Our View: ‘Party’ at Children’s Pool a wrong step beyond the boundary

A little over a week ago, a group of people organized what they called a “celebratory” event to mark the 80th anniversary of the Children’s Pool — a nice idea that went too far.

They gathered at the beach — on the seals’ side of the rope barrier that’s supposed to guide people away from the marine mammals. Then they parked their chairs, lit their barbecues and partied for several hours.

One of them, pointing out that they are not anti-seal, called the evening “just magic … the seals came up and snuggled up around our feet. Not one seal flushed.”

On another occasion, one of our staff watched as a diver walked down the beach into the water, scaring the seals into the water. But the diver didn’t go in the water. After the seals swam away, he turned around and laughed all the way back to the place where his friends
had set up their awning.

We’ve complained about the pro-seal folks who yell at beachgoers and we’ve wondered why the tables clutter up the otherwise scenic Coast Boulevard sidewalk.

Now, it’s time to say the beach-access crowd has — literally — overstepped the boundary. If they’re trying to force the City Council to call for closing the beach permanently during pupping season or for a year-round rope barrier or to push those who enforce the Marine Mammal Protection Act into action, they need only keep parking their bodies and their barbecues as close as they can to the seals.

Both sides have points to make in this never-ending saga, but there are ways to go about getting a message across and having a barbecue on the beach as close to the seals as you can get is not the way it. (Nor is screaming at people who want to go into the water or preaching about their position to visitors.)

Now, with the rope down until December — or until the court or the city decides it should go back up — it’s time for the beach-access advocates to think before they act.

Their party “to honor” Ellen Browning Scripps for her gift of the breakwater could easily have been held on the high side of the beach. We just don’t understand why they had to disrespect the barrier and hope their actions don’t backfire on them.

We hold dear the right of public access to our beaches and take seriously Ellen Browning Scripps gift to La Jolla, however we wonder what these people were thinking. We really don’t want officials to give all of the Children’s Pool to the seals, even for part of the year, but after this would we certainly understand if that is they decision they make.

Related posts:

  1. Community View: Seals ‘attended’ the celebration at Children’s Pool
  2. Your View: There’s another side to Children’s Pool donation
  3. OPINION: Children’s Pool barrier should be rejected
  4. La Jolla Children’s Pool dedicated 80 years ago
  5. OPINION: Seals at Cove are unwelcome

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=43067

Posted by Staff on Jun 9, 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

32 Comments for “Our View: ‘Party’ at Children’s Pool a wrong step beyond the boundary”

  1. cyberKICK

    The people set up before the seals came. Are you saying as seals approach the people are supposed to be flushed off the beach? Pretty one-sided story.

    As for the rope, if you go further up the beach, where high tide never reaches there are bombs everywhere. You have to setup below the high tide line.

    What really happened is there were no seals. So everybody setup as far up the beach as possible, but where the sand was still clean. Then the seals saw and came. They did not come up on the side of the beach where there were no people. They could have but decided to come right up to where the people are. Sorry, but that isn't harassment.

  2. fishinwithagun

    There is no such thing as "the seals’ side of the rope barrier" , and neither did they "disrespect the barrier "- the beach is an open beach, shared (the rope does not define which areas are to be shared) and the rope barrier has no legal meaning. It doesn't even have a practical meaning. I have seen seals on the "human side" of the rope barrier; does this mean the seals are "disrespecting" the human side? Hell no.

    Furthermore, the event you are commenting on was held AFTER pupping season and after the rope was scheduled to come down on May 15th. At this time the rope was held up by a TRO granted by a Judge who wanted to give a (pathetic) lawyer every fair chance to try and prove his case, which is was not able to.

    Your editorial was based on some pretty flimsy arguments, you cannot fault people for using a public beach legally, you could have focused a much more damning editorial on the seal nuts at the beach who routinely yell through megaphones, set up cash cow tables, lie about beach users, and call the police daily on bogus reports of assault or seal harassment.

    These crazy seal people, who have invaded the beach along with the seals in the past ten years, are the problem at the Children's Pool, NOT the local San Diegans enjoying the beach for its purpose, like they have done for 80 years.

    • James

      I hate to break it to you but, people have been faulted for using the beach legally and now there's a ban on drinking at the beach! You do have rights but the laws will change if you abuse them! I miss being able to have a beer while playing volleyball at South Mission but because a of shenanigans that is no longer a legal option. You may want to read what this person's saying with a bit more respect to the past because if the "Pro-Beach Access" people keep up the seals aren't gonna be the losers.

      • fishinwithagun

        I hate to break it to you James, but the Children's Pool has a trust that cannot be violated. If South Mission beach had a trust that said "this beach shall be for the enjoyment of alcoholic beverages" and the city tried to ban drinking, it would have a hard time. The same example applies for the Children's Pool. The CP trust is the only thing keeping it from being closed, and thank goodness for that .

        Also, it is not the City's purpose to protect marine mammals, that is the Federal Government. The City's purpose is to uphold the trust; it is the custodian of it an the beach. If it does not uphold the terms of the trust it could easily be sued. Your analogy does not hold.

