UPDATED (3/21): Mayor orders Children’s Pool in La Jolla closed after dark through May 15

On a recent evening at the Children's Pool, a park ranger alerted visitors by loudspeaker that the beach and seawall would close each night at sunset. Susan DeMaggio

La Jolla Light Staff

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has closed La Jolla’s Children’s Pool at nighttime.

The beach and adjacent seawall will now be closed from sunset to sunrise until May 15, the end of the seals’ pupping season, the La Jolla Light has learned.

A seal camera recently installed allowing the public to view seal births remotely has captured video of people harassing the seals, said the mayor’s office. This prompted Filner to swiftly close the beach at night via an emergency coastal development permit, which allows him to close the beach for 60 days while the permit is being processed. The permit application was filed by the city’s Park and Recreation Department.

“I felt it was important to take this step after evidence of individuals seen on video tape, harassing, taunting and causing stress to the seals at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla,” Filner said in a prepared statement.

At 6:45 p.m. Thursday, March 21 about two dozen people walking along the seawall and another two dozen on the sand heard the park ranger announce: “Please folks, come off the seawall. We’re going to be securing the seawall shortly and closing the beach.”

On March 21, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith issued the following statement regarding the closure:

“Although I would have preferred to have been consulted before he took this action, I agree that protecting the seals is important. As such, this office will vigorously defend the Mayor’s action in this matter.

“Seal opponents have notified our office that they will seek an injunction on April 12 as to this order and the Mayor’s prior order to lengthen the guide rope at the beach. We will vigorously defend the City and have already defeated the plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order.

“I have seen the videos of the seal abuse and I am appalled. Once we receive information as to the identity of these perpetrators, they will be brought to justice.

“I urge everyone to obey the signs on the beach closure, because this office fully intends to enforce the law.”

California Coastal Commission (CCC) staff analyst Kanani Brown told the Light the CCC is aware of the city’s emergency permit filing, though she said the city had not yet sent the CCC an official notice of its action.

A scene at Children's Pool in La Jolla last week where visitors are seen close to the pinnipeds.

“The city has the authority to issue an emergency permit in certain instances, such as this, when there’s an emergency — and in this case it’s clear that the seals are at risk,” Brown said.

However, she noted, because the Children’s Pool is located entirely within a coastal zone, it is entirely within the CCC’s jurisdiction to issue coastal development permits.

“The city may issue an emergency permit, but it may not be completely effective because the sandy beach areas are within the Coastal Commission’s jurisdiction,” Brown said. Brown said the CCC could contest the permit, but said it’s something the agency “will not pursue, given other priorities and limited staff, as well as the short-term duration of the permit.

“And the intent of the city’s action is resource protection,” Brown added, noting that it is clear … from the video documentation that the emergency permit “may be warranted, since this is pupping season and the seals that are hauled out now include pregnant seals and seal pups.”

Capt. Brian Ahearn of San Diego Police’s Northern Division said he added a police officer to monitor Children’s Pool 24 hours a day, seven days per week, once video surfaced of the seals allegedly being kicked and punched.

Ahearn said the plan is to eventually transition to using a private security company to monitor Children’s Pool. The security officers would be trained by Park and Recreation staff, in conjunction with SDPD.

“We’re waiting to find out who the private security company will be and then begin training with Park and Rec,” Ahearn said. “It will be a slow transition. … We won’t carry it out beyond (the pupping season) unless anything changes.”

The organization Friends of the Children’s Pool, the beach access proponents seeking the April 12 injunction, responded to the mayor’s beach closure via a release referencing San Diego Municipal Code, which states that “all emergency Coastal Development Permits shall authorize only the minimum necessary to stabilize the emergency.” The group questions why the beach closure is necessary when there is already a police officer stationed at Children’s Pool round-the-clock.

• SEE PREVIOUS STORY and VIDEO about the La Jolla’s Children’s Pool and seals being harassed while caught on video at http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=101799

Related posts:

  1. Opinion/Editorial: Police presence at Children’s Pool in La Jolla will hopefully ease the tensions over shared-use plans
  2. Mayor shares details of recently installed ‘seal cam’ at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  3. UPDATED (Jan. 25): Webcam to monitor seals installed at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  4. Coastal Commission approves permit for year-round seal rope
  5. Children’s Pool rope barrier goes up, but only for pupping season

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Posted by Staff on Mar 19, 2013. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News, 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.

