Children’s Pool ranger transfers out as confrontations continue

This photo was taken on March 27 about 7:30 p.m. by a visitor from Detroit, Mark Muessig. It appears the people with the umbrella are behind the rope barrier.

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

Lisa Wilson, the ranger recently hired by the city of San Diego to patrol Children’s Pool, has requested and been granted a transfer.

“That ranger position will effectively be open on Saturday (April 2),” said Stacey LoMedico, the city’s Park and Recreation director, adding funding for that position derived from an anonymous donor is scheduled to run out June 30.

“Funding was for one fiscal year,” she said. Any request to renew funding for that ranger position will have to go through the usual annual city budget deliberation process.

“The mayor’s proposed budget comes out April 15,” LoMedico said, noting the donation for the Children’s Pool ranger ‘s salary is being handled through the San Diego Foundation.

Asked whether the ranger would be replaced temporarily, LoMedico replied: “We’re evaluating our options now.”

“I understand the Park and Recreation Department plans to bring back provisional Park Ranger Randy Hawley to patrol the Children’s Pool while they work to identify longer-term options,” said First District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner. “I am very committed to keeping the Ranger program going. I believe the ranger provides the best solution to ensure that all visitors to the Children’s Pool have a safe and enjoyable experience while also keeping the seals safe.”

Lightner added private fundraising efforts are ongoing to ensure the program can continue beyond the end of this fiscal year on June 30.

Meanwhile, altercations at Children’s Pool have been on the increase, with both pro-seal and pro-beach access parties challenging the legal status quo at the pool.

Seal advocates continue to operate a “free speech” table at the pool without a permit, while those advocating open access to the beach continue to recreate at the beach near seals. One group had a campfire there last weekend, that appeared from photos taken by a tourist from Detroit to be inside the rope barrier.

A police spokesman said officers responded to a call complaining about shouting match and possible altercation last weekend, but no one was cited.

“As long as their behavior does not aggravate or flush those seals, they’re within their legal rights,” said San Diego Police Lt. Jim Filley.

Those interested in contributing to the ranger program can contact Lightner’s office at 619-236-6611 or e-mail sherrilightner@sandiego.gov.

Related posts:

  1. City hires permanent ranger for La Jolla Children’s Pool
  2. Free speech is latest battleground at Children’s Pool
  3. La Jollans working to get lights back on in the Village
  4. La Jolla Shores lifeguard, parking projects get underway
  5. Council OKs settlement on claim against Promote La Jolla, new group in offing

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Posted by Dave Schwab on Mar 29, 2011. 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

11 Comments for “Children’s Pool ranger transfers out as confrontations continue”

  1. Michael

    It's time for the seal activists to leave so that the Children's pool will once again be the wonderful place it used to be. La Jolla doesn't need eco-terrorists to watch over the seals,and the rangers shouldn't have to deal with the constant trouble that they cause.

  2. Harry

    It's a shared use beach. I don't get why the seal activists insist on not having people on the sand. If anybody gets flushed out it, should be the eco-terrorists that scream, and yell at the children enjoying themselves.

  3. Ryan

    I agree with Michael. The seal activists claim they are preserving a tourist attraction but they are actually driving tourists away with their rude and verbally violent behavior. Specifically, the organization SealWatch has an unpermitted booth on the sidewalk and its staffers regularly yell at tourists and locals alike.

    This is well documented on Youtube. Copy and paste the following in google search to watch: "The La Jolla Children's Pool: A video summary of the anti-access belligerents"

  4. Concerned Voter

    The eco-terrorist are starting to deter tourist from coming to la Jolla. Maybe someone will finally remove them before La Jolla takes a major loss in tourism and city revenue because of the screaming and yelling people. I know I wouldn't want to take my kids down there right now with the eco-terrorist throwing rocks at beach goers and screaming at children.

  5. Anne

    As an actual resident of La Jolla, I am happier flushing out the people from the beach. The same group of people are hired to go on the beach every weekend and put up their umbrellas, lawn chairs & light fires to make a point.. it looks like a trailer park. If that is everyone's intention for shared use then why don't you all head down a couple of miles to Mission Beach where you will feel right at home. Go Seals!

    • Ryan

      First of all, you are outright lying when you say "a group of people are hired" to go to the beach. Seriously, where do you even begin to think such a thing? I'm certainly not getting a check in the mail when I use the beach.

