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It’s time to seal the deal

By Joe Parker

President, Bird Rock Community Council

Let’s face it. It doesn’t matter what side you are on — La Jollans are pretty burned out when it comes to dealing with the Children’s Pool controversy.

However, now is not the time to become complacent or let nature take its course. Let’s start with a recap of what has happened during the last year.

The sea wall at Children’s Pool was built by Ellen Browning Scripps and given in trust to the City of San Diego in 1931 as a bathing pool for children. Last summer, the State Legislature passed Senate Bill 428, which amended the terms of the trust to include a “marine mammal park for the enjoyment and educational benefit of children” as a permitted use for the Children’s Pool. The new law took effect on Jan. 1. Meanwhile, the Superior Court ruled in November 2009 that the seals could stay at the Children’s Pool. As a consequence of that ruling and the new state law, the City of San Diego will decide how to manage the situation.

Although there has been no request from any city department to take any action to change the current joint use policy, certain special interests are urging the Council members to provide more protections for the seals.

The Natural Resources and Culture Committee recommended the following four actions be taken to the City Council for consideration to provide more protections for the seals, namely, (1) close the beach to the public during pupping season from Dec. 15 to May 15; (2) keep the guideline rope barrier up year round; (3) prohibit dogs on the beach 24 hours a day, year round; and (4) seek private funding for a park ranger to patrol the Children’s Pool and to set up a city-sanctioned volunteer docent program.

La Jollans’ participation in these discussions has been surprisingly light, presumably because people are just burned out on the issue. However, if you wish to be heard, now is the time. The four proposals are going to be heard and voted on by the full City Council on Monday at Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This location was chosen so that all interested La Jollans can easily attend.

Councilmember Sherri Lightner is at the forefront of bringing this issue back to La Jollans. She recognizes that the biggest challenge we face in coming up with a good management plan is ensuring that the community members who are impacted the most by what happens at the Children’s Pool have a say in the future management. Support her efforts by attending the City Council meeting on May 17 and/or or contacting council members before then to let them know what options you do or don’t support support for the Children’s Pool. If you don’t engage, you won’t be heard, so act now and ensure that the City Council takes an action that works for La Jolla.

City Council contact information can be found at www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/.