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Beach Fire Ring Critic Quits Coastal Commission

William Burke, who likened the smoke from Newport fire pits to carpet-bombing in Vietnam, remains in charge of the AQMD, which wants to outlaw all beach bonfires in SoCal. One legislator says he should step down from that agency instead.

Under fire for comparing the smoke from beach bonfires to aerial views of carpet-bombing during the Vietnam War, William A. Burke has resigned from the state Coastal Commission, according to news reports.

The move follows complaints from two state legislators that Burke's position on the coastal panel conflicted with his role as chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Southern California's anti-smog agency, according to a story in the Orange County Register.

The AQMD is angling to ban beach fire rings throughout Southern California, an idea supported by Newport Beach officials but opposed by Huntington Beach and San Clemente bigwigs. The state Coastal Commission has also been involved in the debate, but has held off action while the AQMD weighs in.

Assemblyman Allan Mansoor of Costa Mesa, who supports beach fire fits, said Burke resigned from the wrong board.

"I'm glad that Mr. Burke agrees with us that there is a conflict of interest, but his resignation from the Coastal Commission does not resolve it," Mansoor told The Register. "The law is clear ... that the appropriate remedy for a conflict like this is the forfeiture of the oldest office. Since Mr. Burke's most recent appointment was to the Coastal Commission, he should, by law, resign from AQMD instead. I urge him to do so, and continue to look forward to the official opinion from the Attorney General."

Earlier this month, Burke raised eyebrows by likening bonfire smoke in Newport Beach to wartime bombing. As reported in OCWeekly, he said: "The aerial view of Newport Beach fire rings looks like a carpet bombing then, I'm telling you," Burke said. "Now,that had gone from my mind maybe 20 to 30 years ago, but I looked at the aerial photograph and I thought, 'Oh my god, this is Vietnam revisited.' "

jeff s April 19, 2013 at 01:57 PM
That guy is an immature foolish sheltered liberal fooool. If he had really seen any real bombs he would keep his foolish yap shut. What a doof. How embarrassing for the AQMD. He should visit big bear or arrowhead and try to outlaw the entire mountain, after all they have wood burning fireplaces up there!!! Oh no!!
Joker Joe April 19, 2013 at 03:14 PM
We need another law.
ms.sc. April 19, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Lol :-)
PK May 06, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Personally I think the fire pits suck.. cheers kooks.

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