Mailbag: Cleaner-burning fire rings are a 'win-win'

Would you take your children to a beach where 800 people were smoking cigarettes? How about
exposing them to recreational radium as part of the beach tradition? Then why subject them to fire rings?

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is moving forward with development of clean-burning beach fire pits, and Newport Beach is interested.

We should all be more than interested in what's behind this win-win solution. It could be the best way to preserve tradition and cherished beach nostalgia — without the carcinogenic hangover from burning wood.

We've learned that burning wood, even "clean" wood, is harmful to human health. AQMD air monitoring shows harmful fine particulate matter from just one wood-burning bonfire.

On the heels of the AQMD data comes recent news from the World Health Organization, which has placed particulate matter in air pollution on its Group 1 list of carcinogens.

The future is arriving fast, and we should be prepared to save the tradition of beach fire pits — with cleaner-burning fuels.

Barbara Peters

Newport Beach


Boiling over rate hike

I recently received a notice of the proposed water rate increase from Mesa Water District. Having previously worked there, I was very familiar with the increase from 4 1/2 years ago, when rates rose about 25% over that same time period.

The proposed rates are now asking for an additional 18% over the next five years. I tried to figure out why the district needs that additional money when its revenues are clearly greater than expenses.

Based on financial reports available on its website, operating expenses from 2009 through the 2014 proposed budget increased 14%. So why does it need an additional 18%?

I think the district just wants to accumulate cash and boast that it has a strong credit rating so that when it has to issue debt in 20 or so years, the money it collects from me today will help make the next generation's borrowing slightly less expensive.

Glynis Litvak

Costa Mesa


Reuse everyday items

If you dispose of your clothes after wearing them once and you throw out your plate at the end of each meal, then our city's new rules regarding shopping bags might seem unnecessarily burdensome. However, if you use your apparel and plates many times, then your shopping bags should be reusable too.

While cleaning the items we use on a regular basis can certainly be inconvenient, it is the proper and sensible thing to do.

Chris Borg

Huntington Beach


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