In 2014, Assemblyman Travis Allen (Republican) and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-silva (Democrat), co-authored Assembly Bill 1102.
The purpose of the bill was to create state legislation that would protect the fire rings, and clarify the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission in protecting beach access, and ensuring low-cost recreational use for ALL Californians.
Friends of the Fire Rings worked tirelessly to lobby and make calls for this bill. Our coalition partners can be viewed on the “Friends of AB 1102” page.
The bill passed through two State Assembly Committees, and on the State Assembly Floor without any “Nay” votes (opposition).
The bill then went on to pass through a couple State Senate Committees, including Environmental Quality and Natural Resources.
Through the process of this legislative effort, we forced the City of Newport Beach to acknowledge the ultimate authority of the California Coastal Commission, and submit a new Coastal Development Permit conceding that the city must keep all 60 fire rings.
The process also highlighted the flaws and deceptiveness of our opponents’ arguments, their pseudo-science related to wood smoke and Rule 444. It also provided an opportunity to highlight the politics behind how all this started, and advocate for reform of some of the corruption on the SCAQMD – caused primarily by SCAQMD Chairman Burke (see “History” tab).
The process of promoting AB 1102 also kept the issue of the fire rings alive in the public eye. The fire rings continued to be one of the central issues in the November 2014 election. Political experts agreed – local elected officials who made the mistake of opposing the fire rings, incurred the wrath of the voters – ALL”anti-fire ring” candidates lost in 2014 city council and State Assembly elections.
As a former Assembly Speaker quipped, the fire rings are “kryptonite” to California candidates who wish to publicly oppose them. The fire rings are just as popular than baseball and apple pie!