Bike advocate extraordinaire, Brenda Miller, leads off “South County cycles towards safety” in the Orange County Register, San Clemente edition.
The much anticipated AQMD Staff report has been released. In it are new definitions of Rule 444 and 445:
A new definition is added for “beach burning” which is prohibited beginning January 1, 2015 under this amendment. However, using charcoal and liquid/gaseous fuels for cooking at beaches is still permitted. Other types of recreational, ceremonial, or open burning remain exempt, such as those at regional parks and camp grounds not covered by the new definition… Under PAR 444 a city or county could, through formal action, make the prohibition sooner than January 1, 2015.
Background: Last year the Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously to remove its 60 fire rings. The next step was to seek Coastal Commission permission, but the issue was derailed at the recent March meeting as 4 commissioners sit on their respective air quality boards, including Dr. Burke who Chairs the South Coast Air Quality Management District which is responsible for what we breathe in the 4 counties of LA, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside, 41% of the population of the State of California. The Coastal Commission deferred this issue to their ‘sister agency’ and will reconsider Newport Beach’s application again in June.
Today’s AQMD Staff report is queued up for Board review May 3rd.
Under the proposed revisions to Rule 444, Newport Beach already qualifies for immediate removal of its fire rings — 27 at Big Corona and 33 on the Balboa peninsula.
Some of you are wondering… has this site been taken over by a bunch of anti-fire rings fanatics?
I’m still checking my web logs, but in the meantime, let me fire one last shot across the bow!
Soon I’ll be back on my meds and riding my bike, then these other advocacy issues will blow away like a puff of smoke.
Along those lines, I’m pulling back from the limelight. It’s kinda intoxicating to be seen on TV and quoted in the Press. As a 7-year blogger on a variety of topics, that’s what I suppose I’ve always wished for – being discovered.
But as I get started with the 12-Step Fire Rings Advocacy Rehabilitation Program, today I turned down a TV appearance. Can you imagine my withdrawal symptoms? I mean, prior to all this fire ring frenzy, it’s been since the day Michael Jackson’s medical doctor was convicted that I’ve enjoyed seeing my mug on TV!
I have to admit, this latest TV invite was in the form of a debate with a fire rings advocate in Huntington Beach and I knew I would lose. One thing I’ve learned about myself: in realtime I seldom get the last word or win many arguments – that’s why I write. Here I can craft my arguments and edit them for hours sometimes. I knew I’d be blown out of the water if I attempted to debate the fire rings controversy.
As you know, I’m against the fire rings. I’ve lived with them for 15 years and I’m beginning to understand the health impact on myself, my family, my neighbors and the region. But how would that play against the red-meat arguments of a fire rings proponent?
Then I got an idea! Instead of arguing with an almost lunatic proponent, which would be no fun at all – turn it into a game!
I would sneak my Fire Rings Fruit Cake Bingo card into the TV studio and secretly check off the nutty arguments he’d use, the same nutty things everyone in Huntington Beach seems to be saying, then near the end of the interview, as my opponent would be licking his lips, knowing he mopped the floor with me, I’d jump up out of my chair, dislodging my microphone probably, and shout BINGO!
Next time you’re in a discussion about the health effects of the fire rings, play along.
The story heated up today when Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry released a letter he wrote to his counterpart in Huntington Beach.
The topic is fire rings. The Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously to remove 60 local fire rings. The next step was a trip to the California Coastal Commission to acquire the necessary permit. That’s when things got interesting because 4 members of the CCC also sit on their local air quality boards including Dr. Burke, Board Chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The AQMD has authority for 4 counties: LA, Riverside, San Bernandino and Orange; this region includes 41% of the population of California. Potentially, the AQMD could ban up to 836 fire rings along the coast.
Things were going well, as the AQMD issued a draft proposal that would revise their Rule 444 to ban all beach burning. That’s when Huntington Beach woke up and jumped into the fray. Mayor Connie Boardman wrote a strongly worded letter of protest and then last week at a public hearing at AQMD headquarters, several HB residents and employees of the HB Visitors Bureau attended to speak their mind.
