Lifeguard and police staffing heading up for summer in La Jolla

Lifeguard staffing in La Jolla will increase over the next two months to summer levels.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The La Jolla Shores Association approves use of the beach for the La Jolla Cove 10 Mile Relay, agrees to donate $500 for a new shade sail at Kellogg Park and hears updates on landscape maintenance.


Lifeguard staffing at La Jolla’s beaches has begun increasing incrementally as summer approaches, and police staffing will rise at the end of May, officials told the La Jolla Shores Association last week.

Lifeguard increases will continue through May until full summer staffing is achieved by the second Friday in June, according to San Diego lifeguard Lt. Lonnie Stephens. Summer lifeguard staffing will continue through Labor Day, Sept. 4.

Riptide conditions “remain very hazardous due to all the coastal erosion we had” during recent storms, Stephens said at LJSA’s April 12 meeting.

The rip current risk is higher from more severe slopes into deeper waters, local scientists say.

Stephens encouraged people “to always swim or conduct your water activity during our operational hours, when we can keep an eye on you.”

San Diego police officers also are gearing up for summer, according to Lt. Bryan Brecht of the Police Department’s Northern Division, which includes La Jolla.

Starting Memorial Day weekend, “we will be getting an additional seven officers from commands throughout the city to beef up our beach teams,” Brecht said. A total of 14 officers and two sergeants will provide coverage daily on the beaches in the Northern Division, he said.

Other LJSA news

La Jolla Cove 10 Mile Relay: The board unanimously approved use of the beach at La Jolla Shores for the annual La Jolla Cove 10 Mile Relay, which raises funds for the American Diabetes Association and the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego.

Relay organizer Tom Hecker said about 600 swimmers are expected to participate in the event, which will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, with teams of swimmers taking on a 1-mile loop in the ocean off The Shores.

Setup will begin at 6 a.m., Hecker said, and the event will finish around 1 p.m. Cleanup will be completed by 1:30 p.m., he said.

Activities will take place mainly at the beach. Use of the adjacent Kellogg Park will be limited to the “comfort stations,” and three additional portable toilets and several trash containers will be brought in for the event.

New shade sail: LJSA also approved a $500 donation from its treasury for a new shade sail over the playground at Kellogg Park.

Mary Coakley Munk, president of the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans, asked for the donation on the foundation’s behalf because the previous shade sail, installed in 2012, has been damaged and removed.

A shade sail over the playground at Kellogg Park needs to be replaced.
A shade sail over the playground at Kellogg Park needs to be replaced.
(Mary Coakley Munk)

The shade sail project will cost about $31,000, Coakley Munk said. She added that the foundation has raised $22,000 so far.

There also will be a storyboard about J.J. the Orphaned Baby Gray Whale, a lifesize statue of which sits at the playground for children to climb and play on.

Donors of $250 or more will be mentioned on the storyboard, Coakley Munk said.

“The whole area from the Munk Map to the children’s playground really takes community effort to maintain and develop,” said LJSA board member Mike McCormack.

Coakley Munk said she hopes to have the work completed before Memorial Day, Monday, May 29. To donate, email or call (619) 840-0250.

Maintenance at “The Throat”: The plants at the medians at “The Throat” in La Jolla — the intersection of La Jolla Parkway, Torrey Pines Road and Hidden Valley Road — are “thriving,” according to Sal Serrano, grounds maintenance manager for the San Diego Parks & Recreation Department.

Serrano gave the update as part of city officials’ promise to provide more communication to La Jolla leaders following months of complaints about landscaping contractor Aztec Landscaping’s performance of maintenance duties.

Aztec employees have been working to spray and pull weeds in the medians to address increasing weed growth after the recent heavy rains, Serrano said.

“The sad news is we [lost] one of the Canary Island palms to the palm weevil,” he said. “In the next couple of weeks, we might have to remove that palm to avoid infestation of the other two palms.”

A parasitic beetle known as the South American palm weevil is a prime culprit in the loss of countless palm trees throughout San Diego County in the past few years.

Aztec reports biweekly to the city, Serrano said. He added that communications have improved from Aztec simply recording dates of service to including actions taken, such as pulling weeds or trimming.

San Diego officials will now report to LJSA on median maintenance quarterly, Emerson said, unless a problem arises.

Pottery Canyon cleanup: After the recent rains led to a proliferation of weeds in Pottery Canyon, an open-space park within The Shores boundaries, a San Diego Canyonlands brush management team conducted a “spring flash fuels cleanup,” said LJSA board member Claudia Baranowski.

The work focused on “preventing invasive weeds in those areas that had been cleared last year,” she said.

Team members trimmed weedy grasses, sprayed low invasive plants and hand-pulled any invasive plants that were too large to spray.

Native wildflower plants were left intact, Baranowski said.

The cleanup was funded by private donations.

The La Jolla Shores Association meets April 12 online.
The La Jolla Shores Association meets April 12 online.
(Screenshot by Elisabeth Frausto)

Board officers: The board voted unanimously to approve officers for the next year, including continuing Janie Emerson’s tenure as president.

The slate of officers also includes Sharon Luscomb as first vice president, Ross Rudolph as second vice president, Baranowski as secretary and Terry Kraszewski as treasurer.

Six trustees elected at the March meeting were sworn in during the April gathering by San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla. They are McCormack, Keys Allan, Richard Dahlberg, Ed Mackey, Kathleen Neil and Dr. Andrew Perry. Each will serve a one-year term.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Shores Association next meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, online. For more information, visit ◆