Avalon harbor master retires

JJ Poindexter File photo

Council bids farewell to JJ Poindexter

Avalon Harbor Master JJ Poindexter will retire at the end of September. The council on Sept. 15 honored him with a proclamation read to him by Mayor Anni Marshall following his contribution to the department head report segment of the council meeting.

He was about to turn away from the podium when Marshall said, “Stay the way you are.”

“Uh oh,” he said.

According to the proclamation, he began his career with Avalon in 1973. He went on to become a part-time harbor patrolman, senior trash boat operator and an “intermittent” jailer.

He resigned in 1977 and returned as a full-time harbor patrolman in 1989. In 1998 he was promoted to assistant harbor master.

Poindexter became interim harbor master upon the retirement of Brian Bray in July 2017. David Jinkens, who was city manager at the time, appointed Poindexter to the harbor master position in early November 2017.

After Marshall read the proclamation, Poindexter received a standing ovation from everyone in the council chambers.

“Simmer down, simmer down,” Poindexter said as he returned to the podium.

His voice broke a couple of times during his remarks.

“It was such a devastating blow to the city and our nation’s economy,” Poindexter said.

He thanked the men and women in the Harbor Department, L.A. County Baywatch lifeguards and paramedics. He also thanked the Avalon Fire Department. “We made a difference in people’s lives,” he said.

“When you make a difference in somebody’s life, there isn’t a drug around that can give you that high,” he said.

He gave a shout out to Fire Chief Mike Krug. “He’s been a tremendous friend,” Poindexter said.

“He’s my number one friend,” Poindexter said.

He thanked City Manager Denise Radde for her guidance and support. He appreciated her friendship.

“You remind me a lot of your dad, who I worked with in the city throughout the years,” he said.

He said he worked for four harbor masters, 11 city managers. He thanked former city manager Jinkens, who hired him. “I’ve worked for eight mayors in my career,” he said.

“It’s a great run,” he said.

Poindexter spoke briefly abut Assistant Harbor Master Orne Carstarphen, who will serve as the interim harbor master. Poindexter started with the Harbor Department in 1991.

“His water experience is really extensive, which makes him perfect for this job, because he understands the weather, the water, and he understands the operation,” Poindexter said.

He predicted the council would be impressed with Carstarphen.

When Poindexter said he was done, he received more applause as he walked away from the podium.