Friday, March 29, 2013

Newport Beach and the Ring of Fire

If I might quote, Johnny Cash; "I went down to a Ring of Fire ..."   --- I won't sing for you but I do want to highlight this piece in the LA Times about the social interactions between the 1% and the 99% at the beach.  Here is a juicy quote from the comments section:

"HiVeloCT at 4:24 AM March 29, 2013
I've lived in Orange County since the early 60's and the privileged few who can afford oceanfront property have ALWAYS tried to run off those they consider to be "riff raff".  I have no doubt that those trying to get rid of these firepits light up their fireplaces, BBQ grills and similar sources of "particulate" pollution on a regular basis without any regard for the air quality."

So, this is a classic case of rich coastal home owners trying to privatize the beach and get rid of the middle class folks who like to hang out at the beach at night and gather around the fire pits.  For those of you who do not live close to the Ocean (I live 6 miles from the Pacific), the photo below will show you what this is about.

Corona del Mar State Beach

The nearby home owners worry about particulate matter being created and they may be right but nobody has bothered to monitor this.  The pit dwellers claim that this concern is just a "smoke screen" (pun intended) to use a politically correct means (environmental protection) to get the "unwashed" off the beach.  This general theme interests me because it speaks to the issue of certain interest groups using environmental protection as a means to achieve ulterior goals (income stratification) or at least to achieve two goals at once (clean air and class separation).  The comment I quoted above suggests that there is a backlash against this attempt and the author of the LA Times article clearly sides with the 99% on this issue.