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Laguna Beach set to unveil OC’s first Pride-themed lifeguard tower

KIFI

By David González

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    LAGUNA BEACH, California (KABC) — The city of Laguna Beach is expected to soon unveil the first Pride-themed lifeguard tower in Orange County.

Craig Cooley, president of Laguna Beach Pride 365 said, “I just want to make an absolutely clear that the tower is about promoting diversity and inclusion.”

Cooley said Laguna Beach has been a popular destination for the LGBTQ+ community for decades.

He came up with the idea for the rainbow-colored tower as a way to build a bridge between the community and those who identify as LGBTQ+.

“I don’t want to see another kid commit suicide because he can’t be himself,” Cooley said. “I don’t want to see another young adult be shunned or thrown out of their home because their parents don’t appreciate or understand what he’s trying to do and who he’s trying to be.”

The tower is being built and will be placed at West Street Beach in the next two months.

“We have two people in the community donate the funds to make the rainbow visible. City was purchasing six lifeguard towers in their taking over the beaches so with that they thought well let’s put the rainbow on one of them for us,” he said.

Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen said, “Laguna has always been a leader in terms of diversity, inclusion and respecting individual lifestyles and we think this does that and also honors a little bit of our history.”

He said the Pride tower is a small part of big changes coming to the city’s beaches.

Whalen said they will soon take over control of a three mile stretch of beach from Orange County from Aliso Beach to past South Laguna.

“We just thought that having our marine safety guys out there would be better for marine safety, public safety. They’ll coordinate with our fire department or our police department. It’s going to be a seamless transition,” Mayor Whalen said.

He said the county will give the city $22 million to take over the contract which will pay for the first ten years of service.

Also, Whalen said they plan to hire about 50 temporary lifeguards during the summer who will keep residents and visitors safe.

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