Debra J. Saunders

When I mentioned Allen's populist argument, Atwood countered, "Why doesn't everyone deserve clean air regardless of their economic status? What we're talking about is an air quality issue, yes, on the downwind residents who are high-income -- but also those who are at the beach," who may be low-income.

Problem: That 700-foot buffer sure seems to shield the beach-view clique and not the hoi polloi.

For Allen, this is a perfect wave of a political issue. The GOP Moondoggie is savoring the opportunity to stand against the mansion class and speak for those who can't afford to fall asleep to the gentle sound of the surf.

Huntington Beach businesses have united against a bad bureaucratic fiat. In a pro-bonfire video, city marketing director Madison Fisher described the bonfires as "one of the last inexpensive things that a family can do together."

Surf City USA has a slogan to save the bonfires: "Keep your mitts off our pits."

To keep the bonfires burning, Allen co-authored Assembly Bill 1102 with Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, which effectively would override the air district's fire pit regulations, set to commence March 1, pending a permit from the pro-access California Coastal Commission. AB 1102 passed through two committees without a single no vote. Given that a pro-pit nonbinding resolution breezed through both houses of the state Legislature with bipartisan support last year, Allen has every reason to believe he will prevail.

Cowabunga. What state elected official doesn't want to side with the beach-loving public in a turf war with party poopers who bought houses at the beach, only to declare war because they have to put up with beach lovers -- and then get local officials to do their dirty work?

I can't help it. This story brings out the inner Gidget in me.

So does Travis Allen like this fight? Do fish mate in the ocean? "It's what your elected officials should be doing for you," he smiled.

Email Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@sfchronicle.com. To find out more about Debra J. Saunders and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Debra J. Saunders


 
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