City restricts First Amendment sellers at Children’s Pool

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

The city of San Diego is clamping down on the proliferation of First Amendment seller tables at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool, restricting the number of permitees and holding a monthly lottery for applicants effective Dec. 1.

An initial lottery was held Nov. 2 for the first two permits, which were both awarded to pro-beach access groups the San Diego Council of Divers and The Children’s Pool Friends.

Pro-seal groups such as the Animal Protection and Rescue League and La Jolla Friends of the Seals, did not apply for, and were not granted, permits to have tables at the popular seal-viewing and water-recreation site.

Dorota Valli of the Animal Protection & Rescue League and Sealwatch sets up for the day. Photo: Greg Nelsen

In a letter sent out Oct. 15 by the city to potential First Amendment Seller applicants at Children’s Pool, it was stated that two sites at Children’s Pool have been designated as permit sites, subject to change due to the impending Children’s Pool Lifeguard Station construction project.

The city’s letter stated park permits for Children’s Pool are open to all First Amendment sellers, and that each of the two sites is subject to a separate lottery drawing, with each applicant drawing a number that will be used to determine the order in which they will be allowed to select days for each location.

A fee of $5 per day, with a $50 monthly maximum, will be assessed for each First Amendment seller at each location paid before permit issuance.

Ellen Shively, president of La Jolla Friends of the Seals, said her nonprofit group is largely unaffected by the new regulation. “We don’t have a table down there (pool),” she said. “The only money that passes hands is donations for our educational program, though we do have signs.”

Shively however disagrees philosophically with the new city regulation. “I do think it is an erosion of our free speech rights, and just an overreaction from the swimming and diving community to our effort to protect the seals,” she said.

On the other hand, John Leek, secretary for the San Diego Council of Divers, which has been lobbying the city to restrict First Amendment sellers at the pool, said the new regulation is a vindication of his group’s position.

“For us it’s a civil rights issue,” Leek said. “We were being harassed from the bully pulpit of anti-beach activists for years, which was all illegal. The city came up with the plan.”

Bryan Pease, spokesman for the Animal Protection and Rescue League, which has regularly hosted a table at Children’s Pool, said he was unaware of the new city regulation restricting the number of First Amendment sellers there.

Pease questioned the legality of the restriction, citing a recent federal court ruling issuing a preliminary injunction against Venice Beach regulations implementing a lottery system for First Amendment sellers.

“The Court found ‘plaintiffs are likely to establish that the permitting system is not narrowly tailored to promote a significant government interest,’ ” noted Pease in an e-mail.

Related posts:

  1. Divers pulled from water off La Jolla
  2. Ranger has his hands full with Children’s Pool
  3. City moves closer to installing year-round seal barrier at Children’s Pool
  4. Hearing set for Wednesday on La Jolla seals rope barriers
  5. Advisory group pleased with ranger at Children's Pool

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Posted by Dave Schwab on Nov 17, 2010. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

6 Comments for “City restricts First Amendment sellers at Children’s Pool”

  1. Mike

    All the first amendment you want there, just no harassment or stupid tables and peddling your crap for profit is fine with me. Let us have our sidewalk, and beach back in peace. We don't go to the childrens pool to buy junk to support whatever cause, we go there to enjoy nature, the seals, the swimming, the snorkeling, the birds, the waves, etc. No more crap at our beach please.

  2. Tony

    I can see it now, get ready city attorneys office, another lawsuit filed by Mr. Stun Gun Bryan Pease. Draining the city and tax payer over the children's Pool again, and when you loose again , Dorota might have to look for a real job. Better get your resume updated… let see, you can yell at children and people with a bullhorn, video tape people and license plates, a professional prevaricator, con artist…..

  3. Phony Bologna

    How can Bryan Pease say he was unaware of the new city regulation restricting the number of First Amendment sellers there! He had a meeting with Park and Recs.and the city attorney. He was also on the emailed list sent out to all interested parties and the Ranger gave notification to Dorota at her table. what do you expect from a coward that attacks a man on that beach with a stun gun….

  4. Califia

    Hey La Jolla Light. You're into the censorship business again I see. Where are all the comments posted and not displayed here?

    • Califia

      Is it just a coincidence that only after an opposing group decided to organize and speak out against the APRL/SealWatch monopoly at Children’s Pool that the city was motivated to do something about the mess at Children’s Pool? Rumor has it that APRL has been sheltered from prosecution for violating city ordinances for years by a high ranking city official and allowed these groups to amass a small fortune from trinket sales to uninformed tourists. That official, no longer in office, cannot protect the one sided activities at the pool any longer and the seals first, seals only crowd is beside itself.

      APRL founder and "pro bono" liar, Bryan Pease are you kidding? The city is about to curtail your illegal, $300,000 a year retail operation on a public sidewalk in a public park (Children's Pool) and you don't know anything about it? And what’s the significant public interest as the reason for the regulation enforcement? How about the city’s obligation to protect its citizens from animal rights terrorists who constantly harass and disturb citizens lawfully using this public beach.

      Pease cannot hide from his past. He was arrested and charged with a stun gun assault on the Children's Pool Beach. To save his career as a lawyer in California he was forced to plead no contest. He cannot hide the past criminal acts he has been charged with. He uses the retail operation at Children's Pool to fund his activist/eco-terrorist lifestyle and to file frivolous lawsuits against anyone who disagrees with him. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and the taxpayers of San Diego were his latest victims. More to come I'm sure because a tiger cannot change its stripes. The website at activistcash dot com has all the sorry details about this predatory attorney.

      Ellen Shively solicits donations for a “night guard” at Children’s Pool. Can’t you be bothered to harass and terrorize citizens yourself anymore? You need to hire someone to do it for you? The “education” you provide with that donated money is to frighten and shoo children off their beach at Children’s Pool and lie to their parents. Your bad behavior is a poor example to the children you harass.

      The seals at Children’s Pool are perfectly safe under the city’s joint use policy which allows seals and people to have access to this man made beach. The seal stocking program by Sea World was successful and now seals have become accustomed to people nearby. They swim with people and are curious by nature. People have been interacting with these seals for years without a problem. The seal activists are the problem. They need to demonize anyone who doesn’t agree with their view to try to persuade unsuspecting visitors to their mistaken opinion.
      Narrow minded special interest groups like Friends of Seals and SealWatch have only themselves to blame for the continuing confrontations at Children’s Pool. Citizens will continue to push back and resist the harassment.

      Hopefully a more informed and reasonable San Diego City Council can come to a better decision on how to share this beach which does not violate the Children’s Pool Trust, the Coastal Act and the California Constitution, all of which protect people’s right to use this beach. The San Diego City Council's earlier attempts have been failures.

  5. clk

    Who should ask the seal tables to leave, as they have no permits.. Come on SDPD get rid of any tables with no permit!!!! Have some respect for the laws. W@hat can I do to shoo themaway?? SDPD HELP

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