La Jolla seal debate goes back to court on Thursday

A gull flies over harbor seal at the Children's Pool. Photo: File/Kathy Day

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

The legal challenge to the Planning Commission’s decision that the rope barrier at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool be removed will be back in court Thursday.

The Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL) will be in Judge Lisa Foster’s courtroom at 8:30 a.m. in its continuing efforts to keep the rope barrier up. The hearing will be in Dept. 60 of the San Diego Superior Court, 330 W. Broadway St.

APRL attorney Bryan Pease has been lobbying for the rope barrier to be in place year-round and not just during the marine mammals’ Dec. 15 to May 15 pupping season.

He contends that it was never the legislative intent of the City Council to allow an inferior body — the Planning Commission — to overrule it.

Pease states in a press release that he has signed declarations from four of the city council members who for the guideline rope to protect the La Jolla seal rookery. The release also states he has “new evidence of harassment” since Foster ordered the rope’s removal on June 3.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has defended the Planning Commission’s veto ropeline, taking the position that the rope is an “intrusion of development into environmentally sensitive lands.”

According to Pease, Congresswoman Susan Davis has submitted an amicus letter to the court indicating she believes “the Marine Mammal Protection Act preempts decisions interfering with the City Council’s management plan that was approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service.”

Related posts:

  1. Free speech is latest battleground at Children’s Pool
  2. Seal supporters protest shared use at pool
  3. Sides at Children’s Pool clearly drawn at Sunday seal rally
  4. Children’s Pool ranger transfers out as confrontations continue
  5. City hires permanent ranger for La Jolla Children’s Pool

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Posted by Dave Schwab on Jun 22, 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

4 Comments for “La Jolla seal debate goes back to court on Thursday”

  1. Davy Jones

    I like how seal Watch had blasted Judge Foster and her husband on there blog sites and now hopes she will intervene on there behalf and all the time wasting money of SD tax payers. Give it a rest Mr. Stun Gun Pease and go to Hawaii and help the Monk seal, a truly endangered species….

  2. biddipper

    Where can one find that declaration by Jan Goldsmith about the rope being an intrusion on a public beach? That is major because that makes the rope illegal under California law – At Any Time of Year.
    And though a federal law like the MMPA would trump a local statute, were there any conflict, that only means the City has to obey the MMPA, not that it is supposed to enforce it. In fact, it is not allowed to. Let the feds come here and string up a rope. They got money.
    I wish the Light could get some perspective – this is not a seal debate. The seals are fine and share nice. It is about nasty selfish people driving other people off a public beach to prove they can do it. It is a civil rights issue, driven by greed, turf, power and ego. The usual stuff.

  3. Califia

    If it is up to the City Council of San Diego to pronounce edicts and then expect all laws, procedures and regulations to fall in line with those edicts then B. Pease might have something.

    Otherwise there are procedures to follow in requesting permits to close access to a public beach. Just wanting something doesn't necessarily make it legal. Suppose the Council wanted to fence off Children's Pool and begin charging admission to view wildlife to balance the City budget. Would that go unchallenged? Should the Planning Commission just ignore the legality of this just because the City Council wants it? And when is it ever proper for the Applicant of a building permit to determine if a development meets all building codes and land use requirements? Bet a few private developers and contractors would like that deal.

    The San Diego City Council is the applicant for this Coastal Development Permit, through the Park and Recreation Department, to maintain a year round rope barrier on Children's Pool beach. The Council cannot be the decision maker on approval of their own permit application. They should recuse themselves from having any further involvement in deciding the rope barrier issue. The City Council made their request and it was determined to be a violation of the California Coastal Act after careful consideration by the Planning Commission. This was the correct decision by the Planning Commission.

    If State and City laws are to be followed, the correct procedure was used by allowing the Planning Commission to rule on a land use issue appeals involving the Coastal Act, Local Coastal Program and Coastal Development Permits when the City Council is the applicant. The MMPA protects animals, it doesn't determine land use in a public park.

    We can only hope that Judge Foster will see through Pease's "Hail Mary" pass trying once again to get his personal agenda rammed through. Meanwhile, taxpayers are footing the bill.

  4. cyberKICK

    The rope shouldn't even be up ever. It isn't the city's job to enforce or even develop policy regarding the MMPA.

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