Why Some Tourism Marketing District Dollars Need To Go To Lifeguards

Lifeguard Tower in Ocean Beach, California

Lifeguard Tower in Ocean Beach, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ed Harris spoke to the Club on Sunday 24 February and gave a clear exposition of how “all politics is local”.

The lifeguards were extolled by Mayor Sanders as a model of efficiency. They ingeniously courted sponsorship deals with major brands (such as Toyota) to save San Diego City money but still their training, equipment and personnel budgets were cut. During that same time period other city departments, including Mayor Sanders’ office, were given raises.

San Diego has just 90 full-time lifeguards (175 in the summer) covering 26 miles of beaches, and performing 4-6,000 water rescues per year. Equipment and facilities need updating, and training is necessary to avoid injuries. Safe beaches help the tourism economy, unsafe beaches damage it (as Cocoa Beach, Florida discovered 2005-07, PDF).

Tourism is in the headlines this week, with lots of discussion around the Tourism Marketing District and the allocation of millions of dollars to promote San Diego as a vacation destination.

Along with seeking better legal protections for the city and a shorter term for the agreement, Mayor Filner is asking that the downtown hotels pay their employees a living wage and he wants a cut of the hotel ‘fee’ for other city services, such as lifeguards.

The contrast between Bob Filner and Jerry Sanders over this issue is clear. Sanders for years paid lip service to the needs of the lifeguards, whereas Filner within months is acting in their, and consequently our, interest.

Let’s just consider this incident that happened earlier today, Tuesday 26 February to understand how investing in lifeguards is a proper use of ‘marketing’ dollars and promotes tourism in San Diego.

At 1200 hours today, a 61 year old male was spotted by Mike Manley (in the observation tower at La Jolla Shores) floating face down in shallow water in front of the North Restrooms at La Jolla Shores. The victim was still attached to his surf board. Mike radioed to his crew. Neal Collins was in the garage and immediately bolted across the beach and was the first guard on scene. Neal grabbed the victim and began to pull him from the water. Bruce Jamison and Sgt. Sandmeyer were not far behind. The patient was not breathing and had no pulse. Neal started CPR. Also in the area was off duty Lifeguard I Amanda Scarski who also responded and assisted. As CPR was being performed, an airway was inserted, BVM was applied, and of course the AED. Not long after this, the AED indicated shock, which was applied. The victim’s pulse was restored. Rescue breathing continued by the guards. Shortly after, the patient began to regain consciousness. By the time the patient was being loaded into the ambulance he was talking and asking what happened. He had no recollection of the event.

This was an absolutely outstanding job performed by our Lifeguards! It started by the diligent water observation by Mike and an incredible spot. His radio transmission to his team was calm, clear and professional. The response from crew at the Shores was extremely fast and proficient. They worked in excellent harmony. Every lifeguard knew what to do and what their job was. As a result, this man was sent to the hospital alive and talking. What an AWESOME rescue. Great job to the entire team!

Rick Wurts
Lifeguard Chief
San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, Lifeguard Division
2581 Quivira Court
San Diego, CA 92109

Correction: this piece was updated on 2/27 to state that San Diego has 90 full-time lifeguards, during the summer this number is 175.

Feb 26 – Documentary | MAKERS 8pm KPBS

Makers logoFor the first time on television, MAKERS tells the inspiring story of the modern American women’s movement. Narrated by Meryl Streep and told with music, humor, and first-hand accounts of the women who lived through these turbulent times, MAKERS covers the dizzying joy, aching frustration and ultimate triumph of a movement that turned America upside-down.

Visit the website MAKERS

Gun Owner vs. McConnell

Gary Nutt is a gun owner and veteran.

He’s not happy that his senator, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, is standing in the way of sensible gun laws. Especially after gun interests spent $198,615 to elect McConnell.

So Gary worked with BoldProgressive.org to make a powerful TV ad calling for strong gun laws.

