Ed Harris Is a Political Hack

Brian Brady Brian Brady 16 Comments

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Union hacks don’t miss a chance to try to be relevant.  Political hack Ed Harris, head of the City of San Diego Lifeguard’s Union, sent Texas Governor Abbot and Houston Mayor Turner a passive-aggressive “apology” letter.

Dear Governor Abbott, Mayor Turner and citizens of Houston,

I am sorry to tell you that we are not coming. I am a San Diego Lifeguard Sergeant. We have a River Rescue Team that is nationally recognized. Our guards spent weeks rescuing people during hurricane Katrina. We saw this storm approaching Thursday and packed our bags. The team hooked up the taxpayer funded CAL-OES trailer and boats that have sat in storage for this type of event. They waited for the call to go that would surely come quickly. It did not. On Saturday, our team was informed to unpack and take the boats over to the Fire Department. They will go. Our team stayed packed and readied more boats and asked to go. Sunday came and we listened to your pleas for help; still we are not sent. Today some guards and I asked for time off so that we could drive our own boats and trucks on our own time. We planned to be there by 3 pm Tuesday. This was in response to your cries for anyone with a boat. We were denied vacation to come help you. The Coast Guard reports through CNN that there are thousands in need and the worst is yet to come, still we sit here. We have plenty of staff to send, but we are blocked.

As professional lifeguards, we are saddened that there are moms, grandmas and children that we could rescue if we were only allowed to go help. We are sickened that Chief Brian Fennessy has blocked our response. Former San Diego Fire Deputy Chief Doug Nakama is now Chief of Special Operations, OES for Governor Brown (Cell: 619-381-7800 and Email:doug.nakama@caloes.ca.gov). Nakama knows that we have ability and numerous resources. He knows that we are self-sustained and could leave with an hours notice. He does not send us. It is with heavy hearts that we send this apology. We can only hope that if our families were in need, someone would come. Attached is a photo of our CAL-OSHA truck packed and sitting in the yard.

What exactly is Ed Harris’ beef?  

The San Diego Lifeguards can’t go to Texas to help out with the tragic flood rescue because members of the San Diego Fire Department are going instead. Keep in mind that we are approaching Labor Day weekend with high temperatures expected; our beaches should be packed. Is Ed Harris some kind of a Baywatch glory hound, looking to get good national TV time for the Lifeguards?

Probably not. This is a turf war with the firefighters and it’s been going on for months:

San Diego City lifeguards and their union are seriously considering getting out from under the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The lifeguard union leader claims that recent changes in dispatching procedures initiated by the new fire chief, Brian Fennessy, now route all water-related 911 calls to the fire department instead of directly to lifeguards- who have historically made all water rescues.

It’s just Ed being Ed. When some kind of tragedy happens, he tries the leverage the grief and public sentiment to arrogate more power for his union. Meanwhile, the “Texas Volunteer Navy” is “saving some lives” (if you watch anything today, watch this).

Ed’s a political hack but…

…you already knew that.

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Comments 16

  1. Ed Harris only cares about Ed Harris. He has no care at all about taxpayers. He is only making waves — Haha a lifeguard making waves because he wants publicity for his Union Hack issue of breaking away from the Fire Dept. I don’t understand how Harris can think a lifeguard is like a fireman. I consider a lifeguard as a part time summer job, and its many steps down from a Fireman and should be paid as such. The Fire chief runs the dept, not the union, so Ed Harris and your useless self can pound sand.

  2. Brian Brady is one of the finest Americans I know but I’m tired of people using pejorative labels! Political hack? Some people would describe Brian Brady in many unflattering terms which I would also object to. Harris is doing his job. I don’t always agree with him. He has served this community in both the national and local level. Brian Brady: what service did you serve or local commission?

  3. Post
    Author

    “Harris is doing his job.”

    Let’s start here; there is something immoral about his job. I’m all for the First Amendment but the Wagner Act turned collective bargaining into a a threat of force against employers, a shakedown racket. But I get it…workers need protection from the evil capitalists…oh wait…

    Q: From whom do the City Employees need to be protected?

    A: The Taxpayers

    I just revealed the real insidious nature of public sector unions — a group with a monopoly on the labor market (union) employs force in bargaining with an entity with a monopoly on the jobs (politicians) … and neither one of them pays the bills.

    Sure, Ed’s just doing his job. So was the Don Corleone.

    Oh, and to answer your last question, I serve in civil society, the one which operates on competition, charity, community, and commerce, where ideas and innovation provide value…

    …and I’m damned proud of it too.

    We probably agree that Ed’s 4 years in the USMC is worthy of praise (I agree on that) but I am specifically disagreeing with his work to monopolize a service which could be well served by civil society. If you doubt me, watch this

    If I come off as direct it’s because there is something immoral about Ed’s current job.

  4. Fire Harris after this political stunt.
    While the adults were trying to coordinate, he saw an opportunity to be relevant and try to get back at people who told him to behave in the past.
    If anything, Brian Brady was too nice to Harris.
    By the way, they are getting deployed. But not because of the fit Harris threw, but because they were requested (which is what the City was waiting for).
    Fire Harris!

  5. Lifeguards are still in San Diego, they have been on standby since Thursday. They can organize from a staging point close to the disaster. They have a 20 hour drive and have been waiting since Thursday. Then the “rules” require them to wait in the staging area 24 hours before being sent out. This is the same complaint outlined after Katrina. Thousands died while the bureaucrats struggle with command. As a Marine and a Lifeguard we were not taught to wait, we were taught to make decisions, act swiftly and decisively if you do not people die. Look at the news, it is bad and we have been on standby since Thursday.