29 Comments for “UPDATED (3/21): Mayor orders Children’s Pool in La Jolla closed after dark through May 15”

  1. resident

    Wow, Filner… flat out breaking laws again. I hope there’s a push by the community to take a stand… go use that beach… use it at night. If an officer has anything to say, take his name and badge number. It’s time to see how this stands in court… the law is clearly and absolutely on the side of the community using this beach. Do not be fooled by Filner’s abuse of power.

    • Not a B Word "Resident"

      What a horrible idea to protect the seals, how dare he!

      What an (insert expletive) this “resident” is. It’s temporary. Relax. Is your life really that impacted by the closing of a small portion of the coast in La Jolla? Do you not have more important things to focus on and worry about?

      People like you disgust me.

    • Chaz

      Close the beach until June! Close it one hour before dusk to one hour after dawn. The Mayor is acting not only in the best interests of all at hand, but protecting our wildlife at the same time. Maybe those two women should have gone to a wrestling match to get their jollies instead of torturing seals just before they give birth. They knew what they were doing was wrong and did it anyway. Now, because of their ignorance, further steps must be taken to protect the original owners of that beach…the seals!

    • Bobbie

      Are you nuts? Those dumb women were acting wrong. Some has to protect these animals from abuse.

  2. Dave

    So, let’s see here, Bobby Filner has the choice between siding with two groups of people, one group is peacful, law abiding, and just want to be able to use an open public beach without being spit on, having rocks thrown at them, or assaulted with a stun gun, and the other group is a bunch of violent lawbreakers who assault the elderly, harass disabled people, push children down concrete stairs, steal, threaten to file false police reports, spit on children, and scream curse words at children.

    So of course Bully Bobby Filner sides with the violent, child pushing, swearing assault monkeys. Makes perfect sense. Bob Filner is a (expletive deleted). There really is no other description for someone who does what he did. How we treat the weakest among us is what defines us as humans, and by shutting down the Children’s Pool, Bob is saying that he would rather see a disabled human swimmer get smashed against rocks, caught in a rip current or even DROWN than see a seal get *gasp….. wait for it…. wait for it…….* wet.

    I challenge Bob Filner to prove there is any damage being done to the seals by the beach being open. There has been a record number of seal pups born every year for the past several years (60 and counting this year as I type this), DESPITE the pool being open and the harm Bobby alleges is somehow happening when the seals occasionally have to share (or even go swimming!!! ohhhh the humanity!!!!).

    Maybe Bobby’s mommy just never taught him how it’s OK to share? Whatever the case, he’s being nothing more than a complete and total (expletive deleted) who is going to cost the city many, many millions as myself and others who’s rights he is violating with his illegal closures beging suing the city.

    • Nancy

      Before u start suing the city, you should take a class or two, to learn proper grammar, punctuation, etc. Your stupidity is glaring (and frightening), given the fact that you probably have a driver’s license and the right to vote in elections, etc….things that our country usually allows adults to obtain.

    • Bobbie

      Are you nuts? What are you ranting about has nothing to do with those two women doing what we all saw.


    How fabulous that our mayor recognizes that the seals need protection! I live right down the block from the Children’s Pool and have been sad, angry and frustrated with the harrassment of the beach access morons. I love that we have police and ranger protection. The ambience is now peaceful once again and the precious seals can live, play and deliver their pups.

    • Stacie

      I agree 100%. These losers are inflicting pain on innocent animals b/c they themselves hurt. Wow, youre really problem solving. How about getting some (expletive deleted) therapy instead of hurting these animals? I swear if I saw the videos of these people i would make it my life mission to find them and do to them what they did to these seals. THank God for Bob Filner doing the right thing and having this monitored.

  4. Staci

    All marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. If you break the law, there should be consequences…PERIOD. Both sides need to grow up and stop being such poor examples for the children that are no doubt witnessing all this human stupidity. If you want to use the beach, be responsible and respectful and STAY AWAY from the animals. I love the seals and they need to have their space, too. Why do humans think they’re so entitled to everything? Please, everyone grow up. Respect each other and the other inhabitants of our planet. It’s really not all about YOU.

  5. Last I heard there were 60 seals counted on South Case beach. In fact I had a pup born about 6′ away from me there. So why is that beach not roped off and closed at night? And what about the poor sea lions in La Jolla Cove? They are too stupid to leave an urban beach and find their way to the wild, so that beach can become a dedicated animal pen too.
    The City had submitted a permit request to close Children’s Pool completely every 6 months forever, but the Coastal Commission was not ready to accept that step. So there was proclaimed an emergency..

