Byline: Susan Langdon
Over the past year, the “Occupy Movement” has protested the fact that, across the nation, our government officials seem to be focused almost entirely on satisfying the demands of most powerful 1 percent of the population. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case in Newport Beach, when it comes to the city’s inexplicable zeal to remove 60 fire pits (protective concrete rings for wood fires) on the public beach that 99 percent of the city’s residents want to keep.
The “1-percenters” in this case are a handful of beachfront property owners who have suddenly decided that a 75-year tradition of beach-goers enjoying bonfires at the adjacent public-owned beach should be ended, because it somehow affects their view. They may well be important political campaign contributors, but they are still only 1 percent of the city.
Never mind that there is a public petition drive to save these fire pits — which has gained nearly 4,000 signatures so far, at savethepits.com — that clearly indicates where the public stands on this issue. The city seems more interested in pleasing the 1 percent than doing right by the 99 percent: the majority who voted them into office in the first place.
The city has asked the California Coastal Commission to allow it to remove all of the public-owned fire rings from the public-owned beach. There is still time for the public to sign the online petition at savethepits.com and send e-mails or letters to let the Coastal Commission — and Newport Beach Council members — know how we feel about this issue.
Let them know that we want our beach fire rings to stay right where they are, and the WE — the public — own those fire pits. They are not the property of the 1-percenters, and this minority should NOT be allowed to dictate what the public can do on its own property: the public beach.