Our Readers Write: Sea lions, fossil fuels, Get It Done

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Letters to the editor:

Separate sea lions from humans by dispersing the sea lions

This is in response to the guest commentary last week (“More warning signs at Point La Jolla don’t do enough to reduce human/sea lion contact,” Jan. 6, La Jolla Light).

First, I thank the La Jolla Light for publishing comments from people on both sides of the issue, not just from the pro-animal people, as their letters always have untrue statements.

The commentary from Ben Gish is typical. He states that the MMPA [Marine Mammal Protection Act] “establishes a 50-yard distance (or half a football field) guideline that humans should adhere to when near the wild animals.” He later reiterated “the 50-yard distance guideline under the MMPA.”

That is not true. The MMPA does not specify any distance. [Editor’s note: The 50-yard distance is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration guideline.]

Mr. Gish incorrectly “quoted” from the MMPA. A grad student who cannot even accomplish a basic investigation into his alleged area of expertise lacks scientific integrity.

Tourists will always want to get close to animals to take photos, etc. They even get close to buffaloes in Yellowstone . There will never be enough enforcement to stop this, and if anyone were cited for it, there would be legal challenges, probably based on coastal access.

The best solution to this problem is to separate the sea lions from the humans, but not by controlling the humans. The sea lions should be run off.

The city is collecting feedback on the plan and has created a website for comments.

The MMPA states in Section 109 (h) (1) (C) that the city, or someone designated by the city, can run the sea lions off. No permit or permission is required.

NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) under NOAA provides a list of deterrence methods that can be used to remove or disperse harbor seals and California sea lions.

If the sea lions are dispersed, they won’t die; they will just find a new place to live. Hopefully they will end up someplace where tourists can’t get close to them.

Another [claim] commonly told by the sea lion advocates, but not by Ben Gish, is that if a human touches a sea lion pup or causes the mother to flee into the sea, the mother will abandon the baby and it will die. That is also not true. (“‘Yes, pups can swim’: Expert weighs in on claims of dangers to sea lion pups amid La Jolla debate,” July 1, La Jolla Light.) This has been debunked several times, but it is still stated regularly.

Dan Truitt

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People and pinnipeds need their space on La Jolla coast

There is a lot of discussion happening with increasing presence of sea lions in La Jolla. La Jolla is one of the few places in the world blessed with seals and sea lions on its beautiful coastline. There is nothing like La Jolla all along the California coast.

It is very important not to destroy this habitat. What is needed is taller retaining walls to keep seals and sea lions away from land areas, but not too tall for people to enjoy seeing these beautiful animals and the natural beauty of the La Jolla coastline.

We should create new areas for people to access the water and swim without encroaching the areas where these animals congregate. In fact, we need to allocate more areas for them to spread out.

Let us keep animals and humans separate but close to enjoy life.

Sri Iyengar

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LaCava’s priorities fuel head-scratching

I read with interest in your Jan. 6 edition the answers provided by City Councilman Joe LaCava when asked what his greatest achievement was in 2021 (“La Jolla leaders celebrate achievements and make plans for the new year”).

His priorities seemed right on: “Work with and be responsive to my district and get things done.” But his first and foremost accomplishment mentioned was “divesting all city investments from fossil fuels.”

Huh? I wonder if Mr. LaCava knows that nearly 40 percent of California’s electricity grid is powered by fossil fuels, including natural gas, coal and oil/petroleum coke [according to the California Energy Commission].

I also noted that California is the largest consumer of both jet fuel and motor gasoline among the 50 states and the second-largest consumer of all petroleum products combined [according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration]. Seems like California and Mr. LaCava’s district are quite reliant on fossil fuels and should consider a more supportive role for the essential oil and gas industry as our country and state attempt to transition to a renewables-driven economy.

Additionally, I would suspect that Mr. LaCava’s constituents might find other items of higher priority to “get things done.”

James Phillips

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City’s app should be called Get It NOT Done

There has been an abandoned van with expired out-of-state plates sitting on Playa del Norte Street for over three months. I personally submitted [a report] through the city of San Diego’s Get It Done app two months ago and know several others did as well.

Over three weeks ago a “warning” was posted on the vehicle.

Either our streets are not being patrolled and rules not enforced, the city does not care or the city is just incompetent with regard to a seemingly easy violation.

If the city cannot enforce a basic violation at the lowest level, what else is not getting done? Perhaps it’s time to change the name of the app.

Linda Yort

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What’s on YOUR mind?

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 You also can submit a letter online at The deadline is 10 a.m. Monday for publication in that week’s paper. Letters without the writer’s name cannot be published. Letters from the same person are limited to one in a 30-day period. ◆