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Meet Ed Harris, San Diego’s Newest Councilman

Evening Edition

Aired 4/9/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Ed Harris, San Diego City Councilman, District 2


Ed Harris, a retired Marine and longtime San Diego lifeguard, was appointed Monday to serve out the remaining eight months of Kevin Faulconer's term for District 2 on the City Council.

The seat representing the beach and bay district was vacated March 3 when Faulconer was sworn in as mayor. A special election for his replacement wasn't held because less than one year remains in the term.

Harris, who heads the city's lifeguard union, received support from council members David Alvarez, Mark Kersey, Sherri Lightner, Scott Sherman and Lorie Zapf.

The 49-year-old Point Loma resident won the seat in two rounds of voting and immediately took the oath of office.

"I am extremely humbled," Harris said, adding he hoped the 16 other candidates who sought the position would help him during his term.

Alvarez said Harris can get up to speed quickly as a City Council member because of his knowledge of how the city works.

"He has dealt with issues with me as a council member, and with all the council members, that are really, really important to our city," Alvarez said. "I think he's well prepared to take on the job."

Alvarez and his colleagues praised the high quality of all the candidates.

Twenty people were expected to seek the appointment, but former council staffers Ricardo Flores and Don Mullen and lawyer Wayne Raffesberger withdrew late.

Karl Strauss Brewing co-founder Christopher Cramer, LeSar Development communications director Gretchen Kinney Newsom and ex-Assemblyman Michael Howard Wayne also received votes.

None of the council members voted for lawyer Bryan Pease, who obtained a court order Friday allowing him to be considered.

Harris will serve until the winner of this year's election is seated, which City Clerk Elizabeth Maland said would be Dec. 8 or Dec. 10. All of the candidates for appointment agreed not to enter the campaign for the June 3 primary election.

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | April 9, 2014 at 2:27 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

As oversight for a $2.6-Billion Dollar City Budget, zoning and municipal codes, I see a direct conflict of interest in the appointment of a City Employee - who would normally answer to the council - as a temporary trustee. Lifeguard Union Chief (teamsters?) - Leave of Absence, until December, under 'Civil Service' Rules ( ).

Why did you want this job? "Great opportunity, just 8 months of work."
(City Council members get paid $75,386/year, and they control a $1.1-million dollar City Council Budget to spend on 'office staff' - unless they attend extra community meetings and get 'stipends' but it is unclear how much control Harris will have over staff positions, etc.)

As a lifeguard Sgt. his base pay is at least $69,322 but with benefits the actual compensation is about $123,480 (effectively taking a pay cut to serve on City Council)

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | April 9, 2014 at 2:27 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

"Now is a good time to borrow money" for city infrastructure bonds.
(like $5.2-million for lifeguard boats? Or a few new Lifeguard Towers?)

Learn the issues of non-beach communities.
"I am a normal guy"

Public Safety Funding and Homeless Issues (?)
"Started with the homework an hour after I was sworn in."
Environmental Issues, Public Safety Issues - ("We need to help the developers")

Point Loma, Mission Beach, Linda Vista, - District-2?

Perspective: Working Person?

"There is a lot that can be accomplished with a bipartisan approach."

You have a veto-proof majority on the City Council - "Forces compromise"

"Everyone has to be willing to compromise."

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | April 9, 2014 at 2:28 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Cool - Congratulations Ed Harris - I just hope, while you lower the permit costs of remodeling Million Dollar beach property, that you can find the money in the budget to staff city pools, or perhaps reinstate Lifeguard Outreach programs:

Due to budget cuts, the following programs are currently unavailable.
Funding our Critical Drowning Prevention and Aquatic Programs - Every $35
Allows A Child to Learn to Swim
• Watch the "Outreach and Education - A Community Initiative" Video
• View the San Diego Lifeguard Service's "Strategic Vision for Outreach and
Education" (PDF)

Operation Waterproof Program - San Diego Lifeguards outreach to local
elementary schools throughout the year to help prepare children for unexpected
dangers by increasing their water safety knowledge. Lifeguards travel to schools
throughout San Diego County educating over 10,000 students every year about
how to stay safe in and around the water.

"Waterproofing San Diego" - In San Diego County, drowning is the number one
killer of kids four years old and younger. Lifeguards want to help. This evolving
program has a vision to create a water safe community through partnerships,
education and awareness for San Diego County, ultimately making it a national
role model for aquatic survival.

"Bridge to the Beach" Program - Lifeguards take groups of new pools
swimmers to the beach for a day. The activities mirror those provided to youth in
the Junior Lifeguard Program and are designed to introduce youth to the ocean

Junior Kayak Team - This Program is sponsored by the Junior Lifeguard Program and focuses on Olympic development in the sport of canoe and kayak.
The team is open to all levels of paddlers from novice paddlers who have never
paddled before to former Olympians who help volunteer with the team.

"Learn to Swim-For-Free" Program - The Park and Recreation Department, in
partnership with San Diego Lifeguards and the San Diego Surf Lifesaving
Association, teach swim lessons at four inner-city community pools - Martin
Luther King Jr., Memorial, City Heights, and Colina Del Sol. Lessons are offered
to youth five years and up during the spring.

Urban High School Swim Teams - The Lifeguard Service, in partnership with
City Schools helped start swim teams at Hoover, San Diego, Morse high
schools. We help recruit swimmers, support the coaching effort and provide
equipment and supplies.

Public Safety Fairs & Military "Safety Stand-Down" Events - San Diego
Lifeguards provide educational information and equipment displays at dozens of
safety fairs and to our local military personnel at local bases. This public service
is intended to educate potential beach in an effort to increase public awareness
on aquatic risk.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 10, 2014 at 7:40 a.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

Ooooops!!! i thought it was Ed Harris the actor!

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