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Ed Harris is swimming away from his lead position among the city’s lifeguards to join San Diego’s City Council — for a little while, at least.
Harris is filling the District 2 seat vacated by now-Mayor Kevin Faulconer, representing beach communities from Point Loma to Pacific Beach. His short term, he told us, will be focused on listening to community concerns.
On this week’s podcast, Harris gave VOSD Radio hosts Andy Keatts, Scott Lewis and Caty Green an inside look at what he hopes to accomplish during his tenure. Download the episode below, or subscribe on iTunes to stay up to speed on the latest episodes.
Check out some of the takeaways from Harris’ interview.
He’s totally changing gears from his old gig.
“Your beach lifeguards make about 6,000 rescues a year. There’s 200 seasonal (lifeguards) and 90 permanents. That’s about the same number as the national average for drownings every year, which is really high, and so it is a job that is tremendous responsibility and not unlike the one that I’m in right now.”
He’s had to hit the ground running.
“Getting past the first week was a big challenge. There’s a lot thrown at you and you know, we got a great staff and we’re setting that up. We’ll send out a press release on Monday identifying that staff. Hopefully by the end of the week, we’re going to have our major projects identified and what we’re hoping to accomplish. But I’m filling a seat of a very competent Council member, now mayor, and so staying with the projects that are in the pipe, trying to mostly meet up with neighborhoods and business owners, people in the beach area. Hearing from them is going to drive what we do in the office.”
But he’s already got some priorities in mind for his district.
“We’re seeing some traffic issues that increase. Rosecrans (Street) has become almost impassable at times, and those quality-of-life issues — the ability to go to the beach and have clean, safe water, the ability to go the park and make sure that the library is open when they want to go and take their kids there, or just go by themselves. Those kind of constituent issues.
I was fortunate enough to go on the walk last night down in Mission Beach, the restaurant walk, and we have a lot of happy business owners down there. So encouraging them, and helping them with whatever they need to get through this city so that they’re a vibrant small business, that we’re creating job growth and our tourists are happy when they come here. Tourism is huge in the beach area. People come to San Diego for the beaches.”