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‘Pretty darn good’: San Diego police report a quieter Labor Day weekend in La Jolla than expected

San Diego police Lt. Rick Aguilar addresses the La Jolla Town Council on Sept. 8.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The latter part of the Labor Day weekend in La Jolla was less busy than expected for San Diego police, Lt. Rick Aguilar told the La Jolla Town Council during its Sept. 8 meeting at the Recreation Center.

“It was pretty darn good,” Aguilar said.

The Police Department pulled in 135 officers from other divisions to help out over the three-day weekend Sept. 3-5, with a total of 165 officers working on the coast in the Northern Division, which includes La Jolla, Aguilar said.

Summertime staffing levels end for the department on Saturday, Sept. 17, Aguilar said. Extra officers will then return to their divisions.

Aguilar said he is working with Capt. Scott Wahl to fully staff beach teams from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and night teams Wednesdays through Saturdays once summer staffing ends.

Aguilar said a street “takeover” at the intersection of La Jolla Boulevard and Via del Norte in La Jolla — one of a series of “sideshows” around San Diego County on Sept. 3 that resulted in officers from the San Diego and National City police departments and the California Highway Patrol arresting 11 people and citing an additional 51 — is still being investigated.

“They’re not done yet,” Aguilar said.

A takeover, during which drivers show off their cars and perform stunts, often draw large crowds. Aguilar said tire tracks were left behind after the La Jolla incident.

San Diego’s ABLE police helicopter, which has vision capability for up to 2½ miles, picked up license plate numbers that officers will use to find and impound vehicles that were involved, Aguilar said.

Vehicle owners involved in the takeover might pay up to $3,000 for impound, court and damage fees, Aguilar said.

La Jolla beaches drew large crowds on Labor Day weekend, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Lt. Lonnie Stephens.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Meanwhile, lifeguards have had a “very, very, very busy summer,” according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Lt. Lonnie Stephens, with crowds he hadn’t seen in his 35 years of service.

Summer lifeguard staffing levels ended on Labor Day, Stephens said, with La Jolla pocket beaches such as Marine Street and Windansea reduced to coverage from 2 p.m. to sunset.

Sidewalk vending

Steve Hadley, representing San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said “there is no defined date” yet to begin enforcement of new city sidewalk vending regulations in the coastal zone.

The ordinance went into effect in most of the city June 22, but enforcement of many components focusing largely on where vendors can operate was delayed in the coastal zone, including La Jolla, pending approval by the California Coastal Commission.

However, San Diego officials said Aug. 26 that an agreement had been reached for the Coastal Commission to withdraw its review, except pertaining to pushcarts.

Coastal residents upset by a growing presence of sidewalk vendors may be breathing a sigh of relief in coming months, as San Diego officials said Aug. 26 that an agreement has been reached to allow enforcement of new city vending regulations in the coastal zone without a hearing by the California Coastal Commission.

Hadley said Sept. 8 that the City Council will review the ordinance once more and it will become enforceable in the coastal zone 30 days later, sometime in October.

Rangers are responsible for the enforcement at shoreline parks, Hadley said, but ranger positions are not yet fully staffed, which may impact enforcement. ◆