Association will ask city to station ranger at La Jolla Shores beach

Donna Derrick and Barbara Denny show off a photo of a plaque similar to what they would like placed at The Shores. Ashley Mackin
Donna Derrick and Barbara Denny show off a photo of a plaque similar to what they would like placed at The Shores. Ashley Mackin

By Ashley Mackin

The La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) held its monthly meeting May 8 to discuss the steps for acquiring a ranger at The Shores beach, hear the monthly lifeguard report, and consider a request from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

■ Ranger request:

LJSA members agreed there is a need for a ranger at The Shores, which would require raising approximately $100,000, because the city does not currently have the funds to support the position.

Member Mary Coakley-Munk said a ranger’s presence is direly needed based on the number of visitors who frequent the locale. “The per square foot usage at Kellogg Park is ridiculous, it’s so beyond carrying capacity,” she said.

District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner’s representative, Erin Demorest, told the group that if the money were raised, the city could have a ranger stationed there immediately, for one year.

Board member Izzy Tihanyi said fees paid by Shores business owners — which would cover a ranger’s annual salary — go to the city’s general fund as opposed to the local community. “If fees go to the city’s general fund, it should be called a tax,” she said. “But the city doesn’t want us to refer to it as a tax, they want us to call it a fee; and a fee goes back to the program that generated it.”

Board Chair Tim Lucas agreed, suggesting that local business fees should cover a ranger. “If they don’t want to give the money directly to the community, put it toward the (law) enforcement and the park management they need,” he said.

The LJSA agreed to write a letter to the city requesting a ranger be stationed at The Shores, and possibly paid for through business-owner “fees.”

■ Lifeguard activity:

New lifeguard Ben Lewis reported that in April there were 18 rescues, 30 medical aids, eight lost-and-found cases and one detention at The Shores beach, and 150,000 people were counted as visitors.

He said his unit also assisted in a rescue five miles off La Jolla, where a boat capsized and the father and two sons on board were deemed “in serious condition.” With choppy water conditions, Lewis reported the bilge of the boat was overworked and short-circuited. As a result, the boaters could not issue a Mayday call and were in the water for three to four hours before they were rescued.

In regard to the new lifeguard tower, which will “hopefully” open at The Shores this summer, Lewis said lifeguards need to move every- thing from the old tower to the new tower, and the old tower must be demolished.

However, asbestos was found in the old tower’s roof, and needs to be abated before the old tower can be demolished, he said. Originally planned to open before Memorial Day, it is more likely the new tower would be ready for lifeguards on June 1.

Acknowledging public safety issues, Erin Demorest said it was her understanding the city would work through the summer construction moratorium if it didn’t finish the new tower by Memorial Day.

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