Daily Pilot columnist Jack Wu's recent column about the fire pits of Newport's beaches, pictured, has sparked a slew of letters. (AMY SENK, Daily Pilot / March 26, 2012)

Re "Wu: Fire pit removal illustrates lack of conservatism," March 25:

Your credibility is at stake if you have edited the above column, which erroneously portrays the Newport Beach City Council and Corona del Mar residents as being guided by racist or intrusive government motives.

If Jack Wu had properly researched the subject, he would find that:

1.) Many of the residents affected by the toxic smoke from smoldering fires were around before the expanded use of fire rings, that the rings were very few in number and, moreover, they consisted of impromptu pits dug into the sand. Only after the expansion in numbers of government employees (which would be antithetical to Wu's claimed Republican ideals) did the neat rows of some 27 concrete structures appear. Further aesthetic desecration occurred with the more recent arrival of the 27 unsightly companion trash containers.

2) The ethnic composition of beach visitors has not changed since the 1960s, only the numbers. The welcome daytime use by Latino families is easily distinguished from those fire ring users who seek the cover of darkness. Have Wu check the time of day and names recorded on the myriad police reports.

3) The alleged sentiments of former councilman Dick Nichols (not "Nick Nichols") should not be used to stereotype residents — an insinuation employed by your rookie columnist who substituted his own conjecture for facts in a feeble effort to indict those he picks on.

Wu somehow tried to weave in his opposition to "yachts" (not boats) that he laments are polluters worse than the toxic smoke creators. Tolerated, of course, by our city, whose leaders therefore are hypocritical and must be anything but "conservative."

Wu goes on with a non sequitur about limitation on parking places in Corona del Mar, as if that would somehow be eased by retention of an attractive nuisance in the form of fire pits.

Wu's assertions play right into the Democrats' class warfare games and that will make it easy to distinguish with whom he sides, should he ever make the mistake of seeking political office in an area where his writings reveal the perversity of his claimed political affiliation. Best that Wu switch to the party that brought us slavery, opposition to the Civil Rights Act and the KKK, among other distinguishing identities of the Democrats.

As a resident for more than half a century of old Corona del Mar, I resent him for trying to malign those of us whose intentions are to elevate the quality of life for all those who both live in and visit our beautiful and well-governed city.

Dean Wilson

Corona del Mar


Emotion trumped health

It seems very clear that Jack Wu is more mean-spirited than well-informed. He is quite adept with sarcasm, however.

I do not know what this "conservative," who ran as a Democrat in Irvine, has for an agenda, but it certainly is not health and safety. Let's start with my right as an individual not to have known carcinogenic smoke forced upon me, my neighbors, those working in the area or the "innocents" visiting the beach.

Science and research, as well as medical testimony, support the council's decision. The decision was not made nor should it be rescinded based on "noise," how many people show up to speak or potential votes. The decision should be made on everyone's God-given right to safety and opportunity to enjoy good health.

Now for the facts that Wu cavalierly seems to dismiss.

The Air Quality Management District, pulmonologists (one testified at the council meeting), American Lung Assn. and the Environmental Protection Agency have all stated that it is extremely dangerous to breathe smoke from wood fires, more so than cigarettes! This may be news to Wu, but wood-burning fireplaces are no longer allowed to be built in new or remodeled homes in the four southern counties of California.

Why? Because the smoke they produce is considered dangerous. In an area of about two CdM residential lots, there are 27 fire pits producing fires significantly larger than any residential fireplace, 360 days a year! Restricting operations is like cutting back to a pack a day. It doesn't cure the problem.