Bottom Scratchers with spearguns

I was very disappointed by the article. I am not sure if the author sensationalized it or if the divers sensationalized the information presented. At first glance, it is clear that Sweeney is new to the sport. This is clear by the equipment shown in the photo and described in the story. “With his dive knife, Sweeny chopped at the stalks that gripped his legs and torso until, finally, on the doorstep of losing consciousness, he got free and kicked his way to the surface.” Really, Kelp does not grip your legs or grab you like some sea monster. If you are wearing scuba fins with loose straps or a big knife on the outside of your leg, you may catch one strand. This is the most sensationalized paragraph I have read in a long time. You might as well say a polar bear had you and you stabbed it to get away. “I started to get dizzy, started to see lights. I started to go numb and have contractions.” Sounds like childbirth, not shallow water blackout. “As a spearfisherman, Sweeny represents a fringe minority of the sport. Most spearfishermen depend on scuba tanks for air” Sweeny does not represent the spearfishermen who have hunted here quietly for years. Some of his statements are embarrassing. “For example,” says Sweeny, “if you spear a fish, you’ve got about 15 minutes to get it into the boat before the sharks show up.” Sharks are drawn by the scent of blood in the water. I have shot fish in the local kelp for over 25 years. I have swam with fish on me for hours. I can honestly say that sharks are the last thing on my mind. The only time there is a shark issue is when a novice diver leaves a fish on the bottom because he is unable to dive the 5o-70 feet to get it. The sharks that show up are seven gills, and they do not come after us; they quickly swim away from us. The only shark that will cause problems will be the one you never see. Bad boat drivers are the biggest danger. Having spent time with Dr. Neuman, I can tell you that he is humble to a fault. His experience dwarfs that of Sweeny and Hoehne. They should learn from his humble approach. Your article correctly points out the danger of shallow water blackout. Dr. Neuman articulates it well in layman terms. Hoehne returns to the Chaparral a half hour later, empty-handed. “I saw a manta Ray down there,” he says, “ There are no Manta Rays here, maybe you saw a Bat Ray? No reputable spearfisherman would consider shooting an angel shark, at anytime. Most of us learned as kids that Sheep crabs have no meat and are not worth killing. Guess you guys had to kill something for the article.
— October 10, 2013 8 p.m.

Fired Lifeguard Won't Get Second Chance to Sue City

SurfPup, Yes. I will recieve 3% times 19, my permanent years of service, at 50. I will have 26 total years of service. Lifeguards are not put through an extensive accademy once hired like other safety services. Due to the nature of the job, Lifeguards work an average of 7 years as seasonal guards. During this time, they receive no benefits and the time does not go towards pension. I will receive 57% of my base pay. As you know, Lifeguards agreed to change to 3% at 55. One thing most people do not know is that very few Lifeguards make it to retirement. From 1970 to 79, one Lifeguard made it to normal retirement. He was the chief. Five went out due to injury. 1980-89, two made it to normal retirement; one chief and one Lt. Ten went out due to injury. From 1990-99, eighteen Lifeguards went out on injury, one died in a river rescue training accident, and none made it to a normal retirement. I do not have the current numbers for 2000-09, but I can tell you that it was the first decade that we saw field guards make it to a normal retirement. It is my belief that less than 20 full time guards have made it to a normal retirement at age 50 in the last forty years. I do not think we are a big drain on the budget. Not sure what the odds are of making it to 55. If the City did not underfund the pension system to build stadiums and hold the republican convention, there would be no pension problem. Join me on a tour and I think you will appreciate how much taxpayers get for the Lifeguard dollar.
— April 15, 2012 9:40 p.m.

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