Letters to the Editor: New seal cam at Children’s Pool in La Jolla is a wonderful resource

OUR READERS WRITE: Letters to the Editor

New seal cam at Children’s Pool in La Jolla is a wonderful resource
Mayor Filner, thank you so much for approving the installation of the seal cam at Children’s Pool Beach! What an incredible educational opportunity for people from all over the world to see harbor seals in a natural, yet urban environment. Although I am grateful that you have lengthened the rope line to 152 feet to correct the error from last season, some people, often encouraged by the professional harassers and their friends, do not adhere to the guideline viewing requirements and cross the rope, disturbing many of the pregnant female seals from critical rest.

In past pupping-season years, the first births took place at the end of January. If people occupy the beach close to the waterline, the seals will not be able to haul out. As a result, there will not be a place to deliver and nurture their pups, which can cause infant mortality rates to rise. If the distance requirements are enforced, we will have a pupping season that will amaze viewers far and wide!
Thank you for caring and taking action to protect the seals. Your noble actions are appreciated by so many of us who love the seals!
Deborah Saracini
Del Mar

• Re: Children’s Pool, bikini cam and the 4th Amendment
Dear Mayor Filner and the Wan Nature Conversancy,
One can pick up an Internet webcam at the local electronics store for around $30 yet you recently allowed the installation of a $40,000 advanced, high-definition, infra-red, night-vision, remotely operated surveillance camera to be installed on public property at the La Jolla Children’s Pool, to be operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We all know that the police use these types of cameras for law enforcement, counter-terrorism, and drug tracking in high-crime areas. Advanced surveillance software enables easy facial recognition and profiling of criminal activity and other sinister threats. Since when did the Children’s Pool become this breeding ground of such illegal activity?

You have claimed publically that this surveillance camera will only be used to monitor seals and only for scientific purposes. Why then is this camera targeting unsuspecting citizens sitting on the beach, clearly not involved in any illegal or criminal activities (as frames captured off your web page on Feb. 9, 2013 at 11:24 a.m. illustrate).

Why are you broadcasting their images globally across the Internet? Do you have their permission? Do they know that they are under surveillance? Do they look like seals?

We have it on good authority (American Bar Association) “.. . that video surveillance can only be used to ‘see’ into a particular area if the Fourth Amendment allows a traditional search of the area.”

This government-sanctioned, indiscriminate surveillance of the general public without probable cause on a public beach seems to violate the constitutional right to privacy as interpreted by the Fourth Amendment under the Constitution of the United States. What’s next? Frisking children and girls in bikinis on the beach?
Peter Martin
La Jolla

• Good to see that the seals have friends
Special thanks to Mayor Filner for lengthening the guideline rope, and to Sarah and Larry Wan of the Western Alliance for Nature Conservancy for installing the seal cam at Casa Beach (aka Children’s Pool). Special thanks to Donna Frye and Jane Reldan, too, for their continuing role in harbor seal protection at Casa Beach.

Now that the harbor seals are receiving the respect and recognition they have needed so badly for so long, the public can expect far better recreational seal watching than ever before.

Anti-seal activists who encourage the public to go beyond the rope are compromising public safety by guiding people into the seal’s haul-out and pupping area; the sand used by hauled-out seals is rich with seal fecal nutrients unsuitable for human children. Ironically, the divers who want the beach for themselves forget that seal nutrients brought from offshore feeding enrich the near shore ecosystem, which near the top of the food chain increases the number of spiny lobsters available in nearby rock-reefs for sport divers and commercial lobstermen to gather.
Jim Hudnall
Skindiver/underwater photographer who grew up in La Jolla

• La Jollans have the last laugh
Each week when I read the La Jolla Light, I wonder to myself, “Don’t we have more important matters to worry about than another place for our kids to swim or continuing to float money-draining government agencies in obscenely expensive real estate?”
And that’s when the beauty of living in La Jolla hit me. We really don’t have that much else to worry about. Relatively speaking, we have low crime rates, great public schools, genuinely kind fellow citizens, fine local culture, and a fantastic environment (albeit sometimes odoriferous if you hang out near Pelican Perch). Our home really is a “jewel.”
So carry on, fellow La Jollans! Fight for what’s important to you! And while we’re at it, could someone please take up the cause to get a second Chipotle in place?
Jon Belmonte
La Jolla

• Keep shining the Light on city hall
Special thanks for last week’s extensive coverage of La Jolla residents’ relationship to decisions by the City of San Diego governance. With your fair and balanced presentations, our new mayor, staff and advisors may be induced to listen to folks who live here, who are well-informed about the laws that protect us, and who are affected daily by their actions. The focus you present seeks fair resolution of our issues in ways that benefit all of us as well as visitors to our community.
Phyllis Minick
La Jolla

• Congressman Scott Peters wears ‘Stop Fighting, Start Fixing’ pin
California Rep. Scott Peters joined the other 40 members of No Labels’ “problem solvers” in wearing the group’s “Stop Fighting, Start Fixing” pin at President Obama’s State of the Union address. Peters is one of five members of the California congressional delegation to join the “problem solvers.”

