Children's Pool ranger transfers out as confrontations continue

This photo was taken on March 27 about 7:30 p.m. by a visitor from Detroit, Mark Muessig. It appears the people with the umbrella are behind the rope barrier.
This photo was taken on March 27 about 7:30 p.m. by a visitor from Detroit, Mark Muessig. It appears the people with the umbrella are behind the rope barrier.

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

Lisa Wilson, the ranger recently hired by the city of San Diego to patrol Children’s Pool, has requested and been granted a transfer.

“That ranger position will effectively be open on Saturday (April 2),” said Stacey LoMedico, the city’s Park and Recreation director, adding funding for that position derived from an anonymous donor is scheduled to run out June 30.

“Funding was for one fiscal year,” she said. Any request to renew funding for that ranger position will have to go through the usual annual city budget deliberation process.

“The mayor’s proposed budget comes out April 15,” LoMedico said, noting the donation for the Children’s Pool ranger ‘s salary is being handled through the San Diego Foundation.

Asked whether the ranger would be replaced temporarily, LoMedico replied: “We’re evaluating our options now.”

“I understand the Park and Recreation Department plans to bring back provisional Park Ranger Randy Hawley to patrol the Children's Pool while they work to identify longer-term options,” said First District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner. “I am very committed to keeping the Ranger program going. I believe the ranger provides the best solution to ensure that all visitors to the Children's Pool have a safe and enjoyable experience while also keeping the seals safe.”

Lightner added private fundraising efforts are ongoing to ensure the program can continue beyond the end of this fiscal year on June 30.

Meanwhile, altercations at Children’s Pool have been on the increase, with both pro-seal and pro-beach access parties challenging the legal status quo at the pool.

Seal advocates continue to operate a “free speech” table at the pool without a permit, while those advocating open access to the beach continue to recreate at the beach near seals. One group had a campfire there last weekend, that appeared from photos taken by a tourist from Detroit to be inside the rope barrier.

A police spokesman said officers responded to a call complaining about shouting match and possible altercation last weekend, but no one was cited.

“As long as their behavior does not aggravate or flush those seals, they’re within their legal rights,” said San Diego Police Lt. Jim Filley.

Those interested in contributing to the ranger program can contact Lightner’s office at 619-236-6611 or e-mail

sherrilightner@sandiego.gov

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