Monday, December 15, 2008

FIRE PITS SAVED!!! (But only for 2009)
A big thanks to an anonymous donor!

Also a huge thanks to everybody who phoned and emailed the city and talked this up to the press!

We've all done it!
Several groups organized over the weekend to stop the removal of the fire pits while the city rushes to get them out.
We will have announcements shortly.

But for now...
The Mayor is holding a press conference today at 10:00 AM to discuss the fire rings.
If you haven't called the Mayor yet, do it now! (619) 236-6330

It's easy. Call (619) 236-6330 and politely tell the person who answers the phone: your name, your city/neighborhood, and that you want to save the fire pits!
You will likely be transferred to someone else to discuss it further, if you want.
The pits are used by people from throughout the city and the region. They make the beaches safer, containing hot coals that might otherwise be spilled on the sand.

Friday, December 12, 2008

City Fire Pit Fund

We have heard back from the city...and yes, they want $173,000 in contributions to save the fire rings. We'll be meeting with a couple community groups this weekend to discuss our options.

We are not giving up, but we are exploring our options.

If you are part of a community group interested in saving the fire rings, please send me an email at ASAP so that we can coordinate efforts. Individuals are certainly welcome too!

Thank you ALL for your comments here and on other web sites. We will try to get them in front of city representatives.

Fire pit fund?

We have tried to reach the person in charge of the Fire Pit Fund at the city of San Diego but we have received no response.
If any of you have had any luck, please let us know.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The city is looking for fire pit sponsors!

See the main site for details and contact information:

You can post your opinions on this here.

Copied from our main site:
There are now hundreds of irate comments to the Union Tribune article.
The Mayor's office is now looking for sponsors of the fire pits. Seriously, if you'd like to get information on this, please call Jenny Wolff (619) 236-7002.
My feelings are mixed on this, but I would cheer any sponsor who could keep the pits maintained at least until the new budget in July. If we can get through the off-season, we can make our case on the true value of the fire rings.
Sponsorship would be awesome for a local favorite like Rubio's or a beach favorite like Coppertone or Hawaiian Tropic (slogan: "Don't get burned!").
Maybe Viejas or Barona could step up as a title-sponsor for Fiesta Island while a few merchants associations might like to sponsor their local pits.

In general, I think the city should be paying for this. They could look at ways to reduce the maintenance time and redeploy the equipment operators part-time to the soon-to-be-cut sand grooming. The good reputation of our beaches is too valuable!

What people are saying about the fire pit removal

Thousands of postings are pouring into internet sites about the loss of the fire rings. Here are some:
Mini articles posted on our blog
Hundreds of comments made on the following Union Tribune articles:
Several petition sites exist. You are welcome to sign, but you really need to phone your representatives now to make a difference.
This is a lead story today (Dec 11) on KPBS's "These Days" at 9:00 on FM 89.5. Also streaming live.

Now it gets worse fast

The Union Tribune reports that city now wants $259,000, cash-up-front, to save the fire pits for 18 volunteers. Meanwhile the pits are already being dragged away.

The city earns $8 Billion a year from 32 million tourists. Isn't this what the hotel tax is for? How about the rent that the Mission Bay hotels and vendors pay? How about Prop C?

What can you do? Get on the phone and call the City Council and the Mayor then spread the word.
Post what you learn on our blog.

Good then bad

Today started well for the cause...but quickly turned.

A little after 9 AM, Mayor Sanders was being interviewed by Tom Fudge on KPBS. The second caller stated that his non-profit was considering adopting the fire rings. The mayor responded with "that's exactly what we had hoped". He then offered to take the caller's information after the program to hook him up.

Turns out that today the city started removing the fire rings! They should all be removed within about two weeks. Now I see that the above article came straight from the Mayor's office!

Wow, what's the hurry? Really, what is the hurry? The rings are not going to be used much during the winter. How much maintenance are they going to need?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Petition - Post your Name, City, Comments

Add a comment to sign the petition. Please keep the language clean.

Congratulations and Thanks...
The Fire Rings are TEMPORARILY saved thanks to an anonymous donor!

I don't know or really care if this site had anything to do with the donor stepping forward, but you ALL helped bring this issue to light; keeping it in the news and on the front page.
We all have to be vigilant to save the beaches for future generations.

Scroll down to see the latest reader posts.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Reason did not prevail

The veto override has passed and fire-rings are going away.
A sad day for the city in many ways.

The good news is that Balboa Park was beautiful for "December Nights" (the former "Christmas on the Prado". Tomorrow is the OB Holiday Parade, an amusement for all.

Post comments with your fire ring stories and pictures if you'd like.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The funds exist for the San Diego Beach Fire Pits

We have a website now!

The money to maintain the Mission Bay Fire Rings is easily found for 2009. Even though $86,525 (this number is explained below) is a lot to spend to maintain 186 fire pits, let's not throw out all of the pits without first seeing if we can economize in 2009.

[Edit: So the full $173,000 is the confirmed cost. $86,525 was just for half the year. $1,000 per year per fire pit, using heavy equipment! This seemed too unbelievable to be true. Oh well. We'll just go with massively over-maintained.]

The Mayor just vetoed the council budget, so there is still an opportunity to fix this for 2009.

Use the Mission Bay Park Improvement Fund

The allocations for the Mission Bay imrovement fund for 2009 are $2,466,802
This is money collected from the hotels and businesses sitting on Mission Bay land. The city council has the option to leave these funds for Mission Bay Improvements or "waive" them to the general fund. Recently-passed Proposition C requires that these funds stay in the bay and parks improvement funds starting in 2009.
This is money that the voters have requested be used for Mission Bay Park.

The city should direct 3.5% of this 2009 money to continue to maintain the fire pits
If procedurally necessary, they can waive this money out of the Mission Bay Improvement Fund to permit it to be spent on maintenance. At the same time, direct Parks and Recreation to test a reduction in off-season maintenance. In 2010, the city will have to find the money somewhere else.

Click the image above to enlarge or see page 10 of the buget analyst's memo:

How much does it cost

The Mayor's budget proposal shows a savings of $86,525 by removing the fire pits. Strangely, the media reported double this number. It seems that someone added the 2009 Budget to the 2009 forecast, doubling the number. It would be unbelievable to spend $1,000 a year per fire pit to clean it. [deleted, see above]

This is page 48 from the budget proposal pdf:

What can you do?
If you want to save the fire rings, you must phone or email the City Council (click to find your council member) and the Mayor's office (619-236-6330). Tell them to respect the voters wishes and maintain the Mission Bay fire pits.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Save the San Diego Fire Rings

On November 24, the San Diego City Council approved the Mayor's request to remove all fire rings from the San Diego beaches and bays. This is wrong and I'll show you why.