*Short videos below
It has been a little over a year since we last reported on the Coronado Beach fire rings issue. Due to our video and photographic documentation along with promptings from concerned citizens at Coronado City Council meetings, the City responded in the Spring of 2014 with updating ordinances and signage over fires at the beach, adding that wood must be ‘clean wood’ with no metal, and not allowing fire material to exceed 12″ inches above the lip of the fire ring or receptacle that a fire is burning in. To help with enforcement, for the Summer of 2014 they hired Elite Security, stationing one security guard at North Beach to keep beachgoers from taking pallets and other wood with metal to the fire rings. They also provided a dumpster placed by the end of the rocks there for debris that isn’t allowed to be burned to be deposited.
This brought some improvement over the Summer but throughout the Summer and for the remainder of the year we were still seeing fires outside of the fire rings, firewood being burned that isn’t allowed under the new ordinance, and plenty of nails both inside and outside of the fire rings. We believe that a lack of enforcement and poor city management is the main reason why. The following videos demonstrate that effective enforcement is not happening. Beach cleanup crews are not to blame, poor law enforcement and poor city management are to blame. Before the new ordinance additions, Coronado Police Department told us that their hands were tied, that they couldn’t enforce ‘unclean wood’ (with metal, paint, varnishes) because there was nothing in the ordinance that allowed them to. Now what is their excuse?
Recently, on June 15, 2015 we contacted Coronado Police Department dispatch and made a verbal complaint of there being 3-4 pallets (not burning) at the first fire ring at North Beach. They said that they would send Officers to that area, and they did. We returned about 30 minutes later to find that after the Officer(s) visited the fire rings that the pallets were still there. Why didn’t CPD have the beachgoers remove the pallets (with nails) from the beach? Later, on June 23, 2015 we communicated with Commander Ochoa from CPD in phone and email correspondence about this. Commander Ochoa followed up by checking dispatch recordings and responded by email saying,
Our officers were dispatched [June 15] 7:25 PM. And our (3) officers arrived at 7:29 PM. Officers made contact with several groups and advised them of the municipal code. The groups were cooperative with us and thus were not cited for the violation.
The group(s) may have been cooperative but when we returned to North Beach the pallets were not removed, and we had seen CPD driving away from the beach. When we responded via email to Commander Ochoa and asked why the Officers did not have the pallets removed, we received no response. The Commander does not say or mention at all in his email comment above that the pallets were removed. Our opinion is that they are not enforcing the ordinances over the fire rings area and you can see evidence of our claim in the videos below that show a chronology of violations of the fire rings area. We didn’t document every day that we could, that isn’t possible in our busy, daily life, but we can tell you that we have seen plenty more that we did not document. None of this should be happening, ever, if the ordinances were regularly enforced and if citations were written. In fact, not a single citation has been written at Coronado Beach in the past two years for beach fire violations. Coronado Police Chief Jon Froomin emailed us beach citation data spanning a period from 1-1-2013 to 1-10-2014 that contains two citations for camping on the beach, two for smoking, and one for glass, that’s it… and NONE for illegal fires or trashing the beach, or burning wood that isn’t ‘clean.’ How is it that we can have so much video of clear evidence of violations and not a single citation has ever been written over the fires? How hard is it to see a fire on the sand at night? Why isn’t CPD actively enforcing and citing those that light fires outside of the fire rings, and that bring wood down that has nails or other metal materials in it? It isn’t the beach cleanup crew’s job to enforce the new ordinances, they are there the next morning to clean up the mess. Lifeguards could help but that’s not their primary duty, and they are off the clock by nightfall. So that leaves Coronado Police Department to enforce the ordinances, day and night. Why aren’t they doing that? Why isn’t City Management on top of this? Their solutions to the problem are not working, the use of the fire rings and fires on the beach are out of control.
See Chronology of Videos Below:
#1 – September 14, 2014
#2 – September 14, 2014
#3 – September 14, 2014
September 30, 2014
#1 – October 7, 2014
#2 – October 7, 2014
June 15, 2015
* Stay tuned we have more recent videos being posted sometime soon.