Our View: Time for both sides to take a time out at Children’s Pool

With only a month left in the official seal pupping season, we’re hopeful that the advocates on both sides of this emotional issue will take a time out to consider what they have created.

We realize people are passionate about wanting or not wanting the harbor seals at the Children’s Pool. We’ve listened to both sides and are as conflicted about it as many locals are. Our own staff staff stands on both sides of the discussion.

The point here is not to take a stand, but rather to ask those that feel they have to cross the rope barrier and set up their beach camps and those that shout and send videotapes showing what they say is harassment to step back. Take a look at YouTube and you can view both sides, and neither presentation is pretty.

People who live here and come to La Jolla enjoy our spectacular views and usually peaceful beaches. Some like seeing the seals; others partake of our shopping, dining and vacation spots. Sometimes do all of the above.

But when the experience is interrupted by shouting matches or the view is cluttered by tables full of literature and items for sale, we believe the Jewel loses a good bit of its luster. The Light has received many letters from tourists complaining about the tension they feel walking by the Children’s Pool, and even a few who said they will never return because of what they and their children witnessed.

We urge the “pro-beach” people and the “seal advocates” to take a look inward. If they were innocent passersby with their children in tow, how would they explain the shouting and the people who don’t respect the signs or the rope barrier?

We don’t have a solution but think city and state officials should take another look at the rules, including the “free speech tables” and the use of a ranger, none of which seem to be working at this point.

Meanwhile, we encourage the two sides to step back. Maybe they could all take the rest of pupping season off and see what happens. Maybe the people and seals who want to use the beach would all be better off. For sure, those of us who like to walk along the coastline would be.

Related posts:

  1. Your View: Situation at Children’s Pool makes no sense
  2. Your View: An ode to the Coast Boulevard regulars
  3. Opinion: Key to ocean safety is not to panic
  4. Opinion: I don’t want a seal rookery
  5. OPINION: Speak up if you care about the Village

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=39317

Posted by Staff on Apr 14, 2011. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

9 Comments for “Our View: Time for both sides to take a time out at Children’s Pool”

  1. Davy Jones

    I can understand your confusion as the media never reports this issue correctly, or you fail to comprehend that “pro-beach” people DON'T HATE the seals, and are NOT trying to rid them off, we can share and don't mind there presents on the beach, as the seals don't mind us on the beach, we just want to ingress and egress the ocean, yes we are behind the rope as this is the cleanest portion of the beach which is cleansed by the tides, the tides do not pass the rope, that is why it is far back on the beach so the tide doesn't wash the poles and signs away. When the city starts to clean up the beach of the seal fecal matter like they were ordered by the courts, things could be different.
    We are content to view seals on the beach away from the shore and we don't have to rush over to take there pictures when they come ashore like the tourist that desires to get up close for a photo op.
    The seals have adapted to this beach as I and many others, now its time everyone else does the same.
    The TRUST was amended so the seals can stay! It has to work, or the city will be forced to remove the seals, I don't want that, do you?

  2. michael

    If I were an innocent passersby with my children in tow, and had a complete understanding of the circumstances before me, how would I explain the shouting and the people who don’t respect the signs or the rope barrier?
    - I would explain to them how this situation has nothing to do with seals.
    - I would explain to them how the majority of tourists, citizens, volunteers and the media have no idea what is really going on in this battle.
    - I would explain to them how the organizers and fanatics with the seal activists hate people. How they refer to humans as less than worms and cockroaches. How they refer to humans as "breeders".
    - I would explain the lies and deceit that the seal activists use and their adherence to the Karl Marx maxim "accuse others of what you are".
    - I would explain that there is huge money to made in activism and fooling the public to make a buck. And that if there wasn't a lot of money to be made that APRL would not be there. When in doubt follow the money…
    - I would explain that La Jolla has always been crowded for decades and that the artificial "seal world" as opposed to the past situation of the seals mostly being on the surrounding rocks does not bring in the extra tourist dollars that politicians crave.
    - I would explain that seals are not endangered or being harmed by people and that the seal activists are using hysteria to get their way.
    - I would explain that the pro-access people have to maintain a year round presence on the beach or they risk losing access to that beach and probably nearby beaches forever.
    - I would explain that the already too large population of seals has turned the immediate environment into a wasteland and that supporting a growing population of seals next to an ecological and marine reserve is nothing short of stupid.
    - I would explain that the Children's Pool used to be a wonderful place, for humans and nature, before the activists got their claws on it.
    - I would explain that the real solution to this problem is to get rid of the seal extremists and return the Children's pool back to the wonderful place it used to be.
    - I would explain that falsely being labeled "seal haters" and "anti-seals" is the price that has to be paid in order to do what is right and just for humans and the seals.

