as he ran the LA Times San Diego edition back in the eighties and nineties.


Sunshine May 11, 2010 at 11:18 am

is it legal to send Jerry & Kevin s’mores in the mail? They should get one (roasted over an OB Fire Pit, of course). Do they know they are welcome to utilize the Pits in OB? Sure would be nice to see them there some evening….family in tow….enjoying beach life in SD.


psd May 11, 2010 at 11:30 am

Awesome. Thanks Frank, and everyone else involved! Time for a breather, then gear up for the same fight again next year…


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