        • James

          From my understanding as of July 2009 the state amended the "trust" to include use as a Marine mammal park and as of Jan 2010 the city of San Diego has full disclosure on how to use the Children's Pool. I'm no lawyer so I don't really know what all that means but Paul Kennerson the attorney who lost the case to have the seals dispersed said “This may well be the end of the line” after the Nov 13, 2009 decision by Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor

          But hey keep doing what you're doing because I love saying "I told you so!"

          • fishinwithagun

            James, how can the city legally uphold both "a marine mammal park for the enjoyment of children" as well as the original statement of the trust, which I quote as,

            "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."

            Closing the beach during any part of the year would be in direct conflict with the rest of the trust.

            The current shared use status is the city's only way it can legally uphold the trust in it's amended form, which by the way the amendment was a disgrace to Scripps and the way certain political elements pulled a fast one on beach users.

            The amendment also makes no sense, as a "marine mammal park" has no definition in the trust, and that phrase commonly refers to places such as sea world or aquariums, regulated by the USDA, and not "in the wild" and thus not subject to the Marine Mammal Protection Act definitions of harassment.

          • James

            Like I said I'm no lawyer. But you can keep arguing the "Original Trust" fight if you want but if it's been amended once then it could be amended again.

            Does the amendment say "Marine mammal park" or "Marine mammal sanctuary"? I believe that wording would make a big difference

            The idea that the use of the Children's pool can't change over time seems completely ridiculous to me. I personally have no interest in living in the La Jolla of 80 years ago. Do you want to go back to the anti-Semitic ways too? Hey maybe we should let anyone grab lobster up till they go the way of the abalone? Or let's get rid of the regulations that keep people from building things like the one on the 900 block of Coast Blvd?

          • James

            I apologize I ment to say "Marine mammal sanctuary" not "Marine mammal park"

          • biddipper

            You were right the first time. The Trust requires a "marine mammal park".

          • James

            No I'm pretty sure I was right the second time it says sanctuary.

          • cyberKICK

            I'm looking at the trust right now, and it say's "…to be forever held by said City of San Diego and its successors in trust for
            the uses and purposes and upon the express conditions following, to wit:
            (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 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."

          • LJ Native

            So the trust had been amended to also include , "marine mammal park for the enjoyment and educational benefit of children", this park was built for people, the state of California excepted the donation of Scripps for the sea wall intern the state granted it in trust to the people of California, it doe's not say seals! The city lost all court battles to the state supreme court, so the did a end run by lobbing Sen. Christine Kehoe who introduced SB428 which amended the trust BECAUSE THEY CAN'T CLOSE IT TO HUMANS!!! If they could they would, but they can't. So now the children have a beach to swim with and to play with the seals, because it is a park for the enjoyment and educational benefit for children, they will learn what happens if they run to close to the seals and will flush into the water if they get to close, and if a child get bit the child learns pain and the parents learn to sue the socks off the city and state.
            again the trust does not say SEALS, it just has "marine mammal " that could mean, manatees, whales, dolphins and sea otters!
            The shared use policy has to work, or the city will have to remove the seals, I don't want that do you…
            BTW, Kennerson did not loose, he still has a judgment and was awarded that judgment but SB428 made it moot!

          • James

            It would be very interesting to see manatees at the Children's pool! That might get the pool closed off for good though!

            I actually do not want the Children's pool closed off year round. I would like the "shared use" concept to work! I like the idea of a Ranger that teaches people about wildlife and safe beach use and maybe some more signage about wild animals. I feel it should be part of the cities job to educate people.

            That being said it's gonna "take a village" for this to happen! The people that advocate shared use come off as being being jerks a lot of the time! (not that some of the seal people don't!) Your PR needs some work. Most people coming to the beach and see a bunch of adults abusing seals. Even if no seal was bothered at anytime! That is the perception! (We know this from the articles written by people going to the beach) If you are using the beach and see a tourists getting to close to the seals try letting them know that it's illegal to bother them help educate. Be a positive tool to keep the beach safe and fun.

            My point with my original comment was that if Pro-Access people keep coming off as seal harassers then the beach will get closed off. The Marine Mammal Protection Act will trump everything.

          • CP Friend

            The MMPA only protects Marine Mammals, they can not close this beach. Do some research into court documents that have litigated over the years on this issue.

          • James

            I love how I get "thumbs down" for being in favor of "shared use"!
            Your arrogance will bite you in the ass. Laws change, attitudes change and as long as the "pro-beach access" group looks like (even if they're not) a bunch of people harassing cute seals the beach will probably be closed off.

  3. Seal Teem 6

    BTW, that rope was up after pupping season was over and was only up per court order (TRO) and you should now that it is not illegal to cross the rope at anytime, so what kinda message are you showing to your readers. you also say a diver walked into the water, but did not go into the water? and After the seals swam away, he turned around and laughed all the way back to the place where his friends
    had set up their awning.
    There was no awning set up on the beach !!!
    Sounds like the Light is trying to stir the pot and spark a little controversy by publishing such BS.

    • lajollalight

      We realize the rope is a guideline and said as much.