  3. fishinwithagun

    This editorial brings up some good points. Nobody wants our beaches to become a "battleground", where yelling and tension exist. Especially when all tourists want is to see a few seals. It leaves a bad taste in the mouths of both locals and visitors.

    Unfortunately, the editorial does not address the true source of the tension, which is brought about by the seal fanatics. One should have seen the beach last Saturday. There was not a single seal fanatic present the entire day. Tourists were on the beach and seawall getting pictures of the seals (the pinnipeds were undisturbed), divers were bringing back catches of fish, and children were playing. There was no tension. The humans and seals were at peace.

    La Jolla Light… please don't play dumb. Your editorial is basically a mimic of what the San Diego Union Tribune opined last week . I was expecting more of a stance instead of a spineless appeasement tone that fails to understand the real issue here.

    It would be great to see the La Jolla Light actually do an investigative reporting piece on the groups involved at the Children;'s Pool. Do some real digging, assign a journalist to be down there for a few weeks to observe. What you will find is the entire source of tension and hate is the "seal fanatics". Also expose how much money they are taking in each year due to lying to tourists about pup mortalities caused by swimmers, that the seals need saving, etc. They gross over $300,000. Don't naively expect a group like that to "look inward and step back", you'd be hurting their revenue!

    • michael

      I agree with you about last Saturday….The APRL(Sealwatch) was not there and it was the best day that the Children's Pool has seen in a long time. So peaceful, and everything and everybody got along just fine.

  4. SDResident

    Shared use is the way. And don't give me this "seals are harmed" business. People have access to that beach for the last 10 years. There has been constant human-seal interaction. The seal number increases every year for the last 10 years. Some real harm.

    Don't drink the coolaid. Visit the table or website of the panhandler (err….seal advocates) and see how quickly you are hit up for a "donation." Same with their website. Multiply that by the number of tourists and wow, what a money machine. The seal thing is a sideshow. Again, what harm has been shown to the ever increasing number of seals on that beach?

    • npk32

      If it's such a money machine maybe the city should close off the beach and set up their own table. I'm pretty sure they could use an extra $300k right now. Imagine if they had two tables?

  5. bigdipper

    Try harder to learn the facts. The sales table lottery system came to Children's Pool by the City Attorney's advice. He then decided it is unenforceable and the police cannot act because he will not back them. There has been a lottery every moth since December. APRL has never participated. That is the only reason they never got a space. They have defied the police from day one and gotten away with it.
    Understand, this is only about COMMERCIAL free speech. There is nothing to rethink – it is all up to the City Attorney. He is the only person responsible for this.

  6. James

    I keep reading the comments on the various Children's Pool articles and I keep seeing "it's the Seal Activist creating tension" I'm at the Children's Pool everyday! and it's only the weekends things are out of control. Every Saturday and Sunday there are 4-6 tables plus tents set up on the beachs and I don't know how many signs put up by the "Pro-Beach" group(s) and one table for the Seal Activist with one person working it. I'm sure there's a lot of middle ground to find what's best for the seals and people. Growing up I became and Eagle Scout and part of that process was learning how to enjoy nature with out destroying it, and in all my adventures backpacking and camping I would have never approached animals sleeping of any kind didn't matter where they were or what size. If the campsite we wouldn't scare off animals to set up camp let alone run them off of where they are having there babies! And while "shared use" sounds beautiful anyone that spends time at the Pool on the weekends will tell you people can't just leave the wild animals alone! I have pictures of people circling pups nursing on the beach cutting off there quick shot to the safety of the water that's not shared use! Leave the wild animals alone!

    • michael

      This comment generated by your selective perception has left out many important details.
      - The seal activists are the ones screaming at people on a public beach
      - The seal activists are the ones yelling at tourists that approach the pro-access table
      - The seal activists are the ones that incite violence and hatred
      - The seal activists are the ones that throw rocks
      - The seal activists are the ones slandering innocent citizens
      - The seal activists are the ones that claim divers and swimmers are harassing the seals as the seals willingly approach the swimmers and divers inside or outside the Children's Pool
      I could go on and on with examples. You are right in that this generally happens on weekends and that we all should persuade tourists to not crowd the seals. However the tension and unrest clearly comes from the seal activists, primarily the APRL.
      The pro-access people are generally kind,polite and respectful people unless they are continually harassed and "backed up against a wall " which the APRL loves to do.
      When the seal activists leave the pro-access table will disappear but this will not happen because the APRL makes way too much money fooling tourists.

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