By Susan Payne
Laguna Beach was the recipient of a $10,000 donation from Mark Porterfield and Steve Chadima for its newly proposed Pride lifeguard tower at West Street Beach.
“We just thought it was a very clever way to celebrate the fact that that beach has been a haven for LGBTQ people for a long time now,” Chadima told the LA Times. “It just seemed like a great way to acknowledge that and celebrate it.”
City officials said the city would purchase towers for the transferred beaches, for which the city will begin marine safety operations in March, according to the Times. Support for community fundraising or the rainbow-art painting was also in question.
The president of Laguna Beach Pride, Craig Cooley, expressed gratitude to the council for allowing the symbol of recognition for the LGBTQ community on the beaches, the Times reported.
“It speaks loudly to all the hate that is out there and diversity being a good thing,” Cooley said. “Embracing diversity is a way to counter the hate.”
The tower is expected to be in place, fully decorated, by summer.
In about four weeks, the city will begin its marine safety operations in South Laguna.
“We just had another [lifeguards] tryout last weekend, and we were able to get another nine brave people trying out in the cold water,” Marine Safety Chief Kevin Snow said. “That brings our total hiring non-peak, which we’ve never done before, up close to 20 people. We’re doing well in our recruitment, and we are on target to meet our deadline.”