Editor: The OB Rag has been following a rift within the local Democratic Party about the District 2 City Council race – District 2 includes Ocean Beach and Point Loma. Here, former District 2 candidate and lifeguard Ed Harris – he has recently dropped out – is publishing the email he sent to Francine Busby, the head of the San Diego County Democratic Party.
By Ed Harris
Email I sent to Busby:
To say I’m disappointed by your attached email is an understatement. As a member of the Democratic party and a Democratic candidate for District 2, I expected support and equal treatment from those elected to head the party. Since announcing my intentions to run, you have strategically used your position to push another candidate forward. Rumors of allegations have been used to poison others in the Democratic party prior to my meeting them. Those rumors are traced back to you and others from Run Women Run. The fact that Run Women Run supports you financially makes this more troublesome.
Your letter starts off indicating that I have been involved in a sexual harassment incident. You then go on to say “Mr. Harris and I discussed the issue when we met.” As you know, we did not discuss anything related to sexual harassment. I have never been involved in a sexual harassment case. The conversation that you and I had was centered around inequality in hiring. I was not named in the case you referenced (Allison Terry vs. the City of San Diego). I had nothing to do with the case other than being called as a professional witness by the City. My testimony centered around lifeguard qualifications. I have no influence over hiring and did not write evaluations for Terry. My interactions with Terry were minimal so I refused to provide an opinion about her qualifications for the job.
I find it troubling that you chose not to lay out our true conversation. I relayed to you that I uphold a standard that ensures those who come to our beaches remain safe. The standard that I apply does not recognize gender. I relayed to you that I do not want to sit with another mom or family member while we search the bottom of the ocean for their loved one. Each year the Lifeguards hire approximately 50 recruits. A portion of them fail to meet the standards set by the service; some are men and some are women.
What you should know is that I am supported by our very strong & very capable professional women Lifeguards. You should also know that I am the one who consistently challenges how we hire and rate our employees. You should also know that I am the one our female guards come to for advice and representation when they are having issues in the workplace.
Here are some of the endorsements that I have received from our female staff:
I met Ed Harris in 1997. He convinced me to take a job as a San Diego Lifeguard, and I have since worked with him for over 17 years. I have seen Ed work tirelessly for almost two decades to promote our goal of public safety, professionalism, and workplace equality. As a female lifeguard, I have been able to always count on Ed when I am looking for advice or need support, both as my coworker and my supervisor.
Kerry Brown, LG II
This is my official endorsement of Ed Harris for City Council. He is a compelling leader, one who truly looks after the needs of his fellow Lifeguards and that of the public in which we serve. Ed is a charismatic individual, and I can honestly say, his work ethic and room presence is alluring. I was a second year lifeguard when I first met Ed. He is always interested in how to make improvements to the Department. When he became involved with the Local-911 Lifeguard Union, he found his platform to shine. Ed Harris is a family man with the values and integrity this City needs for a fruitful future.
Amber Prestigard, LG II
Hi Ed Good Luck!
I have had the pleasure of working with Sergeant Ed Harris as a permanent lifeguard for the past two 2 years. Ed Harris is one of the lifeguards in a leadership position to go to for sound advice, support and to get the ball rolling on any number of issues. He always has a quick grasp of the issues, and I am always confident that he will be a strong and influential advocate for me, and all the lifeguards. I have no doubt that he will be able to do the same for the community of San Diego.
I have worked with Ed Harris as a professional lifeguard for the past 12 years. During this time I’ve known Ed to be a strong advocate for public safety and a tireless advocate for civil service employees. As a lifesaver, Ed is a waterman in the true sense of the word. He is a decorated life-saving veteran who many will gratefully credit with saving their life. I’ve known Ed to be hard-working, hard-charging and proud member of a Service that he would call a lifestyle rather than an occupation.
It is his true love of the craft that pushes Ed to both encourage and challenge his coworkers. I’ve witnessed Ed several times demand excellence, with the ability to demonstrate first what he asks of his team. At times Ed is firm…even gruff, however I know him to always be fair. His tactics at times can be unconventional, however are always designed to elicit success. I know very few who without hesitation, would not follow his lead both in surf and on land. His unwavering spirit likely comes from his days as a Marine; he has transformed those lessons into a leadership style that I came to appreciate as his coworker.
As coworkers, we did not always agree; however I always knew I could count on Ed to be forthright, supportive and fair. When I had my own issues with inequity in the workplace, it was Ed who sat beside me and encouraged me to have patience, strength and persevere. I am proud to call Ed a friend and support his future endeavors.
Former Lifeguard Sergeant
San Diego Fire-Rescue Dept.
It is important to note that several of our female guards testified against Terry during the trial. Maybe you should have checked with them before you chose to disparage me. I would expect this to come from the Republicans during the race. I did not expect it from my own party. I successfully lobbied the Mayor several months ago for a part-time recruiting position which will start in September. I respect the efforts of Run Women Run and ask that they focus some attention on helping the Lifeguard service attract more qualified women to tryout for the Lifeguards. This will ensure that we have a qualified pool of applicants to choose from.