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Wu: I hope the state keeps CdM fire pits burning

August 04, 2012|By Jack Wu

Most Newport Beach City Council members usually don't react to my columns, at least to me or to my editor.

I write, I poke, and I criticize the "republicans" (small r), and I mostly get called a bad writer, a bad person and someone who needs to visit the library more by the commenters on the website.

But I cannot disagree with the criticisms of me and my writing, so no harm, no foul.

But my March column about the council's desire to remove the fire pits in Corona del Mar drew a curious response from two friendly council members. I implied that some Corona del Mar residents who wanted the fire pits removed didn't like out-of-towners, and also pointed out that plenty of those folks were minorities. I felt that these folks would be unfairly impacted by a council vote, even though the rings are on a state beach that belong to everyone.

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The council members complained to me, saying that my statements inferred that racism played a role in their decision making. That was not my intent.

I actually blasted the council for being populists and cowards (I kid, dear council).

Anyway, the column angered not only the council, but the residents, who said they didn't care who used the fire pits, only that that the smoke from the rings blew smoke into their homes, which could be a health risk.

It was me who was burned for what I wrote.

Well, maybe I wasn't too far off because, as Amy Senk from Corona del Mar Today explains, the California Coastal Commission threw the city's application to remove the CdM fire pits back at them requesting, "information includes data on who uses the fire rings and when, what alternatives to removal that the city considered, the history of the rings and whether the city had conducted any air quality studies about the dangers of smoke from the fires."

And "the city's application states that 'fire rings clearly present a health and safety impact to the public … Has the city conducted an air-quality study supporting removal of the fire rings, as suggested by two members of the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission?"

If so, please provide that information. If not, please explain why such a study was not conducted?

Has the city documented the air-quality impacts of smoke from the fire rings?

Is the city relying chiefly on the anecdotal testimony of residents at the two public meetings for evidence of health effects of the fire rings in Newport Beach?"

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