Opinion/Editorial: Police presence at Children’s Pool in La Jolla will hopefully ease the tensions over shared-use plans

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• VIDEO: To see the video of seals being harassed by two young women at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool beach in February 2013, click on the image above or go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d1VhkFbbkc


“Aw come on,” we thought to ourselves last week when we first heard that full-time police presence was ordered at the Children’s Pool beach. “Police officers AND park rangers?! What’s next? Drones?”

Habour Seal in La Jolla. Courtesy

But then we watched the sad and shameful video of two young women in the dark of night cruelly harassing the pregnant seals and their pups last Thursday, and we had second thoughts.

Enough. Something’s got to be done to end all this madness. If it takes the watchful eyes of police officers on the scene, then so be it.

The disturbing video, which you can view for yourself posted above, was passed along by Larry and Sara Wan, founders of the Western Alliance for Nature (WAN), the non-profit nature conservancy behind the newly installed “seal cam” on the lifeguard tower that is streaming real-time images of the pupping seals across the world via wanconservancy.org

Sara Wan told La Jolla Light the “seal cam” is not recording the activities down at Children’s Pool, merely broadcasting them live. The distressing video was supplied to WAN by a viewer in Australia who used her iPhone to record the harassment episodes, which she then sent to WAN.

WAN released it to the media. “Those girls came down to the beach twice that night, around 8-8:30 p.m. and then later around 11 or midnight. They drove all the seals off the beach,” Sara Wan said.

If the world is truly watching the mesmerizing marine movements down at La Jolla Children’s Pool — and it sure appears that it is (Larry Wan said the “seal cam” gets more than 1,000 viewers everyday from as far away as Russia and Iran) — we better be on our best behavior.


• Museum exhibit is tasteless, disturbing, and needs to go
Balboa Park has been getting a lot of press lately as our showcase for America’s Finest City with a lot of talk of solutions for which there is no problem. One glaring black-eye for our community is the Museum of Man’s on going “Instruments of Torture,” which has been running for several years now.

Do we really need to glorify the very lowest of man’s inhumanity to man? Do children need to see instruments of torture? This is the stuff of nightmares! I can’t think of anything less worthy of being on display than depictions of people being boiled alive, burned at the stake, stretched on the rack and God knows what else.
Perhaps we could entertain tourists with an electric chair hooked up to a car battery or mock executions for some really good fun. If this disgusting crap is still up for the centennial celebration, God help us!
Mark Anderson
La Jolla

Editor’s Note: We asked San Diego Museum of Man CEO Micah Parzen for his response to Mark Anderson’s letter, presented below:
Torture is such a difficult topic precisely because it is such an important one. The San Diego Museum of Man opened the “Instruments of Torture” exhibit eight months ago (with a strong advisory for parents with children under age 13) because we believe it is not a subject we can afford to sweep under the rug in this day and age. We wanted people to better understand the psychology of torture, its complex history, and to remember that torture is not just a relic of the past.

We partnered with Survivors of Torture International, an organization that helps victims of torture (11,000 in San Diego County alone), as well as with the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, and the International Legal Studies Program at California Western School of Law. These organizations believe, as we do, that it is important to give testimony to the atrocities of the past, to spread the word that torture still occurs, and to explain what each of us can do to stop it. It is through our remembering that we honor the suffering of others.

Despite the challenging subject matter, we invite you to do the same. Tour the exhibit. Speak to our gallery guides. You will learn not only where our capacity to torture comes from, but also how each and every one of us can make a difference as “upstanders” — by standing up for others and against injustice — in a world that has far too many bystanders.
Micah D. Parzen, Ph.D., J.D.
Chief Executive Officer
San Diego Museum of Man

• Climate change issue requires impartial balanced coverage
Stephen Roberts’s Feb. 7 letter accuses Barbara Decker of not using facts or reliable sources in her request for more balanced coverage on climate change (Jan. 31). He then proceeds to make untruthful statements by saying, “the facts themselves are simply what they are and come from measured data (when it comes to man-made global warming), not opinion” and refers readers to two of the most biased news sources out there — National Public Radio and the National Academy of Sciences.

The reality is there just no consensus when it comes to causes of climate change as a large number of respected scientists (well over 1,000) have gone against the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s position that man is causing the planet to warm and the debate is far from settled. Some even think we’ve been cooling since 1998 and that solar activity and volcanic eruptions affect the climate much than man ever could.

All we can really agree on is that the climate is changing just as it has since the Earth was born and policies to reduce CO2 have a tremendously negative impact on economic growth. This should force us to take a giant pause before enacting potentially disastrous legislation, especially ones put forth by groups that benefit the most from huge increases in government growth and spending. I also welcome a more balanced approach and appreciate Miss Decker calling on the La Jolla Light to join this effort.
Tricia Butler
La Jolla

• Here’s a way to stop strangers from parking in your drive
Regarding a letter in the Feb. 7 issue:  I sympathize with William Rogers inconvenience with strangers parking their cars in his driveway. Years ago I faced that same problem. Here’s the way to handle that, William. Post a small sign out front promising, “IF YOU PARK IN MY DRIVEWAY I’LL LET ALL THE AIR OUT OF YOUR TIRES.”
James E. Bie
La Jolla

• Seal lovers must cease their intimidation tactics
My children and I were born here and love to show the city to my visiting family. However, we had a terrible experience at the Children’s Pool this past Saturday at noon. We were not bothering any seals, we were on the ocean side of the rope at the far west wall far away from seals.

A middle-aged woman walked down the steps and across the sand to tell us we would be reported. She took out a cell phone and made a call, saying we would be cited etc.

What? My friend started crying and shaking, we were so intimidated by this action. We were NOT breaking any laws and were being harassed at my own local beach!

What’s up with that? It is not good to intimidate people at our beach; it’s bad for anyone who loves San Diego! I want the rope shortened. Tell the seal lovers to leave people alone!
Christine Keller
San Diego

• 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

Signs at Children’s Pool  in violation of edicts
Dear City Attorney Jan Goldsmith: You have called for an end to litigation over the Children’s Pool in La Jolla now that the legislative branch of city and state government have settled the issue by calling for protection of the seals. However, your neighborhood prosecution unit is spending public resources on criminal prosecution for removal of illegally posted signs at Children’s Pool that encourage seal harassment.

The anti-seal agitators who sell T-shirts and seek to turn the area into an illegal petting zoo have to sign an agreement with the city for their permitted booth space, which states they will keep signs at arms-length within their permitted space.
Instead, these individuals are posting signs and “OPEN” flags all over the beach and surrounding areas with impunity, and citizens who do the city’s job in removing the illegaly posted signs are being prosecuted for it. Please review this policy with your neighborhood prosecution unit.
Ted Rodosovich
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:
Letters must include
the first name and last name of the sender, city of residence, and phone number for verification.
News Tips:
Call (858) 875-5950

Related posts:

  1. Editorial: Election Job No. 1 should be to clean the La Jolla Cove stench
  2. Coastal Commission to rule on year-round seal rope July 11
  3. Mayor shares details of recently installed ‘seal cam’ at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  4. UPDATED (Jan. 25): Webcam to monitor seals installed at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  5. Coastal Commission approves permit for year-round seal rope

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Posted by Staff on Feb 20, 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.

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