San Diego Municipal Pools – Neglect by Design?

by on September 23, 2022 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Another Mess at the Mayor’s “Get It Done” App

By Colleen O’Connor

What is happening to the City of San Diego’s municipal pools is scandalous. Or it is the opposite of “benign neglect.” Developers’ dream.

Specifically, neglect by design. In the middle of a heat wave, San Diego has swimming pool hours and days reduced. Pool closed. Re-open sporadically. Then closed again.
The most egregious example is the Bud Kearns pool in North Park.

That pool is hardly open at all, and the excuses keep coming. Plumbing; painting; no lifeguards; redoing something more costly and unnecessary than the last excuses.

One friend who has been monitoring that specific pool’s never ending “non-opening” hours, just visited and wrote this:

“I drove to North Park on Monday… pool closed due to glass in the pool.  Need to drain, clean and refill.  Couldn’t give me an idea when it would open.”

Currently, there is a petition trying to get the once regular hours back in place; plus some additional hours that may never happen.

The petition circulating among the “wish we could still be swimming” community can be found here

Another example of good neighbors trying to fix problems that the city should have fixed eons ago.

Before promoting more giant development dreams and MEGA projects, perhaps the Mayor and Council should do their jobs. They obviously can’t maintain. Can’t sustain. And can’t deliver.


Bill Walton isn’t the only San Diego native complaining about the City’s decline in basic maintenance. He is just one of the most prominent to air his annoyance after being assaulted near Balboa Park.

The complaints keep coming. The Mayor ceases to “Just Get It Done.”

We are on our own. Save a Pool. Sign the Petition.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Gravitas September 23, 2022 at 3:37 pm

AND another HEAT WAVE coming this weekend. Who is in charge?


Michael Barrett September 24, 2022 at 9:00 am

Open the pool.


Julie September 24, 2022 at 9:39 am

Thank you, Colleen, for helping to get this story out. It has been appalling to to see these community assets closed to the public. After 2.5 years of renovation, having Bud Kearns closed most of the week since re-opening has been very disappointing and frustrating to regular users. Kids can’t learn to swim. Seniors can’t get low impact exercise, folks who need physical rehab can’t use their local pool and people like me who choose to stay fit with lap swimming can’t. Public pools are also an oasis from these hot days. It’s ridiculous. Most if not all of the pools are in the same situation. One excuse after another. Pool staff do their best and bear the brunt of the public’s anger. I signed the petition as soon as it was launched. I will keep speaking out. Our pools mean everything to their communities. The city is wasting precious resources by locking up these pools 4-5 days per week. The city needs to take a deep dive into this situation and fix it.


Will September 24, 2022 at 10:53 am

You could add reinstating traditional library hours to this list. I moved to OB from Ohio in 2008 and I understood the odd hours to be caused by the financial strain of the great recession on city finances. Then the main library was built, which is great, but why have hours never been restored? I keep seeing these plans for an OB library expansion yet nobody ever talks about the odd hours.


Kenny Groth September 24, 2022 at 4:49 pm

Of the 3 pools in my area, Bud Kearns, City Heights and Memorial, only 1 has been open this week with “limited” hrs and that is Bud Kearns The other 2 are closed for glass in pool and I guess pool repair.
You’d think with the other 2 closed the City would give Bud Kearns a few more hrs for a week or two while the others are closed. I don’t think the City cares enough to figure that one out.


Julie September 25, 2022 at 11:48 am

We keep wondering the same thing! Bring the staff to Bud Kearns, at least, and open up the hours and lanes. None of it makes sense. The cost of running closed pools is insane. Recruit older, retired land fit current or former swimmers who can be trained to lifeguard. They can do the job in their sleep, they have flex hours and a commitment to the communities in which they live. Thanks again, Colleen, for getting an article out!


sealintheselkirks September 25, 2022 at 1:17 am

Gravitas: Ummm, these are not heat waves. This is the new normal except we absolutely know that we can expect worse every year. For the rest of our lives. Ain’t that a bitch?

And who is in charge? The fossil fuel oligarchs of course! That’s really a bitch!



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