Corporate ads at the beach to fund lifeguards again floated.

by on May 11, 2011 · 17 comments

in Economy, Labor, Popular, San Diego

The boogey-man of budget cut-backs of lifeguards, their training, and the funding of City swimming pools was raised at a special City Council night hearing, last Monday, May 9th.  And it was during this hearing – with no final vote being taken – that the issue of corporate advertising on City beach properties was – again – raised.

8 lifeguard jobs were cut by Mayor Jerry Sanders  to save $973,000 in a mid-year budget adjustment in the 2010 fiscal year.  Lifeguards are part of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

And it was during the discussion of how to find funding to restore half or at least some of these cuts, that the idea of the City selling advertising at the beach was raised once again.  CNS reported that:

Councilman Kevin Faulconer said the city would not construct large billboards, but could place messages on lifeguard towers or trash cans. He said residents expressed support if revenues were used for lifeguard programs.

It was stated that these corporate ads could bring in an estimated $5 million annually.  This was not confirmed. It was noted, however, by Council President Tony Young that this issue of corporate sponsorships was raised a year and half ago. But apparently, the Mayor office person who is responsible for corporate ads and marketing quit, and her replacement just came on board recently.  The Mayor’s office is waiting for advice from the City Attorney’s Office about the legality of such signs.

This idea will indeed rattle beachgoers in Ocean Beach and elsewhere.  Corporate ads on City property, like lifeguard towers, uniforms, benches, trashcans, will be a ill pill to swallow – even if it means more lifeguards and needed training.  The issue has been thoroughly dissed on this blog in previous posts. We even had a little fun, by advocating for corporate ads on the uniforms of the lifeguards – with a higher revenue coming from women lifeguards’ suits.  We even raised the issue of “naming rights” for Ocean Beach.

Here is part of we said back then in December 2010:

There is already some corporate advertising on lifeguard vehicles – but with all those blank walls and receptacles still there – the City could sell off that space to large corporations, and make some bucks.

Heck, why not even sell the space on lifeguard uniforms and suits? Obviously a female lifeguard’s uniform/ suit would bring more money in … okay I jest.

Seriously, this discussion has been going on for awhile now, (plus we’ve had some fun with the concept – go here). The San Diego City Council will probably be voting sometime soon on a plan to allow major name-brand advertising on all city beach lifeguard towers, beach benches, walkways, trash cans to help reduce the deficit and restore funds to lifeguards and other programs.  We agree with Joe LaCava, president of the La Jolla Community Planning Association, who said: “Protecting the parks and beaches from commercialization has long been a worthy goal.”

Here are some salient points that have been brought out in this discussion so far:

  • Advertising doesn’t belong on naturally picturesque beaches, as some places just have to be sacred, pristine and preserved for our sanity, and for the wild things, like birds, fish and animals.
  • People go to the beach to get away from advertising blight; it’s everywhere we look, ad nauseum (pun intended). [Hat tip to Sage Faber
  • We already have to put up with advertisements in the sky – you know – the long banners flying by during the summer months.
  • If ads are placed on lifeguard towers, and on “lifeguard assets” like rescue trucks, surfboards, equipment, T-shirts, trunks, and bathing suits — front and back, lifeguards would be in disguise – a very bad idea.
  • The advertisements themselves would possibly not be appropriate (giant Trojan ads on lifeguard stations?)
  • The projected revenue from ads would only be a “spit in the bucket” – and not worth losing our naturally gorgeous, eye-pleasing, nerve-easing beaches with their panoramic views of nothing but sand and sea, swimmers, surfers, and all manner of happy ad-free people;
  • And importantly, if ads took over parts of our beaches, local businesses and volunteer groups would be less likely to hold beach clean-ups and feel compelled to pick up trash beside the brand-names and their logos. In fact, one local business who frankly does quite a bit of cleaning of Dog Beach would absolutely halt their donations to the community, if ads are allowed.

On a more serious note, we also know businesses in OB who contribute to beach clean-ups who would be a lot less inclined to sponsor them if corporate advertisers took over.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Cohen May 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm

This was again mentioned at the last Town Council meeting, including the idea of creating a “stamp” to make an image in the sand around the lifeguard station. It would have to be renewed every day, but it would raise some desperately needed funds.

The overall attitude toward it at the council meetings that I’ve attended where it was mentioned was that they’re not thrilled about it, but is a reasonable solution to a big problem. So if it means keeping out lifeguard towers better staffed, they’ll swallow the corporate pill and put the ads up as long as they’re not overpowering and tacky. There are ways to do it that will accomplish the stated purpose yet not look like complete sellouts.


Frank Gormlie May 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm

A “stamp” Andy? Some kind of corporate ad as a sand stamp, changed daily? How large? Who changes it?


Rick Ward aka mr.rick May 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I suppose Frank has just solved part of the unemployment problem. We could put a couple of homeless kids on it,pronto.


mr.rick May 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I,m gonna take this chance to shorten my moniker now to mr.rick. Thanks for putting up with Rick Ward for these months. It’s time to go back underground.


Frank Gormlie May 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Yeah, but there will still be those of who know, heh-heh-heh.