      The man who walked into the water and flushed the seals did not do it on the same night. It was on the day of the seal activists' demonstration. The encampment that day was behind the rope but early that morning one diver did walk directly to the water and then return to the beach after the seals flushed. We published the photo several weeks ago.

  4. biddipper

    Several weeks ago there was one guy? And you throw it into a report on a gathering of 50 people and 100 seals in complete harmony? Why no pictures of that? And therefor everybody must stay behind an imaginary line in shame? We divers spend a of of time answering the public's questions since the last ranger quit, like "No – you don't get to pet one. You should stop and wait if one even looks at you". Anybody can come on down and ask divers about their activities and what they do to share nice with seals. Why don't you try it.? Does not appear any of you were there.

    • lajollalight

      We did run a photo of the event in our print edition and I just updated the post on the rope coming down story to show several shots from the evening, including the one that was in print.

      We did have a photographer there for a portion of the event. Those photos are the daylight ones attached to the rope story.

      Our point was that perhaps you should err on the side of caution and not push the envelope. Respecting the ocean and its creatures is admirable, but maybe being back a few feet — or at least putting the grills farther up the beach — would have been wiser.

      _ Thanks, The Editor

      • cyberKICK

        The sand closer to the water is much cleaner. I grill there often, and I stay just below the high tide line. The high tide cleans the sand.

  5. CP Friend

    Well for 1. the sand on the other side of the rope never gets cleaned by the tides and surf, that is the main reason we set up passed the rope.
    2. the tides that night were going into a very hi tide, that location was a hi point yet still a clean portion of the beach. 3. We left the side close to the sea wall open knowing that as the tide came in the seals would have plenty of sand hi and dry. 4. The seals came to us, when we set up earlier the seal were down at the waters edge, as the tide came in the seals moved up the beach, but chose to be with us as the had plenty of room by the wall.
    5. The seals don't recognize the rope and they are use to people standing within a few feet of them, we all have seen pictures of people on one side and seal on the other side of the rope within 2 feet of each other.
    6. I think the La Jolla Light should stick to reporting the news then being a voice of a seal activist!
    But that just my opinion.

  6. La Jolla Resident

    La Jolla Light – "We hold dear the right of public access to our beaches and take seriously Ellen Browning Scripps gift to La Jolla"
    This article was a kick in the teeth to the people that are preserving your right to public access and the Scripps gift. It is now a propaganda piece on extremist websites that harbor the malcontents that are ruining the Children's Pool. Malcontents that would shut down your freedom of speech and press in a second if they had the opportunity.

    • James

      Please show examples of your theory that the "Malcontents" (which I will assume are the Seal Watch people) are trying to "shut down" anyone's freedom of speech.

      • Sean

        Try posting a respectful pro-access comment on any seal activist site and watch how fast you are deleted and blocked…..

    • npk32

      So in order to prevent these malcontents from shutting down our rights to free speech and freedom of the press we should tell our local newspaper to stop printing articles that support opposing viewpoints?

      • Meghan

        No, and that was not the point that "La Jolla Resident" made…

        • npk32

          I guess the point was to level bizarre accusations at seal supporters in an attempt to discredit their cause. However, comparing the opinion piece of a local newspaper to propaganda hardly promotes the principles that he's attempting to defend. I guess the irony was lost on you.

  7. Guest

    if the behavior of the seal protection activists has turned some people off to their cause, then the behavior –and hysterical tea party nut job comments– posted just above is doing the same thing for the other side. If you think that chasing seals into the ocean, some of which were BORN on the beach, in the name of some weird 10th Amendment argument is going to win you converts then you deserve the scorn coming to you. –concerned La Jolla homeowner who prefers watching seals than watching idiots.

    • La Jolla Resident

      The only scorn will be from seal activists posing as concerned citizens

    • biddipper

      You have summed up the lies that are used to mislead the ignorant. There is no group or action to remove seals. The point of the judge's ruling was there are no seals being harmed. Shared use works, because everybody likes the seals and we can share nice. It has to work.
      There is no "people only" action going on. The request is to be allowed to lawfully and respectfully go on public land without being harassed or insulted. To have the City uphold State law to protect public access to a marine mammal park which is required to be a public park and playground and bathing pool. The seals are guaranteed access, and are protected from harm or "being chased into the ocean" by federal law as well.

      • cyberKICK

        I would like to add that a Marine Mammal Park by defination is a park where the animals are in captivity. The city still hasn't built one here yet. A park is for people. In a sanctuary the animals have the right of way, but in a park it is the humans that have the right of way. For example, at Yosemite National Park if a bear wanders too close to campsites, the don't close the camp sites they move the bear. If however Yosemite was a sanctuary, then the campsites bears go to would be closed to humans.

    • James

      The only harrassment I have ever witness down at the children's pool is from the seal activists. They're the ones who come across as real lunatics with bull horns blaring and trying to chase people off a public beach. What I see are the seals and the humans on the beach not harming anything and enjoying each other's company. Clearly the seal activists are overreaching and over dramatizing any issues they believe are happening which makes them appear like idiots compared to someone having a BBQ on the beach. Get a life.

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