- Mayor Jerry Sanders and The San Diego City Council
- United States of America
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has proposed to snuff out the fire pits at city beaches to save $173,000 in maintenance costs.
The concrete enclosures have toasted generations of marshmallows and warmed hordes of late-night revelers, a mainstay of Southern California's psyche.
“San Diego's identity is intimately tied up with the ocean and beach culture in general, and it seems to me the damage done to the robust beach culture that we now have – by removing the rings – is not worth saving $173,000 a year,” said Michael Roberts, an assistant professor at San Diego State University who studies the sociology of surfing.
“Perhaps the people in San Diego would prefer to see cutbacks in the bureaucracy, like a top-level position that would cover that $173,000 a year?”
John Elwell, 76, co-author of “Surfing in San Diego,” said beach bonfires hearken back to a primitive part of man.
“They say something deep down in people's feelings about the hearth and from the past, where you went to the fire, warmed yourself, and you had meals, friendship and shared things,” Elwell said. “Every kid who has been to a beach party remembers cooking marshmallows.”
San Diego has 186 fire pits dotting Mission Bay, La Jolla, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach.
The fire rings are an integral part of beach life and tradition that offer locals and visitors a chance to enjoy one of the quintessential charms of California living. Seeing the fire rings at night, with happy people gathered around sharing stories and friendship is an inspiring experience; one that no price can be put on. The fire rings are therefore of great value to the community for the enjoyment of our most treasured resource, our beaches.
Removing the remaining fire rings sends the wrong signal to the public regarding the government’s commitment to maintain a vibrant beach and park system which can also be enjoyed after the sun sets as well. Promoting our region for tourists also requires that we continue to preserve what for many visitors is a unique experience.
We appeal to the authorities to please reconsider.