Attention! Committee wants Children’s Pool bullhorn ban


By Dave Schwab

No more bullhorns at La Jolla Children’s Pool by unanimous vote of La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. on Feb. 27.

The committee, which is charged with oversight of coastal parks, voted to send a letter requesting the city begin enforcing existing ordinances relating to public nuisance noise at the wading pool that has become a battleground for pro-seal advocates versus ocean-users, including divers and fishermen.

The bullhorn issue was raised by diver David Pierce, a committee member, who noted tensions between the two sides at Children’s Pool are escalating with the advent of the harbor seals’ Dec. 15 to May 15 pupping season.

Pierce said pro-seal advocates have become more vocal in ramping up their efforts to protect marine mammals from human encroachment.

“Weekend noise pollution down there is really getting out of hand,” said Pierce. “Anyone going on the sand is subject to harassment. We’re talking vulgar language; calling people ‘monsters.’ Monsters? These are tourists and visitors coming here.”

Pierce pointed out there are numerous ordinances on the books prohibiting noise at beaches that are not being enforced by park rangers or police for fear of lawsuits being filed against the city.

Ken Hunrichs, a pro-beach access advocate, said animal rights activists are “driving tourists off the beach.” He said the city, by allowing seal activists to continue violating city noise regulations with impunity, has fostered an attitude among them that “they feel entitled to do just about anything they want to do down there now during pupping season.”

Hunrichs said people reacting to seal activists blaring messages with bullhorns invites physical confrontations.

“People come up with their kids who’ve been yelled at and say, ‘Why are you doing this to my children?’ ” he said.

Attorney Bryan Pease of the Animal Protection and Rescue League, who is also a First District City Council candidate, has said the benefit to using bullhorns at Children’s Pool is “a quick and efficient way to announce from the sidewalk for people to stay a safe distance from pregnant and nursing seals when they cross the rope and get too close during pupping season.”

Pease said if the city would simply enforce the city council’s resolution to keep people out of the rookery during pupping season, “none of this would be an issue.”

A hearing on whether to keep the rope barrier at Children’s Pool up year-round separating people from seals, scheduled to be heard by the California Coastal Commission in March, has been postponed until July.

In other matters

• Preserving views: Mark Evans, a Park Row resident, said he and other neighbors have raised private funding for periodic tree trimming to restore public ocean views.

• Beach signs: Parks committee member John Beaver will host a meeting of a new sign subcommittee to discuss specifications for educational signage along the coast, proposed by the La Jolla Community Foundation. The group will meet 3 p.m. Monday, March 5 at Café Mojo, 7513 La Jolla Blvd.

“I want to extend an invitation to the La Jolla Community Foundation to have a representative meet with us,” Beaver said. “We want to discuss sign aesthetics, the size of them, the colors and so forth. We want to approve the placement of signs, since we have responsibility for the coastline and the parks.”