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Our Readers Write: Sea lions, Black’s Beach and more

A sea lion is pictured with an identification tag in La Jolla.
(Courtesy of John Leek)

Letters to the editor:

Idea that sea lions abandon pups because of human intrusion is ridiculous

Dan Truitt’s letter “No way to know for sure why sea lions leave pups” was correct (La Jolla Light, Sept. 10).

Mother sea lions do not abandon pups if frightened by people. That is PR by NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration].

I got the facts via a couple of Freedom of Information Act requests. I have been photographing our sea lions in La Jolla for three years for NOAA to identify rehab animals released after care by SeaWorld with ID tags on them. I have submitted 2,300 rehab tag photos identifying 320 individuals over and over.

Our sea lions originally immigrated from the Channel Islands, where NOAA had protected rookeries to the point that they ran out of the best fish. They showed up here starving. They do not teach their pups fear of people, as in their collective history none has ever been bitten by a human. So they are here on a symbiotic understanding: “You don’t bite me, I won’t bite you.” But if you get much closer than six feet, one will sometimes bark at you. They have found that people retreat then.

The notion that any female mammal would abandon its young because of a clumsy intrusion and never look back is ridiculous. Mother sea lions forage in the day, leaving pups in a safe place to wait. They can find their particular pup out of 100 and will not nurse any other.

This area has a much smaller infant mortality rate than in the wild. In wild places there are wolves, bears and eagles that will snatch a pup. Not here. Is San Diego a good place for sea lions? They think so.

As for Dan’s last point, the MMPA [Marine Mammal Protection Act] does allow cities to “get rid of” sea lions by approved humane means. But NOAA does not approve any humane means that work, and San Diego will never try anyway. They attract tourists.

John Leek

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No need to erase history by renaming Black’s Beach

The idea of renaming Black’s Beach is ridiculous (“Local resident wants Black’s Beach renamed,” La Jolla Light, Sept. 3).

It seems connected to the hysteria flooding the country to rewrite history. Statues, pictures, books, buildings and team names are considered offensive to a few and must be erased. Shall we rename the La Jolla High School Vikings? Shall we tear down the Jefferson Memorial? If La Jolla practiced “race restrictions,” shall we rename The Village?

Black’s Beach is Black’s Beach. If it’s any consolation to Ms. [Stephanie] Greene, Ruth Black hated the name because of the nudity [nude beach] connection.

Barbara Stevenson

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We’re getting too quick to denounce and dismiss

I enjoy the Light each week, as well as other publications.

NationalReview.com had an article regarding the Sierra Club denouncing founder John Muir because of comments he made early in his life, regardless of his behavior in later life.

Other famous and loved persons are mentioned for their behaviors and changed behaviors.

Have we forgotten that we are all flawed people and we all have to work at being better informed and kind, not to mention that we need to think for ourselves and not follow the “crowd”?

For me as a lover of the outdoors and resident of Muirlands, Sierra Club just lost a lot of credibility and respect. I long for the time when we can calmly disagree and clearly explain our views, respecting the other person as we want to be respected and not with a quick dismissal and rude name calling.

How smart are we if we do not acknowledge basic human nature and its frequent flaws? How smart are we if we cannot even listen to a different perspective, perhaps even understand the logic and still disagree and calmly offer rebuttal and perhaps even convince or at least make the other person think about it?

How successful will any society be without civil exchange of ideas, especially conflicting ideas?

Lori Keller

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Witnessing beach rescue builds appreciation for lifeguards

If you need something to make you grateful and your heart race, watching a rescue by the San Diego lifeguards will certainly do both! Neighbors and beach-goers saw their amazing athleticism and dedication firsthand on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

It was morning at high tide when a young man in a wetsuit was swept out in the ocean at the 300 block of Coast Boulevard. A large crowd gathered at the shoreline. No one watching dared to attempt a rescue.

Within seconds the sound of a lifeguard truck siren could be heard as two lifeguards raced to the scene. The truck halted and one lifeguard shot out of the passenger side, equipment in hand, raced across the street, jumped guardrails and was on the beach in mere seconds.

The lifeguard was able to swim under the tide, get a life raft to the swimmer, calm him down and slowly bring him safely back to shore.

I watched from my deck as the two lifeguards walked slowly back to their truck, put their equipment away and drove off without any fanfare. Probably hundreds of these rescues took place on this busy holiday weekend, but there is nothing quite like seeing one firsthand.

Our daughter’s life was saved last year by a lifeguard in a much more harrowing rescue than the one I witnessed. One thing is certain: Once you or a loved one has been rescued by a dedicated lifeguard, you never forget it! Or the lifeguard who saved you!

Linda Polly

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Letters published in the La Jolla Light express views from readers about community matters. Submissions of related photos also are welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher. Letters are subject to editing for brevity, clarity and accuracy. To share your thoughts in this public forum, email them with your first and last names and city or neighborhood of residence to robert.vardon@lajollalight.com. Unsigned letters cannot be published. ◆