Officials give account of Fourth of July at La Jolla Shores

Once again this Fourth of July holiday, La Jolla Shores beach was filled with party-goers setting up illegal tents, July 3-4. Resigned to the yearly nuisance, La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) chair Nick LeBeouf said during the July 12 meeting, “We understand that this is going to happen, so (people should) go somewhere else if they don’t want to see it.”

San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Lt. Erwin Manansala attended the meeting and apologized for the lack of enforcement in the area (tents with all four sides closed are not allowed at San Diego beaches at any time). “We try to address the issue as best we can, but basically, what it boils down to is a staffing issue. We only have so many officers to handle the entire coastal area (South Mission Beach to Torrey Pines) for the Fourth of July weekend,” Manansala said.

With 84 officers to cover 21 square miles of beach (Point Medanos to the Torrey Pines Gliderport) and 900,000 visitors, SDPD Northern Division officials said they were overwhelmed. Over the four-day weekend, patrol units responded to 1,100 calls for service, 438 citations were issued and 106 people were arrested — 91 of them for public intoxication.

“(We understand) the tent issue at Kellogg Park is near your heart because it touches on your quality of life here,” Manansala explained. “But we only have 84 officers in that particular area, and for us, to take enforcement against 500 people and 500 tents is quite an arduous task. At that point, it’s just a matter of containing, dealing with issues, primarily trying to standby and take action on the alcohol-related things that happen.”

Lifeguard Lt. Rich Stropky offered his perspective of the holiday weekend at The Shores. “We had the same old issues at the parking lot; everything was filled to capacity,” he reported. “We were busy to an extent, but we didn’t have as many rescues as last summer, which was probably one of our biggest summers,” due to beach and weather conditions. “Last year there were a lot stronger rip currents because of winter storms.”

According to Stropky’s numbers, 80,000 people visited The Shores that weekend; lifeguards performed 1,000 preventive acts, 41 medical aids and 10 rescues. He added that Saturday, July 1 was the least busy with 15,000 beach-goers (200 preventive actions, one medical aid and six rescues), followed by Sunday, July 2 with 25,000 people (300 preventive acts, 30 medical aids and two rescues). Finally, on July 4, The Shores had an attendance of 40,000 people, with lifeguards performing 500 preventive acts, 30 medical aids and two rescues.

In other LJSA news:

BigBelly trash cans: LJSA trustee and Shores Business Association president Angie Preisendorfer said local business leaders are working on a solution to the problems surrounding the BigBelly solar-powered trash cans located on Avenida de la Playa. The bins, which compact trash and are commonly used at parks and beaches, were purchased years ago, and “There’s some conflict with who empties them, so they’re packed,” she reported.

The La Jolla Shores resident said the trash cans are in a state of disrepair and they’re working in repairing the wiring and solar energy systems. “That’s going to cost about $1,500,” she added. There are three BigBelly trash cans on the street, and the businesses nearby are in charge of maintaining them.

Walter Munk Way: City Council member Barbara Bry’s field representative, Mauricio Medina, announced that a vote to make La Jolla Shores boardwalk’s honorary name “Walter Munk Way,” was set for Tuesday, July 18 at Council Chambers. He added that since the item was non-controversial, it would likely pass on the consent agenda. “Sometime in October, we need to go down there and celebrate,” he said. Munk, a world renowned and locally beloved SIO scientist, will turn 100 years old this fall.

—The LJSA August meeting was canceled. LJSA next meets 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 8840 Biological Grade.

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