Children’s Pool ranger salary could be better spent

Just wondering aloud: Doesn’t the city have better things to spend money on than a ranger for the Children’s Pool?

Somehow Parks & Recreation administrators found a way to budget more than $40,000 to hire a person to patrol the area. When the concept was first introduced more than a year ago, Councilwoman Sherri Lightner came up with an anonymous donor to fund the position. But apparently the job isn’t quite like other ranger spots in the city as the first person permanently assigned to the job quit just weeks after taking the assignment. Since then, the situation has neither deteriorated nor improved dramatically.

As outlined by our councilwoman, the concept — “to ensure that all visitors to the Children’s Pool have a safe and enjoyable experience while also keeping the seals safe” — seemed like a good one when it was privately funded.

The city’s job description says rangers are “to assist the public in the use of open space park facilities; to develop and conduct interpretive programs; to patrol open space parks to enforce park rules and regulations; and to perform related work.”

But knowing the turf issues between the seal supporters and beach access folks, we think it’s an impossible assignment that is more “policing” than assisting or educating. Will the new ranger — who spent the past three years in Chula Vista as a senior ranger — be charged with shutting down the displays of those who sell tie-dye T-shirts without permits or stopping the screaming that repeatedly draws officers off the streets of our community? Will he be tasked with walking the rope line to keep people away from the seals?

We think this may be an impossible task. So why spend the money there? Why not let the police or lifeguards handle that part of the task, as they did before the ranger concept was proposed.

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