Lifeguards Beg Council: ‘Come to Our Rescue’

Claim Mayor’s budget shortchanges them

By Gene Cubbison
|  Friday, May 25, 2012  |  Updated 4:40 PM PDT
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Lifeguards Beg Council: ‘Come to Our Rescue’

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San Diego city lifeguards are speaking out about a new city budget plan which they say leaves them under-funded and under-trained.

Mayor Sanders' revised budget got its first public airing Friday after being released Wednesday, to great fanfare.

It includes a previously unexpected boost of $12 million for core services, such as more police officers and fire fighters.

Lifeguards say it shortchanges them.

Friday morning, their union leaders told the City Council, which held a public hearing on the mayor's budget, that their staffing levels are inadequate – as is their funding for required training cycles.

They pointed out that they've helped the city by arranging partnerships with private firms such as Toyota, which has donated 34 vehicles to the lifeguard fleet, allowing older units to be sold off.

But they say they still need more operational funding.

"We're optimistic that the Council will come to our rescue again,” said Lifeguard Sgt. Ed Harris, who represents Teamsters Local 911, the lifeguards’ official city bargaining unit.

“We have to depend on the Council to get our budget and our things," Harris added.  "They're a little closer to the issues. We anticipate that they'll hopefully reach out and give us that hand that we need.”

The Council can make adjustments to the mayor's revised budget before a June 11 vote that's subject to veto.

The spending plan allocates more money for library hours, arts, culture and homeless programs.

 

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