  6. Califia

    Kanani Brown and others of the CCC, coastal access is a resource as well and is threatened if this beach closure, no matter how busy you claim the CCC is or how temporary it is. Perhaps if the CCC stopped overreaching its authority it would have time to actually enforce the provisions of the Coastal Act to the benefit of all Californians.

    The Coastal Act protects beach users access to our coastline. Not just the CCC’s narrow vision of allowing citizens to “view” the coast from a distance. The CCC has a duty to protect the rights of all beach users not just those in political favor right now with a special interest.

    • Local

      The CCC doesn’t have time to “protect” the beach users access because it probably recognizes the practicality of the emergency permit to protect the seals. When beach users abuse the coastline’s natural habitat, including its wildlife, preventative measures should be made to protect it. There is plenty of other beach areas accessible to the coast’s residents, the CCC should protect one of the only homes left for the seals from people who clearly misuse the area by endangering pregnant seals. I think the mayor is in the right for recognizing this.

  7. Billy

    An overbearing mayor overstepping his authority. If the Independent La Jolla movement needed a boost, this is it. We will fight tirelessly to separate from the arrogant, disrespectful City of San Diego.

  8. Nancy

    Dear God…what’s wrong with those who hurt those seals…particularly the newborns and their mothers?? It’s frightening, especially when the children of those who disagree with the mayor see their parents’ actions. It’s a known fact that children who hurt animals very frequently are violent and/or abusers as adults…the abusing and protesting people should be ASHAMED of themselves and question their own “humanity”. What excuse do these protesters have for “attacking” a mayor and those who are trying to protect helpless animals? Use a different beach for a while! I’ve been to that location many times and it’s much too cold for humans most of the time, anyway. Leave the animals alone and go elsewhere.

  9. Dave

    There are seals on the next beach south, and on the next couple beaches north. The mayor needs to protect those beaches too. He should immiedietly close every beach from the san diego county line down to the mexican border, just to be safe.

    Also, he needs to close all city parks so nobody disturbs the squirrels there. Further, a traffic camera recently caught a couple kids racing their tuned up cars on a city street. That is a true emergency, and all city streets need to be immiedietly closed.

  10. Rev. Tyrone Pope

    It’s the CHILDREN’S pool–not the “MISERABLE DEFECATING BACTERIA-SPREADING SEALS’ pool!” It was intended specifically for children–a small, sheltered area for swimming and wading–by PEOPLE, not pinnipeds. The animal “rights” weirdos can shove it!

    • Mia

      Wow! Thanks for that insight Reverand. I’m so glad we have non defecating, non bacteria-spreading individuals such as yourself to make this world more peaceful.

      • Local

        What an ignorant comment. There are countless other beaches for children to play. If you think this is about the children, you are seriously mistaken. We don’t need another playground, we need to protect the home of the seals and their children. How would you feel if someone came into your home and abused you or your pregnant wife?

  11. Gordon Hallsey

    leave the seals alone and let them have pups without beating them on the beach. i would rather have seals than screaming brats on the beach any day, and i live at Wind n Sea and will cruise down there and, if I catch anyone hurting a seal, you die.

  12. Jerri

    I just wrote a note of thanks to this kind and level-headed mayor. When will humans realize that these lovely creatures were here before us and should be afforded some degree of privacy and basic rights of a living thing. I hope the two people caught on camera are properly ashamed, although I doubt that it’s in their hearts to understand that.

  13. Rick

    I don’t give a crap about the beach being cordoned off. It’s obvious that we’ve (the human race) encroached onto territory that has probably been used by these animals for centuries. You’re getting your noses bent out of shape because of the law, or lack thereof. Nobody says a word about the turtle eggs hatching, or the grunions spawning. What I’m waiting for is the idiots whom committed the offense to post their pics of the one twit pretending to sit on a seal. THAT’S when they’ll get caught. People can’t help but incriminate themselves these days. I’d like to hear their excuse.

  14. Tex

    There are some really pathetic people in the world, and some bona fide morons.

    1) There is nothing allegedly happening, because there is actual evidence that it did happen. “Allegedly” is used to express skepticism and disbelief; only a moron would use the term “allegedly” in the presence of real-time video cam footage.

    2) I don’t see how the mayor sided with any group of people. He sided with the “third” group – the pregnant seals. Quite frankly, I’m shocked that any parent would condone assault on a pregnant female, especially mothers, who feel their rights have been violated by the need to protect pregnant females.