      Anne, let me tell you what the problem is with your thinking. Even if the majority of residents of La Jolla support closing the beach, it still should not (and could not) be done. I'm tired of this whole "localism" argument. First of all, as a citizen of the United States I am free to travel to any place in the country. Secondly, as a Californian, all tidelands are available to me for fishing and beach access unless otherwise explicitly purposed. Thirdly, as a San Diegan, there is no legal definition to "La Jolla"- it is part of the city of San Diego. Don't think your proximity to the pool gives you any more weight than someone from Mission Beach.

      Regardless, nobody cares if the "majority of La Jollans" think the Children's Pool should be closed. These types of decisions do not run off of pure democracy. Just think if any measure required a simple vote to pass; the rights of the minority would be trampled on constantly. You can bet that in the 1950s "a majority of southerners" did not want desegregation of schools. That's why we have guarantees of rights for minorities. It's the same with beach access. Obviously a minority of people use the beach. Should the 70% who never go to the beach have a say on shutting it down? No thanks. The beach has been purposed specifically for, and I quote from amended SB 428,

      "a) That said lands shall be devoted exclusively to public park,
      marine mammal park for the enjoyment and educational benefit of
      children, bathing pool for children, parkway, highway,
      playground and recreational purposes, and to such other uses as may
      be incident to, or convenient for the full enjoyment of such purposes
      ; .
      (b) The absolute right to fish in the waters of the Pacific
      ocean Ocean over said tidelands or
      submerged lands, with the right of convenient access to said waters
      over said lands for said purpose is hereby reserved to the people of
      the State of California."

      Now, the "marine mammal park" addition in the bill means nothing in practical terms. The establishment of such a "park" could never make null the other purposes of the pool. It is in direct conflict with the rest of the trust. Furthermore, a "marine mammal park" is not defined in the amended trust. But we know that "marine mammal parks" are actually attractions such as SeaWorld and aquariums, and are regulated by the USDA. Sorry, the Children's Pool will never become a "marine mammal park".

      The beach will continue to be used by people regardless of where they call home. It is not selfish to use the beach. Harbor seals have many other places in very close proximity with equal viewing access to tourists/seal enthusiasts if there is not "room" on the beach when people are using it. Furthermore, this whole seal invasion and subsequent tourist attraction of the Children's Pool is not a time honored tradition. It has only been in place since the first seal pup was observed being born at the beach, roughly 10 years ago.

      In the time shared use has been in place, the seal colony has only grown, with the current pupping season flourishing. Do a youtube search for "sunday with the seals" for video evidence of this.

    • michael

      I have lived down the street from the Childrens Pool for 30 years….
      No one is being hired to go on the beach. Who told you this?
      Let me guess…a seal activist…

  6. Level Head

    Clearly you don't understand the meaning of the term "shared use". Calling names and disrespecting people or the animals is childish and unproductive. Maintaining space for the seals during the pupping season is a small concession to make given the level of enjoyment so many people get from watching nature in action. San Diego has hundreds of miles of beach space that people can choose to visit without purposely aggravating another species while they care for their newborns.

  7. Stan the man

    Criminal behavior from the seal activists is a desperate measure and they have been desperate for years with a long list of criminal activity like recently, rock throwing, petty theft of beach umbrellas, assault and battery on several people and minors with the arrest and restraining orders, slashing car tires, and attack with a stun gun.
    Now they are organizing some kind of protest against beach goers this Sunday April 3rd at 2 pm. with a long list of this type of behavior it is unlikely to be peaceful.
    When will the city run these bullies out of town and bring peace and order to the jewel of San Diego.

  8. nature lover 858

    ok, I really have gotten frustrated. I was so embarrassed when visiting my lifetime favorite spot; the Children's Pool. The seal lovers were yelling at visitors, a bad PR move for San Diego. Our friends and family are planning a reunion picnic on Sunday. It will be a sunny day. The seal lovers have turned on lifeguards too. When will the City get a grip and shoo these crazies away?

  9. Paloma

    I enjoy bringing my children to the Children's Pool specifically to admire the beauty of the seals. We view them from the sea wall. It's sometimes a wonderful experience. Sadly, when we visit, most of the seals are gone, flushed into the water, by selfish people that need to get right up close to them. Yes folks, standing 20 feet away from marine wildlife is frightening to the marine wildlife. I don't come to Children's Pool to watch the selfish people that can't stand that seals occupy 1/1000th of the San Diego Coastline, I come to watch the seals. Sadly, and lately, these selfish people can't seem to get their arses off the beach so the seals can rest and take care of their families.

    Walk 75 feet and you can have your own beach on the other side of the sea wall. Why are you people so selfish and can't let seals have their own home? It may have been designed for human use, but nature—wonderful God given nature, had other plans! Enjoy the rare beauty of these wonderful creatures and get the heck off the beach!

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