See the update at the end of this post about the other GOP assemblyman, state senator and "Surfin' Congressman" attending Sunday's beach bonfire. Also, the original post has been corrected to reflect the panel the AQMD board chairman resigned from and the date of the AQMD hearing on fire rings.
If you see shirtless people with their arms in the air, dancing around blazing Huntington Beach fire rings Sunday afternoon, that's probably not a native ritual that involves burning virgins or forked-tongue pale faces.
It'll be Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Nanny State) and his merry band of followers demonstrating their love of blazing pits, just as the Orange County Board of Supervisors did in Santa Ana Tuesday.
The county board voted 4-0 to reject a proposal before the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) board to add beach fire rings up and down the coast to the entities where blazes are prohibited or tightly regulated. This whole debate was . . . wait for it . . . sparked by a move by city of Newport Beach leaders to remove the pits. And that, says the bored Board of Stupes, is where the decision on the fate of these suckers should reside, with individual cities.
For instance, civic and business leaders in Newps-adjacent Huntington Beach want to let ring freedom ring, which brings us back to Allen "hosting a beach bonfire to celebrate our Southern California beach lifestyle and support the fire rings, enjoyed by California residents and tourists the world over." The pol's office informs this will go down from 3-5 p.m. Sunday at Newland and PCH, across the street from that horizon-spoiling, white smoke-spewing AES Power Plant.
As mentioned at the top, no bodies are expected to be sacrificed, unless perhaps someone can get the one encasing William Burke, the AQMD board chairman who stepped down from the California Coastal Commission after two of Allen's OC GOP colleagues, Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Hate Town) and state Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Polluted Aliso), wrote a letter calling for Burke's head, a punch that county Supervisor John Moorlach beat them to (it all comes full circle, baby; it's the fire ring of life!).
Burke, who'd spoken ill of the fire rings, leads an AQMD board that seems poised to lift an exemption on fire rings from the state's "No Burn" rules, in response to the California Coastal Commission Burke also sits on getting a staff report critical of Newport Beach's efforts to remove the pits, because poor folk love 'em. The Coastal Commission later decided to wait until the AQMD rules before proceeding, and what had been a Newport Beach issue has turned into a statewide one as all fire rings could now go the way of dinosaurs, civility and smoking in restaurants.
Burke sitting on both panels was a conflict, proclaimed the fiery rhetoric outta OC, but even without him on the Coastal Commission, the AQMD board is still considering a region-wide ban on all beach fires that would begin in January 2015. The debate is set for June 7, according to an AQMD spokesman. The coastal commish is to then follow on July 19.
UPDATE, APRIL 25, 9:13 A.M.: According to an email from Mansoor, he'll be joining Allen, Walters and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Asteroid) at Sunday's beach bonfire. "I hope you will join us and celebrate this American past-time with 'Smores and hot dogs," reads his email, which I'll assume was not directed solely at me.