Revised city budget funds full-time lifeguard at WindanSea Beach in La Jolla

By Pat Sherman

District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lighter is praising revisions to Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s nearly $3 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year. These include $50,000 for microbial foam treatments to reduce the odor from bird and marine mammal excrement at La Jolla Cove (as needed), and the restoration of a permanent, full-time lifeguard at WindanSea Beach.

“This is the best budget I’ve seen since I took office,” Lightner said. “We were thrilled to see funding for a WindanSea lifeguard and the Cove odor cleanup in the mayor’s May revise.”

Lightner requested the full-time lifeguard for WindanSea, which the city cut from its budget five years ago. The mayor’s revised budget allocates $115,395 for the position, to be funded from an excess of nearly $122,000 the city allocated for seasonal lifeguards in the coming fiscal year that San Diego Lifeguard Services Chief Rick Wurts said he does not need.

At present, only hourly, seasonal lifeguards are used to staff WindanSea Beach. The new, full-time lifeguard will begin July 1 and be a permanent addition. During summer, he or she will work four 10-hour days per week at WindanSea (most likely Thursdays through Sundays), and an additional two days with the lifeguard’s boating safety unit at Mission Bay (which also services the La Jolla coast).

From October to March, the full-time guard will work exclusively with the boating safety unit — which also assists with cliff rescues — then return to WindanSea Fridays and Saturdays during spring break.

From 9 a.m. to sunset mid-June to Labor Day (peak summer season), three seasonal guards will continue monitoring WindanSea on weekdays, and four seasonal guards will be there Saturday and Sunday — in addition to the full-time guard’s 40 hours.

District 2 City Councilmember Ed Harris, the former head of San Diego’s lifeguard union, said the full-time guard will oversee seasonal guards working from WindanSea north to the beach at Marine Street.

While most seasonal lifeguards have only a basic level of medical training, and can only issue basic warnings, full-time guards can issue citations and are certified as emergency medical technicians.

Harris said there are typically more crucial rescues at WindanSea, such as those involving neck and back injuries, which full-time lifeguards are better prepared to respond to. “We’ve always maintained that we needed a permanent lifeguard there,” Harris said.

During summer, La Jolla’s beaches are staffed by 30 seasonal and eight full-time lifeguards (including the new position), as well as two supervisors, Wurts said. Half patrol from La Jolla Shores to Black’s Beach, and the other half patrol the rocky beaches from WindanSea to La Jolla Cove (40 guards monitor La Jolla’s beaches on Saturdays in summer).

Additional funding

Lightner said she was also happy to see the mayor allocate money for brush management and a police helicopter from the additional $12 million he added to the city’s 2015 budget last week.

Items Lightner said she would still like to see added to the budget include two more workers to oversee compliance with the city’s living wage ordinance; a plan to address a proliferation of marine mammals along La Jolla’s coastline; and more money for tree trimming and acquiring library materials.

Though her request for a ranger at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores was not included last week, council members had until May 23 to send a memo to the city’s independent budget analyst listing their outstanding priorities.

“The budget season isn’t over yet and everything is still on the table,” Lightner told the


  1. “We’re hopeful that funding for these and other District 1 projects will make it into the final budget, which is expected to receive city council approval on June 9.”

Other La Jolla allocations

The City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture also awarded funding to the following La Jolla organizations for fiscal year 2015 (from Transient Occupancy Tax money):

La Jolla Playhouse

: $399,779

LJ Music Society:


LJ Historical Society:


LJ Symphony & Chorus:


LJ Art & Wine Festival:


Barbershop Harmony Society

, La Jolla chapter:


As previously reported in the


La Jolla Village Merchants Association

received $46,900 in Economic Development and Tourism Support grant funds for fiscal year 2015.

The mayor’s additional funding was made possible by projections that property taxes and revenues will be higher than first expected in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The new spending also takes advantage of additional savings, including lowered debt service on a major infrastructure bond.