Children’s Pool Friends sue city over seal rope extension

By Ashley Mackin

The La Jolla beach access advocacy group, Friends of the Children’s Pool (FoCP), announced on Feb. 21 their lawsuit filed against the City of San Diego for the December 2012 lengthening of the rope barrier found at Children’s Pool. The papers were served Feb. 25.

Children’s Pool visitors delight in the seals from behind the rope barrier. Pat Sherman

La Jolla Light previously reported that though the rope was initially intended to be 152 feet long — with a three-foot opening for divers and spear fishermen to access the shoreline — in 2010 city staff mistakenly approved coastal development and site development permits for a 130-foot rope barrier, which resulted in an opening of more than 20 feet.

“Our objection to that is that (Mayor Bob Filner) did this without, first of all, proper public notice and without going through a process that allows the public to express their concerns and object,” said Ken Hunrichs, president of FoCP.

Attorney Bernie King, representing FoCP, said the issue needs to be open for public comment, because that is how the city can best move forward. “If that means not going ahead with the extension because of infor- mation heard in the review process, then that’s what it means, if it means going ahead with the extension because of information heard in the review process, then that’s what it means,” he said. “Either way, no one disputes that you can’t avoid the process.”

Regarding the length adjustment, Hunrichs said he has doubts about the city error. “They are claiming a measurement error … they said it was a typo when it was first discovered, and then they came up with this scheme, saying that the measuring wheel was mis- calibrated and so forth,” he said. “That may or may not be true, we don’t really know. The fact is, when you change a coastal development permit, there is a process to go through to do that.”

That process, along with options for a course of action, was outlined in a memo by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to Mayor Filner, issued Dec. 24, 2012.

Hunrichs said, “This case is very limited; we’re not looking at all kinds of bigger issues here. We’re just saying on this one thing — this one action by the mayor (who) had a procedure that was laid out by the city attorney and by law, and chose to ignore it — the mayor simply modified a permit on his own without notice.”

FoCP stated in a press release, “The lawsuit seeks to have the rope returned to legal compliance with the permit until it is legally modified through a public process.”

The suit also asks that the rope be restored to the 130-foot length. “Our lawsuit just seeks to have the city follow the rule of law and comply with the procedures that are in place,” Hunrichs said, adding that the California Coastal Commission now has jurisdiction of that area and is the one that could make the decision to amend the necessary permits.

Acknowledging the controversy surrounding the use of the Children’s Pool beach, Hunrichs said, “Hopefully, we’ll come up with some resolution that allows this area to return to being a park and not a battleground.”

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Posted by Ashley Mackin on Feb 28, 2013. Filed under Community, La Jolla, 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.

6 Comments for “Children’s Pool Friends sue city over seal rope extension”

  1. David Pierce

    Visit the Friends of the Children’s Pool web site and sign our petition and view the seals on the seal Cam.

  2. a map of la jolla shows that in 1887, well before rich people could afford to mess with nature, that the place where the “children’s pool” was built was called
    seal rock and seal rock point.

    i would imagine that it was called that as the seals had been living there since well before not only white man, but even the native people got here.

    for the folk that wonder how nature works, i dare you to live as the seals do.

    forget spending the day at the beach. try living there 24/7/365.

    you can’t.

    so stop whinging about blah blah ellen browning this and she built it for the children…

    the adults need to back off and let nature do it’s work.

    the sea wall will eventually crumble and the seals will still be there after you pack up your beach towel and picnic basket and go back to your warm bed,

    i am sure that the seals would thank E.B. Scripps for her generosity but i would also imagine they would have been upset that she put the wall on the rocks that they have inhabited since the dawn of time.

    here’s the link to the detail of the map from 1887.

    • David Pierce

      To bad that this was a hand drawing of an inaccurate map that has been used for propaganda for years, Seal rock point is correct as it is a point of land off seal rock but seal rock is not there it is as the map maker got it wrong. seal rock is to the east about 150 yards were it is today, It would have taken over a million years for it to move that far, also their are very early reports that you could hear seals barking on seal rock, but we all know that seals don’t bark, sea lions do…
      Before the construction of the seawall the tallest reefs or rocks was seal rock and at high tide it is washed out by the surf and winter storm surge when seals give birth, so this area could not sustain the so called “ancestral pupping grounds”
      The name “harbor” seal gives us a clue where there “ancestral pupping grounds” were like San Diego harbor or Mission Bay but these were populated by man when the city was formed forcing them out and then man hunting them.
      To say that now they have returned, again that was man in the form of Sea World’s Rehabilitation and release program in the mid 90′s.

  3. Where did the Light find the rope has a 3′ opening only for divers and fishermen to access the water? Throughout the Coastal permit is featured the stipulation “not intended to impact beach usage”. The Coastal Commission has seen only permits they were assured allowed the beach to remain open ot the public. In that respect, the permit has been violated more and more over several years. Only now the Mayor broke that covenant with the State in deed as well as word.

  4. neighbor

    Yippee! I applaud this group for protecting the rights of human beach lovers! Where can I donate? This rope is a bad joke, the seals can take care of themselves, they can swim anywhere along the coast. They are getting too fat, feeding from protected preserves nearby. The web cam is invasive, what the heck are we turning our beautiful city into??? Big Brother, are you watching???

  5. maria

    you are missing the point with no protection of seals, abuse is taking place. its not the seals fault or the frds of them IT IS THE PEOPLE THEY ARE INNOCENT DEFENSELESS AND HARMLESS>
    Dont make this political at the seals expense.
    The seals have pups that need to feed ashore they are scared and nervous to feed ther young. LET THEM BE
    YOU SHOULD ALL BE SHAMED OF YOURSELF> if you just sit back from a distance with out a political view you might see the BEAUTY and THE GIFT it is to have this right here for free in La jolla. The children much prefer to see this than swim. Ther are hundreds other places to swim. BUT THE GIFT of watching nature is A BLESSING from above.

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