    Let’s get something straight… those seals were there first and it is their territory. Humans are no better just because we have opposable thumbs and some belief that we’re smarter. We are merely a different species and our actions over time have proven that we are the most destructive species on this planet, which makes us far less intelligent that any animal, who instinctually is not gluttonous, greedy, senselessly violent and malicious.

    I’m not a bleeding-heart anything. I’m a combat veteran and I understand the life cycle and the food chain. The Butterfly Effect is not a myth; it is a scientific fact that has been evidenced over the centuries as we have killed off one species after another.

    It’s March and there’s still a chill in the air in most of the country. How about using the time to teach your children to read and write… without the aid of a computer. How about teaching them manners, honesty, and responsibility… like how it’s wrong to kick a pregnant female – even if that female is not a human.

    In an age where children have too many choices, it’s time to give them a simple foundation so they can more readily see the right choices and make them.

    And the right choice is to toss the two females in prison, where they can learn what it’s like to be harassed and assaulted for no reason except for being there… and to leave the area closed until the seals have given birth and moved out to the open waters.

    If you people cannot put the needs of an innocent pregnant female ahead of your own self-centered need for hour of time in a beach area during the chilly early spring, then you need to re-evaluate your own right to life.

    Quite frankly, your callous ignorance of the plight of a pregnant female sends the message that it’s okay to assault a pregnant female… and if it’s okay for one animal or mammal, then that says it’s okay for all animals or mammals, including humans.

    So be careful what you campaign for, because that truly is the message that you are sending, especially to children.

    If you think that’s a load of bull, then you’re most likely one of the sub-70 IQ’d in this world and have no concept of cause and effect, childhood development, or being a responsible parent or citizen.

    Personally, what you people should have done is reacted to the people who caused the beach to be locked down. Maybe that approach would make your cause seem more reasonable, but right now, it simply seems self-centered and anti-life.

    If you think it’s okay to risk having a pregnant female get kicked and stressed, then go ahead and get yourself kicked harassed for a while… show the world that it’s okay and not a big deal. Put up, or STFU.

    I didn’t defend freedom at a personal cost so people could promote hate against any innocent… including non-humans. We share this planet… and you people need to learn to share…. so let the seals have their L&D time on their land. You might not think they own it or have any rights, but in truth, you’re wrong. Just because we took it from them and pushed them out, does not make us right.

    • Kaila J


      I was going to write a long detailed tyrade directed at all the idiots…but you beat me to it….beautiful job! Well said and eloquently written! Thank you sir…and thank u for your service to this country as well :)

  15. Lisa Leeth

    I think this is crazy! Of course, the seals need to be protected during the pup season and all the time. The video post of the two girls is outragious. It looks like they are taking pictures while doing “Karate moves” on the seals. I bet you could probably find the pictures on Facebook in a few days. And the onlookers need to be kept away. I realize that people do not see seals that close everyday, but it is nature that they are disturbing. If the seals leave this place becouse of stress, where will they go?
    Protection for our natural wonders……………

  16. Melody

    wow I could have not shot this camera without taking action myself. I would have caused a real problem in your city. Cause I would have put the camera down an gone to beat the crap out of those girls. Unreal how someone can be so cruel. Just know this who ever you are. God saw what you did and you will pay for that. Ahem

  17. Chris

    Leave it to idiot liberals to have more concern for seals than for the citizens who pay for the taxpayer funded amenities America’s finest city has to offer. Harbor seals are not endangered or even threatened. Humans and seals have peacefully coexisted at the children’s pool for years. Seals are not having spontaneous miscarriages and we don’t see deformed or malnourished seal pups.

    I also object to people claiming the seals are stressed. If the seals were being tormented that much, they would move. The pregnant seals don’t stay beached 24/7. While I don’t condone physically attacking the seals, I think it’s a stretch to claim that the seals are routinely being harassed. The professional harassers at the children’s pool are the animal rights activists who are constantly yelling at tourists and other visitors who watch the seals.

  18. Harbury

    My children and I are visiting from Colorado. I heard that sea lion pups are being rescued in record numbers this spring, severely malnourished. So Chris, I’m not sure where you got your data, but you are wrong. Deliberately hurting and abusing pregnant cows speaks volumes about these people. Perhaps they witnessed their own mothers being victimized and abused, and think it’s acceptable to inflict violence–especially since the vocal critics of preserving a small bit of beach for animal use clearly utilize violent tactics. Leave the animals alone. It’s not okay to hurt them.

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