Ultra-wealthy Southern California residents have just won a victory in the battle to impose their social preferences on the poor. The neo-puritan landowners of Newport Beach, worried about their “asthma and allergies,” have convinced air-quality regulators to make it impossibly hard for the public to use the beach fire-pits that have lined California’s coast for half a century. Sixty fire pits in Newport will be removed, and local officials can now ban them entirely if they decide “that the fires are causing a nuisance.” The WSJ reports:
The governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District voted Friday to amend rules for 765 fire rings on the beaches of Los Angeles and Orange counties. […]
The new rules require that fire pits be located at least 700 feet from the nearest residence, or spaced 50 to 100 feet apart, depending on the total number of pits at a given beach. Fires aren’t allowed on days where the air-quality forecast calls for high levels of particulate matter. […]
Residents who have adamantly opposed any bans on the pits were upset with the ruling. Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach, who sponsored a state resolution to protect the fire-ring tradition, said the board “overstepped its bounds…to appease a small group of wealthy landowners at the expense of all Californians.”
This is what actual class warfare looks like: rich citizens winning legal battles to regulate and restrict the freedom of the lower classes to enjoy their beach communities.
One of the main functions of the progressive state has always been to impose the cultural and behavioral preferences of the upper middle class on the poor. Stopping immigrants and working class Angelenos from having noisy, disruptive fun along pristine waterfronts is exactly the kind of challenge that nanny state puritans long to solve. Now a relentless lobby campaign of purse-mouthed puritans has succeeded in taking yet another chunk of liberty from young working class people.
It’s starting to look like a trend: the law in California favors the preferences of the privileged over those of the poor.
[Image of fire-pit on California beach courtesy of Shutterstock]