    I am pretty sure that is what Chief Fennessy has been pushing. Mission Driven Culture? He has spent a lot of tax dollars trying to teach it. Pretty ironic that that this is pushed from the top but not practiced at the top. News says the SD fire teams that left Saturday are still sitting in staging? Thank god for the Cajun Navy. Thanks Rostra, I enjoy the out of touch perspective your members have.

  6. Mr. Harris:

    We appreciate you responding. Just a heads up regarding your comment, “I enjoy the out of touch perspective your members have.”

    We have no members. There are no requirements for payment or site registration, etc. Anyone can read or comment (as evidenced by your comment), and in fact — although we are definitely “center right” — those with a more left-leaning mindset often do. We invite it!

    Did you note the comment above from Voltaire defending you? Since he or she commented, it must be another of our “members” with an “out of touch perspective.”

    You commented yourself, now you’re a member as well. We just won’t force you to pay dues.

    Snarkiness aside, we do appreciate the engagement!

  7. That’s how union guys think. Everyone is a “member” to be shoved around.

    Thor, please take control of your members!

    Anyway, everyone got what they wanted. The adults in the room got to do the right thing, Ed got to feel relevant, and the local news got to write a story about yet another union hissy-fit.

  8. Thor,
    Voltaire is excluded and I appreciate that he recognizes my past. We do not always agree, but there is respect. Semper Fi.

    I am the spokesman and Steward for the guards. I was voted in by 87%. It is an unpaid position. San Diego does not have safe beaches, they are made safe by the guards. We make 9,000 water rescues a year. We are a small efficient workforce. Tourism is the third leg of the economic stool. Safe beaches are important to tourists.

    Thanks for the dialogue. No donation, but I would buy you a beer.

  9. Post
    Author

    “Tourism is the third leg of the economic stool. Safe beaches are important to tourists”

    Why are you itching to send guards to Texas instead of letting firefighters go? This weekend is expected to be in the high 80s along the beach. The sandsculpting competition is this weekend, the meet is underway at Del Mar, and the Festival of Sail is happening at the Embarcadero.

    Labor Day weekend is the second or third busiest weekend on our beaches. I would think the guards mission would be to first protect San Diegans.

    “I am the spokesman and Steward for the guards.”

    Isn’t it more accurate to say that you are a spokesman for the labor union? I am having a hard time understanding why your letter, which circumvented the chain of command, is anything other than a political move in your disagreement with the Fire Department. Frankly, I think you embarrassed the Mayor, Chief Fennessey, and the Chief of Lifeguard Services with that letter. The letter was rebuked by your command yesterday.

  10. “Frankly, I think you embarrassed the Mayor, Chief Fennessey, and the Chief of Lifeguard Services with that letter.”

    In my humble experience, it is difficult to be publicly embarrassed without having something of substance to be embarrassed about.

    Was this a hardball tactic? For sure. Did it step on toes? You bet. Did it also stimulate a community conversation about the valuable lifesaving skills and assets of trained professional guards? Hard to say no.

  11. “Did it also stimulate a community conversation about the valuable lifesaving skills and assets of trained professional guards?”

    No. it really didn’t. It made them look less professional which played right into the stereotype of just being some part-time college kids who do the job to meet girls and get a tan. It also failed. The fire chief continued to act in a professional manner by telling the public that he was not going to just release a bunch of lifeguards with no guidance or plan. Instead, he showed leadership by waiting until they were requested so they could be properly coordinated and thus, an effective asset rather than a wild liability.

    Ed is a political hack and further proved it by pulling a stunt to, apparently, “stimulate a community conversation about the valuable lifesaving skills and assets of trained professional guards” at a time when he should have been focused on life saving.

    The tax-payers and lifeguards deserve better.

  12. Brian Brady,

    Maybe you should take a look at the current number of fires raging in California and Oregon. LA has the largest fire in their history taking place and this is our fire season.

    Most kids are back to school and those heading downtown for the Sand Castle contest are not at the beach. If you are truly a conservative, you would ask yourself whether it is a good idea to have fire expand into a job that the guards have been doing since the 70’s. You would no doubt question the excessive overtime this fire chief has authorized to teach fire fighters river rescue. I take it you support Fire Chief Fennessy’s new policy that sends 18 FF to every inland water call. 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Engine company, 1 Truck,1 Rescue Rig, 1 Ambulance and 1 helicopter. This is in addition to the 3-6 Lifeguards that have historically handled these calls. This will be for cars in the water and any overturned boats on the lakes.

    https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2017/sep/02/ticker-lifeguards-given-false-hope-help-houston/

  13. Post
    Author

    “If you are truly a conservative, you would ask yourself whether it is a good idea to have fire expand into a job that the guards have been doing since the 70’s. You would no doubt question the excessive overtime this fire chief has authorized to teach fire fighters river rescue.”

    I think you are proving my point— this is about something much bigger than wanting to run to danger (a quality which I admire and respect a great deal). This is about politics, not public safety.

    I had a great weekend on the water and watched your colleagues in action–they are good. Call me selfish but I’m glad the San Diego Lifeguards were serving San Diegans this weekend.

    The immediate crisis in Texas is over and the Texas spirit was on display. I hope Houston erects a statue of an average redneck with rubber boots and a flat-bottomed boat because HE is the hero of the Hurricane Harvey Rescue

  14. “I think you are proving my point— this is about something much bigger than wanting to run to danger (a quality which I admire and respect a great deal). This is about politics, not public safety.”

    I hope you were wearing your sunblock for this comment, Ed. Because this was a burn.

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