Read the remainder of this entry »
Welcome to Part III of my advice to HB. They want to keep their 465 polluting fire rings, while I’m an advocate for their removal.
As you remember, at the AQMD Public Hearing last week there was a large contingent from the HB Visitors Bureau. Maybe because I was the first to speak, I had the most time to listen to their arguments. Like any public hearing, some arguments are more effective or more persuasive than others. In my opinion, they need to step up their game if they are to prevail.
Here’s my take on the effectiveness of their arguments:
Yeah, we’re goin’ after all these other pollution sources eventually, too.
Come back tomorrow for Part IV: The 10 Steps HB Must Take To Keep Their Toxic Fire Rings.
Welcome to Part II where I offer advice to my neighbors in Huntington Beach who wish to keep their beloved fire rings, even though I’m an advocate for their immediate removal.
As you remember, the Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously to remove 60 fire rings here. Meanwhile HB, including Bolsa Chica, is polluting the region with its 465 fire rings. If they are to prevail and keep their bonfires they have some work to do to focus their arguments.
For starters HB should understand our arguments:
Smoke may smell good, but it’s not good for you.
This issue really touches a nerve with the decision makers.
One rule of thumb based on epidemiological data is that there is no low threshold level to the health effects (including mortality) of small air pollution particles (generally referred to as PM2.5)
Ask yourself, what does this mean for those living near the fire rings for more than a year or two?
We lose 5 to 6,000 people a year from premature death due to particulate matter.
I don’t know how you offset that against lost revenue of bundled wood.
Tune in tomorrow for Part III where I critique Huntington Beach’s arguments for keeping their toxic, wood burning fire rings.
There’s a battle raging here in Southern California over wood burning in beach fire rings. Newport Beach decided to remove their 60 fire rings for health reasons. Huntington Beach was recently caught napping; do they think that now that a regional agency is proposing to ban all beach burning that they can show up late, with a cute slogan, and win the day? I’m in favor of removing the fire rings and I recently spoke at the AQMD Public Hearing where I got to hear HB’s arguments for keeping the fire rings. Here I offer a little unsolicited advice.
So, Huntington Beach, you want to keep your fire rings?
You’re gonna need better arguments than you’ve made so far.
May I offer some strategic advice? You need it. Let me point out how you’ll need to frame your arguments:
First, you’re goin’ nowhere by attacking the AQMD. You look like kooks when you rant about loss of freedom, or FREEDOM, as you would put it. So, to win this contest you must treat the AQMD with respect. Their whole mission is to protect public health. To many this is a ‘motherhood’ issue; no one can make an effective case against public health. Don’t look like boobs; harmonize with their authority, not to mention their science.
Learn our counter-arguments: if you know what we’re gonna argue and anticipate your rebuttals, you’re bound to come off a lot better, not to mention, look good in front of the TV cameras.
For starters, drop these trite come-backs. These pathetic zingers don’t help to make your case:
Likewise, lose the petty critiques. You need more sophisticated arguments; none of these references move the needle in your favor:
Ok, as we wrap up this discussion of your nutty commentary, let’s get past:
Next up, Part II: Understanding Our Arguments.
As you already know, I’m on a clean air kick of late, so you can imagine my excitement when the AQMD arrives and starts installing some pretty fancy looking air quality monitoring devices here at the beach.
The District’s got till May 3rd to gather data and make their decision. The board meeting was set before the issue of the fire rings even came up. They want to change Rule 444 to ban beach fires. The public backlash, especially in Huntington Beach, is causing them to gather more data.
Of the 836 fire rings in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, 465 are in Huntington Beach and Bolsa Chica, yet ironically they say,
We don’t have a single citizen complaint.
That’s because they’re all calling my house to complain.
It was a thrill to be the first speaker called to the podium at the AQMD’s hearing this morning as they consider banning beach fire pits along the Los Angeles and Orange County coastlines.
There’s a large crowd attending, many from the Huntington Beach Visitors Bureau, who will be speaking against their removal.