San Diego’s new head of the Fire Department, Fire Chief Javier Mainer, has been tasked by Mayor Jerry Sanders to cut $34.7 million from his budget, which includes fire departments, medics, and life guards. In a recent interview with KPBS he indicated that”beach closures” are on the table.
Chief Mainer said San Diego citizens may see less fire engines and fewer lifeguards. This could mean beach closures.
Here’s one excerpt from a transcript of the interview posted online:
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (host): Now when you say cutting units, do you mean closing fire stations?
MAINAR: Well, we don’t yet — we certainly are in the plan and those are some of the proposals that are in that $34 million menu of possible choices that the mayor and council can enact. That possibility does exist this time around. We do have some fire stations that have multiple units operating out of them. You may see closures of some of those units within a single fire station. … And the same is true of the beach. We have some staffing we’re going to have to cutback in our beach coverage with the lifeguards and in some cases you may see beach closures as a result of this.
This deeply concerns OBceans, of course, and other beach residents and users around town.
Hopefully, the chief is just trying to frighten us, as bureaucrats and officials do every budget crisis. That can get us fighting between keeping the beach open or keeping our library open. Let’s not fall for it. But in the meantime, keep your eyes and ears open.