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Whose Beach Is This Anyway?

The structure in question is a Lifeguard Service Facility/Garage to be built on the sand in the central part of Coronado Beach. While no one would deprive the lifeguards the necessary support they need to perform their duties, the current proposed location is not in the best interests of beach protection and preservation.

In recent days, the Surfrider Foundation spoke out in support of the citizen's initiative (Yes on A) because it is in accord with their stated mission of protection of water quality, beach preservation, and protecting special places.

As in most small towns, the battle has been personalized with name-calling, ugly letters to the editor, and other polarizing dialogue. This in itself is a tragedy.


Politics aside, Center Beach in Coronado is the stretch of beach by which I judge every other beach in the world. I was lucky enough to grow up running wild on its silver sands, and as a kid, up before dawn each summer morning, I arrived at the water's edge by first light. I took pride in getting there before the lifeguards, though I was honor bound to wait until their arrival before I threw myself into surf. Throughout my life I have returned to the very same stretch, sometimes in joy, as when I introduced my baby daughters to the ocean, and other times in grief, using the roar of the waves to mask my cries. These days, as I walk my dogs each evening at dog beach, I watch the sun set behind Point Loma. The last light strafes the patch of green that is Fort Roscrans, where my mother's ashes and my father's dog tags lie buried.

This beach is part of my legacy and I for one would like the opportunity to have a vote in how it is treated. It is, after all, a public beach so that means it belongs to all of us.

- Candace Suerstedt is a filmmaker and a mother of three who lives in Coronado.