Latest poll shows that Kentucky voters favor an assault weapons ban by 50%-42%. But Senator McConnell is threatening to abuse Senate rules and block gun reform.

BoldProgressives.org’s ad reminds folks that McConnell is not on their side. He sides with big gun manufacturers who spent $198,615 to elect him.

Let’s go on offense! Watch the ad — and donate $3 to help air it in Washington DC and Mitch McConnell’s homestate of Kentucky? Click here.

Mar 2 – Pacific Beach Democratic Club Meeting – America’s World Service Corps

Castle Grounds

Castle Grounds (Photo credit: savemejebus)

Find out whether E Pluribus Unum is relevant in today’s world.

Concerned about climate change, educational inequality, unemployment, widening income gap, cultural ignorance, dumbed-down electorate, growing greed, softening character, increased domestic and international needs, re-emerging poverty, war as the answer…?

Do you think spending $1 million dollars per Star Trek looking soldier during this looming era of perpetual “conflict” is inculcating us with monetary insanity and economic Armageddon?

Tired of seeing our soldiers and Marines worn out, burdened by lost limbs, and loaded with PTSD thanks to wars based on fear and ignorance that breed the alarming numbers who despise us enough to be stealth warriors?

Wonder if there is enough concern, initiative, and vision in Congress to legislate and in the Executive Branch to enact answers to today’s problems?

Might you be interested in assessing some simple, cost effective, common sense based, citizen-initiated congressional legislation that answers these and next generation problems?

If so, bring a friend to the Pacific Beach Democratic Club meeting of March 2nd and learn about the Congressional Proposal to create America’s World Service Corps.

And if you have kids or grandkids, this is for them.

Dwayne Hunn
[email protected]

Saturday 2 March, 2013 at 11am

At the Pacific Beach Recreation Center, 1405 Diamond St, San Diego, CA 92109

For more info:

World Service Corps
The Peoples Lobby
The AWSC Proposal

Some OpEd coverage

Want to know more about Every Town Needs a Castle book and Rubelia?
Film shoot shots
The Book
At Amazon
Kids like Castles by Mike

Support Filner’s Call for an End to Poverty Wages at Downtown Hotels

marriott-marinaJoin CPI in supporting Mayor Filner’s call for an end to poverty wages at downtown hotels.

Please add your voice by writing a short note on why you think our hotels should provide a decent living for their employees and city officials should say NO to poverty wages.  One or two sentences will do. (See below for facts you may want to reference.) 

Use this form and CPI will send your letter to KPBS, San Diego City Beat, Voice of San Diego, San Diego Free Press and the UNION Tribune.

Need facts for your letter? Try these:

  • San Diego’s hotel owners are threatening to sue the city to get $1 billion over the next four decades, but many don’t pay their employees enough to live on.
  • Tourism is an $8 billion industry in San Diego, yet it pays a median of $24,400 a year for fulltime work. [Details available in our Poverty Report].
  • A single adult needs to make about $28,000 to live self-sufficiently in San Diego County – or double that to support a family. [Read more in our “Making Ends Meet” report]
  • Hotels are a big part of the tourism industry, which pays the lowest wages, on average, of all San Diego’s major industries. That’s part of the reason one in three families in the county lives in economic hardship.
  • Many hotels often don’t offer healthcare for employees, or make it unaffordable. At Doubletree San Diego, housekeepers make only $8 an hour and have to pay $400 a month for family healthcare. There’s no excuse for such poverty jobs: the nearby Hilton San Diego Bayfront pays $15.50 an hour and provides full family healthcare for only $50 a month.
  • Low-wage jobs without healthcare coverage depress the spending power of the community and raise costs for taxpayers as workers must depend on public aid programs.
  • Hotels do well in San Diego. They need to do well by San Diego. If they expect to receive public funds, it’s only fair that hotel owners act responsibly and provide good-paying local jobs.

Please don’t delay or count on others to speak up. The hoteliers are pulling out the stops in their efforts to avoid paying decent wages. Let your voice be heard!