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Hey, Matt:

Last year I moved to Point Loma. I grew up in San Diego but never really hung out too much by the bay. My question is, what’s up with the Harbor Police? I see them driving around a lot (which seems to be a bit of a non sequitur), gabbing on cell phones while speeding round, running stop signs. I see them on foot occasionally, harassing a bum. Last week I saw one driving down the 101 in Cardiff. What is their scope of service, and who pays for them? Can they really arrest a landlubber like me?

— Phil, Point Loma

Woo-wee! Bad Harbor Police. Bad, bad Harbor Police. The law does not permit officers to break speed or other traffic laws while just tootling around town. And if they do pull a U-ie or some such, they have to turn on their flashing red-and-blues while they do it. As for the irritated bum, the legality depends on where the bum is bumming. The Harbor Police are the law-enforcement arm of the San Diego Port District. Their jurisdiction includes most of the wet areas of town (San Diego, Coronado, National City, Imperial Beach coast and wetlands) and marinas and Lindbergh Field. They enforce the same laws the land-bound police do (so don’t jaywalk on the bay if they’re nearby). They pull dead bodies out of the drink. Maintain suicide statistics for local bridges. Watch for high-performance boats driven by people with low-performance piloting skills. It’s a very full day. I don’t know whether this satisfies you, since you seem pretty cheesed off. But that’s the story of the Harbor Police, San Diego’s damp safety patrol.

Hey, Matt:

I was wondering how many Reader issues I am allowed to take from the various locations around San Diego. Is there any law forbidding me from taking two Readers at a time? Ten? Thousands? I never was much of a builder, but I think it would be cool to construct a fort out of the free weekly Readers. BTW, I was going to make a shake-shingle roof out of San Diego City Beats.

— Jay, via email

Git goin’ quick, Jay. You have until December 31 to make some headway on Fort Reader. Our business manager sez there’s a law in place that allows any citizen to shoot anyone who takes more than ten Readers at a time, but I think he’s kidding. Anyway, if Arnold signs AB 1778, as of January 1 it will be illegal to bring in to a recycling center more than $50 worth of newspapers at one time. This law was put in place to stop the increasing problem of gangs of paper thieves who even follow newspaper distribution trucks and scoop up the bundles of papers as they’re dropped off. They also clean out public recycling bins and vending machines. Fifty dollars’ worth of newspaper weighs just short of 850 pounds, by the way. The only punishment these bin divers will suffer is to have to present a picture ID when they bring in their vanload of newsprint, and they’ll be paid by check rather than in cash, as they are now. But hey, wait a minute, the law doesn’t say it’s illegal to scoop up 850 pounds of Readers and make a fort out of them, so maybe you’re home free. Anyway, let us know where you’ll be so we can stop by after the next big rain.

Hey, Matt:

What’s up with all of the people that name their animals with “people names”? I understand that some of the best intentions have ended up in the worst catastrophes. I’ve discovered that people have named their cats, cows, dogs, horses the same that I have. Sometimes I feel I have superhuman strength; most of the time I feel left out, neglected, unreasonably feared, and totally taken advantage of, castrated, and I can even sense my oncoming death. Have I tapped into some spiritual connections? It’s pretty bad when you see something going on and can’t stop it from happening and are then punished for making a ruckus. And why don’t police officers enforce the laws of physics?

— Jack Rabbit, via email

This same wandering query came in under another whole different email address and name. Just a small example of what we have to deal with here at the Matthew Alice Centre for Peace, Justice, and $29 Quickie Oil Changes. So, Jack, your first question: People name their pets people names because they consider their pets just very small, furry people. Your spiritual, superhuman, castrated question: No, you’ve tapped into whatever’s in the air in North Park. Your last question: Police don’t enforce the laws of physics because they’re very rarely broken.

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Arborigine Dec. 4, 2008 @ 10:13 a.m.

The Harbor Police have a long history of bungling and favoritism. There is suspicion that they hire Police academy washouts. Ask any live-aboard. I saw them run into an anchored 100 foot yacht and they threatened to sue the owner for replacement of their radar until "the Log" published a clear photo of the crash showing the anchor line down. They usually run their engines at full speed when an economical cruise is called for, wasting gas and money. Mr. Bauder could easily come up with a great story on these floating Barneys


Arborigine Dec. 4, 2008 @ 2:26 p.m.

Let me clear this, I respect and admire most LEOs, but in the case of the Harbor Police, familiarity has bred contempt.


vertigo Dec. 6, 2008 @ 12:01 p.m.


What about on page 4 of this weeks issue on the bottom where it says no person shall take more than 1 copy of the Reader?

Is that just talk or what?


JohnnyVegas Dec. 7, 2008 @ 2:54 p.m.

Harbor Police is very mismanaged.

I doubt they hire "washouts", but I know they do not hire the best they could because they limit their application process to the first 500 who arrive the day /applications/testing opens-very stupid.


Fred Williams Dec. 7, 2008 @ 3:41 p.m.

Re: Animal Names

I once knew a cat named "Me!"

It was her favorite word.

Another cat was named "Mao" for similar reasons, but then everyone began calling him "The Chairman". He was a very benevolent ruler, presiding at early morning coffee and newspaper reading by sprawling across whatever article I was attempting to read.

I recently made the acquaintance of an old bachelor cat. "Riley" grudgingly allows me to rub his ears and serve as warm furniture. In truth, he prefers the stability of a poorly insulated computer for napping, but he'll make do with whatever primate is available to serve him.

Re: Reader Copies

Some say the Union Tribune is only good as toilet paper, but it's actually too rough. Sure, it'll do in a pinch, but you don't want to make it a habit.

As a sleeping platform, the Reader is superior to the UT in many ways. Consider that the Reader has a water resistant cover, and comes in a uniform size so that you can tile them into a bed.

For an averaged sized homeless male, 16 copies of the Reader can make a comfortable bed place. For furnishing low-cost alternative cardboard carton housing, the Reader cannot be beat.

The Reader, in an emergency, can also make a great shelter from rain. No UT wannabe is going to keep your head as dry as the San Diego Reader.

Most of all, you've got to remember that most homeless people in San Diego are not illiterate. When they are gazing up at the city subsidized condo-boxes, and being ignored by passing CCDC officials, they can read articles by Don Bauder and Matt Potter that tell us how it all happened...that's something you'll never find in the UT.

Re: Harbor Police

If you think the Harbor Police are hard core, you should see the Harbor Seals...



Darkguardian April 7, 2009 @ 6:02 p.m.

Watch yourself around Rosecrans St., Point Loma. They are making a lot of stops. They're stopping mainly bicycles whether on the side walks or bike lane for not having a white headlamp on after sunset. They are really strict but it seems to be all legal. They are very hard core when it comes to enforcement. Just watch your "p"s and "q"s; dot your "i"s and cross your "t"s. In their words, "You are breaking the law"; no matter how small it is. I don't agree with their policies or methods or attitude. There's a saying, "As the leadership goes, so goes the unit." It starts at the top. I've been in Pt Loma for several years and haven't seen this level of enforcement. They're on a whole different level. As for me, I'm just going to move inland out of their jurisdiction.


grnpop July 5, 2010 @ 8:27 p.m.

The Harbor Police are a bunch of nazi pigs with very poor maritime skills. They are the bottom of the law enforcment in San Diego for sure.


Twister May 8, 2012 @ 6:41 p.m.

I'm a little late reading this, but there needs to be a major investigation of the Harbor Police, as well as the Port AUTHORITY(!!!) It is a completely independent fiefdom that answers to no one, least of all the citizens.


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