La Jolla Beaches group proposes rules for Seal Cam

The live-streaming Seal Cam is positioned on the lifeguard tower at Children's Pool in La Jolla. Light File Photo

By Ashley Mackin

A sub committee of the La Jolla Parks and Beaches advisory committee (LJP&B) — and outward opponents of the live streaming Seal Cam at Children’s Pool — drafted a letter to city officals outlining their suggestions for improved use of the camera, which they presented for approval at a July 22 meeting.

Stating concerns that the camera is being “misused” by aiming it at humans and areas of the beach where there are no seals, the committee members’ letter contained eight points they hope will serve as guidelines for camera operators.

The Seal Cam atop the Children's Pool lifeguard tower. Ashley Mackin

These include preparing a statement of purpose for the camera, developing a policy outlining minimum qualifications and training standards for Seal Cam monitors, limiting the camera’s range of motion, posting signage about its use, and establishing a grievance process for those who feel the camera is being misused.

WAN Conservancy, the organization that installed and monitors the Seal Cam, got word of the letter and drafted a point-by-point response. Neither Larry nor Sara Wan (founders of the nonprofit WAN Conservancy) were present at the meeting, but sent a representative. However, the Wan’s counterpoints were not read at the meeting because LJP&B voted to submit its letter and deemed any argument irrelevant.

The LJP&B did give the floor to a representative from Supervisor Dave Roberts’ office, who read a related letter by Sara Wan defending the camera and its use. The letter cited examples of people harassing the seals, which the camera captured. “We have hours and hours of video showing this,” Wan’s letter stated, though none of the examples were dated and those involved were only identified as “a few selfish people.”

The letter went on to say, “This is the real basis of the objection to the Seal Cam, because it shows the atrocious behavior at the beach.”

One of the guidelines suggested by the LJP&B sub-committee is to “Clearly define areas off- limits to the camera’s view, such as stairs, showers, sidewalks, roads and buildings at or near Children’s Pool.”

In response to this proposal, Wan wrote, “If you wonder why we point (the Seal Cam) to the sidewalk, it is because of incidences where people have harassed seals from the sidewalk … A woman was walking her dogs each morning, stopping by the seals and placing the dogs in a position by the wall where they were barking at the seals — deliberate.”

After much discussion by the LJP&B subcommittee and Wan’s statement, the board voted to approve the eight points, with minor editing, and to add screenshots documenting what it considered to be the camera’s misuse.

For example, Cheryl Aspenleiter brought in screenshots taken from the camera’s web feed of herself going toward the showers at Children’s Pool, which she said is misuse.

Though the board approved the points and appendices, it remained unsure as to which city department the letter should go. Last month, Mayor Bob Filner added $50,000 to the Department of Park and Recreation’s budget for operation and maintenance of the Seal Cam. However, it’s not known how actively Park and Rec would be involved, whether it would be the appropriate point of contact, when that management transition would happen or how much of the $50,000 would go to the WAN Conservancy.

LJP&B Chair Dan Allen said in an e-mail to La Jolla Light, “My plan is to keep checking with (the Lifeguard Service) until they can tell me to whom the letter would be appropriately addressed.”

Seal Cam temporarily taken down in preparation for demolition of old lifeguard tower at Children’s Pool in La Jolla:

Related posts:

  1. Mayor shares details of recently installed ‘seal cam’ at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  2. Questions arise about details of seal harassment video at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  3. Mayor extends length of pupping season rope at La Jolla Children’s Pool
  4. Future of Seal Cam monitoring at La Jolla Children’s Pool in limbo
  5. UPDATED (3/21): Mayor orders Children’s Pool in La Jolla closed after dark through May 15

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Posted by Ashley Mackin on Jul 31, 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.

6 Comments for “La Jolla Beaches group proposes rules for Seal Cam”

  1. Howard Kahn

    Get a life!

  2. neighbor

    The camera is un needed, how can we control people and dogs on a public sidewalk?
    I suggest removing it immediately. I appreciate those who have supported public use of the beach!!

  3. Cheryl Aspenleiter

    I disagree with the La JOlla Parks and Beaches Committee Decision. The camera operators have abused the use of a high tech infra-red camera capable of seeing into your purse. The WAN Conservancy does not get a second chance. The camera must be turned off immediately and an investigation done into the abuse. Also the seal abuse video that went viral needs to be investigated as it never was, and I believe it was staged. This is all a Conspiracy to have The Children’s Pool closed to human swimming. Judge Pate ruled in 2004 that marine mammal fecal bacteria can not be allowed and the decision to dredge the sand was ruled upon. This was before the STATE piggy backed an unjust amendment to the deceased Ellen Scripps Trust to add marine mammal fecal bacteria to a children’s bathing pool. This was just deemed to be not acceptable and the pool was ordered to be restored to 1941 conditions. This is not ancient history. The Trust was obviously and logically illegally amended as the new use is not consistent with the uses of a human bathing pool, as seal poop pollutes it. The camera needs to be turned off immediately. I brought my daughters there and I have photos of the girls on the beach, and I have proof that this camera has followed me and honed in on me when there is no seals on the beach at all. This is not kindergarten to be making rules for bad kids. This is real abuse and the possible running of license plates and following people home,… We should not even suggest rules for Peeping Toms. The camera must be turned off and investigated.
    Wrong is wrong. This is first and foremost a Children’s Playground and a Pool for “Handicapped in LIfe’s Game” This is the only real ocean entry for the disabled to the Pacific Ocean that is safe from the surf, the reason for the Breakwater’s construction. The wall is set to be CONDEMNED , CLOSED FOR EVERMORE. This is a historical disrespect by San Deigo and the California Coastal Commission and people calling themselves environmentalists, when in fact they are only making seal profits, and are serious opportunists using the seals for profit. Allowing seals to wallow in their own fecal contamination causes stillborn pups and miscarriages and fatal illnesses. The leaching of the fecal pollution and many kinds of bacteria have leached into the shallows and tide pools and killed off other species.
    Is this what you want to look at La Jolla? A Condemned wall , the gift of your benefactor left to ruin ( a few hundred years at least as the pool was constructed so well by the Hydro Engineer, Mr. Savage for Ellen Scripps. And for it to become a seal poop pit, that stinks to high heaven to make Ellen turn over in her grave.
    Turn off the camera, pack it up and investigate this misuse. This is wrong, please demand that this camera is turned off right now.

  4. Califia

    Message to WANs. The world doesn’t revolved around you or seals.

    Paranoia will destroy’ya.

  5. so

    Only those who are doing something they shouldn’t be are concerned about this, of course!

  6. Michael Anthony

    The Wan’s are professional harassers from Malibu, intent on scamming a lot of money from the city of San Diego…..They need to get the boot along with Filner…

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