Children’s Pool bill passes state Senate

A bill in the state legislature that would make seal habitation of La Jolla’s Children’s Pool a permitted use there, SB 428, passed 30-4 in a full vote of the State Senate Thursday.

The measure, co-authored by State Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-39), Assemblywoman Lori Saldana (D-76) and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-75) now heads to the State Assembly to a committee and date yet to be determined.

“Nothing can stop this freight train now,” commented Bryan Pease, attorney for the Animal Protection and Rescue League, who argued in favor of state legislation to allow seal watching at Children’s Pool recently before the San Diego City Council.

Those opposing the bill were: Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, whose district includes part of inland San Diego County, Mark Wyland, R-Escondido, whose district includes portions of North San Diego County including Carlsbad and Encinitas; Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, and Mimi Walters, R-Tustin.

An excerpt of SB 428 reads:

” … those tide and submerged lands are required to be devoted exclusively to public park, bathing pool for children, parkway, highway, playground, and recreational purposes, and for other uses that may be incidental to, or convenient for, the full enjoyment of those purposes. This bill would include in that list of uses and purposes a marine mammal park for the enjoyment and educational benefit of children.”

Meanwhile, a federal court ruling is pending on keeping the temporary restraining order in effect to maintain a rope barrier separating humans from harbor seals at Children’s Pool until the end of the marine mammals’ pupping season at the end of May. That decision is expected soon.