Introduction

  • Due to the city budget crisis, a number of immediate cuts were proposed by Mayor Sanders in late November, 2008.  One of these included the removal of all 186 fire pits along the cities beaches and bays.  This proposal was approved by the city council and finalized on December 5. 
  • There are a number of online petitions to save the fire rings.  We have been unable to reach any of the people running these petitions.  As far as we can tell, these petitions are not being submitted to anyone in authority.  You are welcome to sign them, but it will probably do nothing.  Instead, you are welcome to email us to join our group.  But more importantly you need to contact your council member or the mayor and let them know how you feel.  If you do not live in the city, please contact the mayor's office, preferably by phone during business hours.
  • Here is the initial news story. Since then the council approved the budget but added back a lot of other things.  The mayor vetoed the council's changes.
  • The fire rings bring simple pleasure to tens of thousand San Diego residents and visitors for what should just be the price of occasional recycling of the ashes. 
  • $173,000 has been stated as the cost of the 186 fire rings, a surprising sum, but it’s less than 60 one-millionths of the city’s budget. Given some time and thought, this expense could be reduced through closer scrutiny of the maintenance schedule and methods.
    http://www.sandiego.gov/fm/pdf/qtr1_report_final_05nov08.pdf
  • These rings are a city-owned improvement serviced by city-owned specialized equipment.  What a waste to throw them away.  It would be like bulldozing the sidewalks because the city didn’t want to sweep them. 
  • If funds need to be specifically located, the council could direct them from the 2009 Mission Bay Improvements Fund. Last week the council chose to not waive those funds into the general fund. It is highly appropriate that a small portion of the revenue from the city’s bay-front land be used to prevent a popular existing capital improvement from being destroyed.
  • Mayoral spokesman Darren Pudgil said the proposal to close the fire pits was included for “no other rationale beyond having to spread these cuts across the city.”
  • Beach fires are a tradition that spans generations.  They should not be snuffed out with only a few weeks notice.  Has anyone gathered statistics on the number of users of these fire pits? Their effect on tourism?
  • The Mission Bay Park Improvement fund contains $2.5 Million, including over $250,000 to replace a gazebo.  The city should use some of those funds to save the pits.
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