Danny Morales May 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm

What about the brick and mortar infrastructure projects (Library, Firestation etc.) in addition to the Lifeguards? Oh I forgot, its been diverted into the sewer of war profiteering. What better way to eliminate the community ideal (not to mention the independent community itself) of Ocean Beach. First they came for my infrastructure and I didn’t stand up. Next they came for my job…


Frank Gormlie May 11, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Now that bin Laden has been eliminated, maybe they’ll build that new library, promised – when Danny? While you and I were still on the Planning Board, what 2004 and 05? La Jolla got a new lifeguard station and OB can’t even get a restroom. OB’s main lifeguard station was built in the mid-60’s I believe, closing on almost 50 years ago.

The peasants are so shell-shocked over years of budget cuts to services that the lords of the manor don’t even need to address these issues. Well, at least we’ve got the sunshine and the sand and the surf. Well, there was a sun a couple of years ago at the beach during the summer.


Danny Morales May 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Yeah, but we’ve got a rash of new condo’s and a growing collection of soul-less McMansions to be proud of. As is the subtext of the Peninsula Bacon- “Welcome to Our Community- Bought to you by the real estate industry. Love It and Leave It!


mr.rick May 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Frank, I’m sure you are talking about the pink? one that they lowered and raised the keys by rope in a bucket. This one with the glass top was built sometime later. But I think it was some time in ’79 or ’80. Hell,I’m just taking a wild guess. My internal clock/calendar has been out of wack for quite some time. Have someone look it up. Then we’ll all know for sure. Or not.


annagrace May 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm

“There was a time when a cabbage could just be a cabbage.” That’s a line from the poetic satire Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux. If you need a dose of justice being served, read this one. Spoiler alert: Cabbages don’t become advertisements for kings.


Liars Lie May 12, 2011 at 8:06 am

I just read on Drudge report that California lifeguards are making 200K per year or some ridiculous amount….. This wont fly for long

absolute silliness


Loudawg May 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

pay em mininum wage


OB Lawyer May 12, 2011 at 9:20 am

The absurdity of this discussion only serves to further irritate those of us who have watched our incompetent elected officials fail to resolve the pension issue which is the true crux of the budget shortfall for the City. Reform, reform, reform was the battle cry of all of the NO Tax elected folks last year… and yet… to date… I’m not aware of any of the items on the Demiao or Faulconer reform lists that have actually been implemented (please educate me if I’m wrong on this).

We are all being held hostage by the very people whose jobs you are trying to save here!

Now…don’t get me wrong. I support keeping our community services open for the public. But just remember, you are saving these people from cuts who are the people with the most control over the real issue that is causing the cuts in the first place (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentance…)

So, the elected officials are placing the public directly between what they think we want….and what the unions are trying to maintain.

Hey….LET THE CUTS HAPPEN… This fear mongering fake argument stuff doesn’t scare me. I actually DARE them to make the cuts. Do it…. Please. Just do it and then start making progress on the real problem and not arguing over something that is irrelevant and then trying to convince me you are using my taxpayer dollars wisely when you “SOLVE” the beach advertising “problem”.

This is exactly the definition of a self-licking ice cream cone people! A problem that needs solving that doesn’t really solve the problem that created the problem!

Maybe the community actually COULD survive with some cuts and then have these services come back online in time AFTER the Council and Mayor act like adults and resolve the pension problem?

Let’s stop falling for all of this political theater drummed up by the unions and the City that is designed to make US the bad guys because the incompetent people we’ve elected can’t make a real solution to the correct issue.


Danny Morales May 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm

If we dig a little deeper into the budget mess we find that while the city and its employee unions were underfunding the pensions: 1.) The city sold NTC to McMillan Corp. for eleven dollars ($11), 2.) The city rebuilt the infrastucture to accommodate John Moores Inc. and 3.) The city guaranteed the funding for the Convention Center expansion. – So please take time to see who stands to benefit from our selling of the commons.


Citizen Cane May 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm

“8 lifeguard jobs were cut by Mayor Jerry Sanders to save $973,000 in a mid-year budget adjustment in the 2010 fiscal year. ”

A million dollars for 8 lifeguards? How does that compare with lifeguards at state parks?


Loudawg May 18, 2011 at 10:25 am

maybe if they didnt order up millions dollars in new trucks and b.s. vehicles every few years .. whats wrong with that 2002 tundra they have, guess plenty. shhht the trucks they had in the 80’s would probably suffice … they have entire vehicle maintenance crews for the up keep …. we have a very good fire dept that can handle most cliff rescues and calls .. its a joke that lifeguards are such arrogant asswipes with ticket books now they hold their hands out and try to make corporate money, dont even try to tell me people wont be lining their pockets with this b.s. that once starts will never go away, just like the IRS here temporary never to leave .. fck em all and pay them minimum wage .. let them protest until people that really want to do the job get hired .. they are not cops and do not have the right to arrest people or make peoples daily lives miserable .. thanks for saving the tourist lives in the water, we need them and their troll buddies here in droves if possible so the people that have raped this town, diven up the prices on everything can keep getting rich .. F.U. P.L


Danny Morales May 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Loudawg-You’re a true American! Your heartfelt concern for the common good runs as deep as your objectivity. Give ’em hell buddy!


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