Appeal of year-round rope barrier at Children’s Pool is Dec. 9

Seal pupping season officially begins Dec. 15. Photo: File

Staff Writer

There is a flurry of activity surrounding the La Jolla’s Children’s Pool as the placement of a rope barrier separating humans from harbor seals during their pupping approaches.

On Thursday, Dec. 9 the city Planning Commission will hear an appeal brought by the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) challenging year-round placement of the rope barrier at the pool.

Meanwhile, animal advocates have launched an 11th-hour legal attempt to get the rope barrier up at the pool even earlier than the Dec. 15 start of the seals’ pupping season. And, seal advocates led by attorney Bryan Pease of the Animal Protection & Rescue League, are disputing a new city regulation allowing only two free-speech tables at a time, via a monthly lottery, at Children’s Pool.

In the first lottery held for the new monthly pool regulation effective Dec. 1, two pro-beach access groups, San Diego Council of Divers and Children’s Pool Friends, received permits to set up information tables.

“A federal court recently struck down a similar lottery system in Venice Beach, and the conservation groups here intend to set up their tables as they have for the past six years,” said Pease in an e-maill which also admonishes Mayor Jerry Sanders for “continuing to fail to follow a council resolution he signed last June requiring immediate replacement of the guideline rope that keeps humans and seals a safe distance apart, and complete closure of the beach during pupping season Dec. 15-May 15.”

Pease also filed a motion Nov. 30 in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order (tro)  to get the pool rope barrier up sooner than Dec. 15. “The rope barrier was supposed to be up all summer,” he said. “This is a critical time as the pupping season actually starts Dec. 1, not Dec. 15.”

Noting weekends are the worst times when there is the greatest likelihood of humans interfering with seals and their behavior, Pease said having the rope up even one additional weekend before the 15th “could decrease the possibility of premature births.”

“I’m also asking that the beach be closed during pupping season,” he said.

Deputy City Attorney George Schaefer said the city disputes Pease’s legal claims.

“The city’s position is that this lawsuit is totally frivolous,” said Schaefer. “This is the fourth lawsuit Mr. Pease has filed, and he’s lost them all, the federal judges have dismissed them. Now he’s filing a new application (tro) on grounds that were not even raised in the original lawsuit. You can’t go back and raise a new issue, in this case that people shouldn’t be allowed on the beach, that weren’t part of the original lawsuit.”

In preparation for the Dec. 9 hearing, Joe LaCava, LJCPA president, has raised several challenges in the planning group’s written appeal of the city’s proposal to place the Children’s Pool rope barrier up year-round. The meeting is set for 9 a.m. in City Council Chambers, 12th floor, 202 C St. in downtown San Diego.

Among points raised against putting the pool rope barrier up year-round, LJCPA contends the proposal:

    Is in conflict with lateral and vertical access to the shoreline.

    Findings cannot be made that it will not encroach on any existing physical accessway legally used by the public.

    Fails to adequately consider the ranger program and other options to the rope barrier.

    Does not qualify for a CEQA exemption.

Related posts:

  1. City restricts First Amendment sellers at Children’s Pool
  2. Roundabout reasoning revisited
  3. Life at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool: Two views
  4. Divers pulled from water off La Jolla
  5. Ranger has his hands full with Children’s Pool

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Posted by Dave Schwab on Dec 2, 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 “Appeal of year-round rope barrier at Children’s Pool is Dec. 9”

  1. Phyllis Minick

    Mr. La Cava of the LJCPA cites legitimate objections to any barrrier on the Children's Pool beach and represents opinions of beachgoers throughout San Diego, not limited to La Jollans. The State constitution (Article 10) forbids limiting the public's right of way to public beaches. Both the City and the State are bound by Resolution #54177 (4/23/31) to make the Children's Pool a bathing area for children (that includes marine mammals). A recent commentary in the LJ Light that this area is a natural seal rookery is not true, and children are far more benefitted by interacting with the seals than simply watching them from a distance, as they could do on TV.

  2. Phyllis Minick

    From the Sea World website:
    Most Harbor Seal pups are born February – July but earlier farther south . . . in Baja California, the season is February and March.

  3. Terry Livingston

    I was walking my dog by Children's Beach this morning to see the installation of the police video cameras inside the lifeguards compound, I inquired to the purpose of the cameras and was not surprised to here that the cameras are here to protect the public from the seal activist as they have been becoming more and more of a problem there.
    Again the seal activist are the main problem at the pool, get rid of them and things will return to normal and the police camera system can be used to protect the public at the shopping malls form holiday thieves.

  4. ProSeal

    Deputy City Attorney George Schaefer is a defamation spreading clown : the only frivolous lawsuit was the one he lost to the anti-seal lawyer Paul Kennerson that cost the City of San Diego 1 million dollars. Pro-seal activists like Pease are heroes. If the La Jolla Light will keep printing more of such BS, I will start throwing it directly into my trashcan.

  5. Phillis is right about the law. I only would like to add that the line in the SB 428 that states "marine mammal park" doesn't change anything. A "marine mammal park" hasn't been built yet. By defination a "marine mammal park" is a park like Sea World where the animals are in captivity. I have contacted the USDA about it and The Children's Pool doesn't qualify at this time to be considered a Marine Mammal Park (MMP) because the animals are free to leave. If a park is to be built, permits are required from the USDA and proper facilities are needed (vets, cleaning, etc).

  6. Denny

    Reply to ProSeal,
    The City would not have lost any money if they would have followed the trust and not had Sea World stock the waters in and around Children's Pool with well over a hundred rehab seals, "FACT", that is way the city was sued and lost for breach of trust !
    Your hero, anti shared use activist Bryan Pease, arrested for assault with a STUN GUN, at Children's Pool Beach has cost the city and federal governments thousands and soon to be millions suing the city for frivolous lawsuits. He is now costing the city tax payers and may bankrupted the city….

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