A crew of expert San Diego lifeguards stood ready to help rescue efforts following Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in Texas, but San Diego’s fire chief blocked their efforts.
That was the story, at least, that picked up steam when veteran lifeguard and union steward Ed Harris shared it last month.
San Diego Fire Chief Brian Fennessy said that version of events is a lie, and accused Harris of politicizing a catastrophe.
Harris said it’s Fennessy who risked lives because of politics.
The dispute was only the latest clash between the leaders. A confrontation like this has been building for months.
It goes back to Fennessy’s decision late last year to change the way certain 911 calls are routed. He later reversed the changes, but both sides are now discussing them at the bargaining table, a step Fennessy skipped last year, much to the lifeguard union’s dismay.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
The firefighters and lifeguards need better leadership. With Harris' histrionics and Fennesy's name-calling, we can clearly see that there is a severe lack of professionalism which these jobs require.
Do you get the feeling that Mr. Harris is getting ready for another shot at political office, like maybe District 2 City Council?
One of the many things that's unclear here is this: The San Diego Lifeguard River Rescue Team has been handling the city's flood emergencies since the need was first identified in the 1970s. They have served with great distinction. (I am proud to have led the Lifeguard Service for 13 years and to have responded to many emergencies with the team in years past.) Flood emergencies are a major issue nationwide and a major cause of national mutual aid requests through the FEMA system. Considering that reality and considering that the fire chief respects the lifeguards who serve under him, why not integrate the lifeguards, who are the acknowledged experts in this area, into the FEMA team, so that they would be part of these responses. It seems quite illogical to me to be in a situation where lifeguards are the acknowledged experts in this discipline locally, but are replaced by firefighters for water rescue responses nationally. I can fully understand why the lifeguards would be left feeling disrespected.
How can one differentiate between fake news and fake headlines? You need to read carefully.
The headline : San Diego Lifeguards Complained They "Couldn’t Help Houston." Here’s What Really Happened.
The article's preview first line:San Diego’s lifeguard union leader accused the fire chief of risking lives by not letting them go to Houston
I suppose that if the Fire Chief "wouldn't allow them to go to Houston, the lifeguards "couldn't help Houston." I just wished that that would have been said directly, without the misleading headline.
@rhylton That's neither an example of fake news nor a fake headline. The word "fake" should be reserved for things that are fake. Not merely quibbles with semantics, quality, bias, etc.
“Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.”-- Theodore Dreiser
I suppose that from time to time I, like you, would like to redefine the meaning of words, but that too is doomed to failure when a writer's purposes include getting eyeballs and clicks.
My understanding of this issue is one of compensation for services. The pay policy for out of town emergencies is supposedly that most pay is double time for 24 hours a day. Your are paid whether you are working or sleeping. If a 24 hours day the compensation is for 48 hours of pay. If most of the responders earn at least $50 per hour then their daily pay would be $2,400 per day or $16,800 per week. So not only do the lifeguards/firefighters have the desire to help, the financial motivation is very lucrative. So it appears that pay for services is also a factor in this fight.
So much for SD"s helpful response in Florida and Texas. The leaders in this city have trouble tying their own shoes in the morning, much less helping in a national emergency.
@John Porter --They have no trouble at all tying their shoes--they just get someone from their highly paid staff to do it for them.