The problem solvers are a group of congressional Democrats and Republicans who have agreed to meet regularly to build trust across the aisle. First announced at No Labels’ Meeting to Make America Work! on Jan. 14, the “problem solvers” have already held their first meeting, and have managed to recruit a dozen additional colleagues. Rep. Peters will be working to convince more of his colleagues to “get pinned” in the days before the State of the Union and the “problem solvers” aim to have 70 or more members join the group by year-end.
Andrew Thorne

• Marine life may well be taking over our beaches
Yes, yet another letter to the editor regarding the seals — sorry!

On Jan. 31, as the news crews and Mayor Filner were setting up down at the Children’s Pool, I was taking my dog for his afternoon walk by the Cove. (I only wish I had my iPhone with me for video confirmation of this letter).

The sea lions were particularly loud and drew my attention to the world-renowned Cove Beach, where one large sea lion was up on his front fins/torso charging a young boy on the beach. Granted, the boy was taunting him to a certain degree by walking back and forth along the shore, but the sea lion kept pace and charged up the sand a few times, barking relentlessly at the boy. Several minutes later, a man attempted to get in for a dip and the same sea lion charged underwater toward him like a torpedo — scaring the man and all of us watching above. He tried to enter again but the sea lion repeated his maneuver. Eventually, the swimmer walked back up the steps in defeat.

Moments later, a couple of svelte women (regular swimmers with fins, wet suits and goggles) attempted to get in for their swim and the sea lion called in reinforcements, barking to his comrades on the adjacent rocks. Soon there were three of them barking in chorus, protecting the water from the offending swimmers. The dominant male charged the women several times on the sand, and underwater, and they eventually retreated up the steps as well.

Then another swimmer decided to give it a try — he was not going to be intimidated and just forged in. The sea lion did charge him underwater and followed him for some distance, but the swimmer somehow managed to ignore him and proceeded on his swim. A nearby regular swimmer told me the bay seals are generally friendly and playful, but it’s the sea lions that are territorial and aggressive: You can’t look at them and have to assertive and ignore them.

After watching this interaction, I feel it’s my duty to make people aware of this potential beach invasion and proclaim it is an accident waiting to happen, especially in light of inexperienced swimmers and young children who aren’t familiar with the area and the sea lions’ aggressive behaviors. In addition, it truly breaks my heart to think we could lose the Cove Beach to the sea lions/seals as well with rope barriers, tainted water, protestors, cameras and endless debates mucking up our memories of the coast.

That also wouldn’t leave ANY safe beach for young kids to swim in the Village area — the undertows are just too dangerous elsewhere.

I admit to being a romantic and yearning for many of the old La Jolla landmarks I grew up with, many of which are gone. I learned to swim at the Children’s Pool back in the late 1970s, when it was a treat to occasionally see a sea lion’s head bopping in the water and about two-dozen of them sunbathing on the large flat rocks across from the pool/wall. It was also my mom’s favorite place to go for a waveless swim, where she wouldn’t get her hair soaked or have to take out her contacts! In my teens, I was rescued by lifeguards from the rip currents between the Cove and the Children’s Pool, where the currents are super strong and the sandy beach is now closed and replaced with boulders. (Speaking of which, why not offer the seals this section of the beach west of the Bridge Club?).

We must be vigilant in protecting the Cove Beach for residents, tourists and children of all ages to paddle, snorkel and swim safely in the beautiful La Jolla waters. Those sneaky seals and sea lions will simply take over while we’re not looking — just as they were on Jan. 31 when the cameras were rolling, in my opinion, at the wrong beach!
Sarah Wilkey
La Jolla

What’s on YOUR mind?
• Letters to the Editor for publication in La Jolla Light should be 250 words or less, and sent by e-mail to: sdemaggio@lajollalight.com
Please include the full name of the sender, city of residence and phone number for verification.
• News Tips: Call (858) 875-5950

Related posts:

  1. Mayor shares details of recently installed ‘seal cam’ at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  2. UPDATED (Jan. 25): Webcam to monitor seals installed at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  3. Mayor extends length of pupping season rope at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  4. Please keep the seals at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla
  5. OPINION: Children’s Pool barrier should be rejected

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=101776

Posted by Staff on Feb 14, 2013. Filed under News, Opinion, Seal Watch. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Comments for “Letters to the Editor: New seal cam at Children’s Pool in La Jolla is a wonderful resource”

  1. Robert

    Is this a real letter to the editor? I can’t actually see anyone sitting down and thinking that sending this would be an intelligent idea. Hey you know what though, while were at it, I really hate the idea of sharks, lets get rid of them too. And you know I really like our national parks, but those damn grizzlies and mountain lines ruin it, lets get rid of them, this is our world, animals have no right to be there……..

  2. dixi rose

    easy solution for swimmers. the water is quite rough in children’s pool. i suggest you walk 20 feet to the south of the jetty and swim unmolested by rough waves which have built up in recent years in children’s pool nor will you have to dodge sea creatures…

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