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Letters to the Editor: Reader suggests relocating sea lions away from La Jolla; others say leave sea lions alone; La Jolla Half Marathon to benefit community

The “Cove Stench” or continuing foul odor at La Jolla Cove is caused by sea lion and bird waste, according to City of San Diego officials. For years, sea lions have made the natural habitat of La Jolla Cove as their year-round home.
The "Cove Stench" or continuing foul odor at La Jolla Cove is caused by sea lion and bird waste, according to City of San Diego officials. For years, sea lions have made the natural habitat of La Jolla Cove as their year-round home.
(La Jolla Light Staff)

— LETTERS TO THE EDITOR / OPINION / OUR READERS WRITE —

• Song of La Jolla

Weed whackers, leaf blowers, mowers of lawns

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Sirens wail constantly as locals pass on

while garbage men play war games with dumpsters at dawn — Mark Anderson

• It’s time to relocate the sea lions — La Jolla Cove was recently rated the No. 6 Best Beach in the USA by Trip Advisor — and the only California beach in the Top 10. That means hundreds of international tourists are there everyday, locals swim to the mile markers from daylight to dark daily, children play and snorkel in the shallow areas near the beach with the beautiful small fish … and the huge, 800-pound bull sea lions whom are mating!

Sea lion excrement and left-over afterbirth can carry disease to humans and stinks so bad people are walking with their noses covered as they slip and slide through pools of blood, afterbirth and excrement that is everywhere from the entrance stairs to the Cove to the sand on the beach (I’ve seen strings of blood vessels from afterbirth swaying through the surf there), to the cliffs over the east side of the Cove, where the city opened the gate so people could mix with the sea lions there.

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Nobody has even tried to clean any of these areas for many months. People are directed by open gates, pathways, stairs and signs placed by the city to visit all of these areas. This alone makes the city responsible for anything that can adversely affect these people.

The reason for the problems affecting this beautiful place is the alarming rate of growth in the sea lion population at the Cove. It has increased at least tenfold in the last 10 years, so much so that the overpopulation has overridden the food supply and many sea lions (especially the younger ones) are starving to death!

Sea lion starvation has been increasing at an alarming rate, as well. SeaWorld has closed its sea lion show so trainers can tend to the rescued sea lions, and new tanks had to be erected to support them.

What happens in the food chain when there are dead or emancipated sea lions everywhere? Sharks will begin to show up in abundance. The higher population of the first sharks to enjoy the fruitful sea lion bounty will cause the sharks to have their own shark population explosion.

Where is the area for great white shark breeding/birthing in San Diego? Scripps Canyon, which has tributaries coming from La Jolla Cove itself starting at 40 feet of water, and wraps around La Jolla Shores to Black’s Beach. Baby Great Whites have been caught in gill nets there, and scientists have documented this.

What happens when there are more sharks near beaches where there are dying sea lions? Humans are mistaken for sea lions, attacked and eaten, as the sharks become more agitated and begin to frenzy, caused by the smell of sea lion excrement, afterbirth and blood, and dead or emancipated sea lions. Sharks can sense all of these from a mile away as the odor and electrical nerve pulses of humans and sea lions run down into the tributaries of Scripps Canyon.

The laws of nature will come into play unless we intercede like we do with deer, rabbits and other overpopulating animals. We must take the sea lions away to remote places where there is more food for them, like Peru. (Sea lions have been known to return a thousand miles after being relocated.) What happens when shark attacks on humans occur in San Diego? Tourists and potential residents will not come here at all, since they were coming for the beaches. You cannot ignore the laws of nature. — Robert Fletcher

• Leave the sea lions alone! — Good morning, La Jolla! It may not be morning as you read this, but regardless, it’s time to wake up. I know everyone wants to eat steak and caviar in odor-free bliss at the Cove, but guess what? The birds and sea lions in La Jolla Cove were here first, and are now living in a Marine Protected Area. Let’s face it; we all live here because we want to be near the ocean. Do all the whiners really want to walk by the Cove in the future and see nothing but rocks and water? All this talk about power washing and sea lion relocation is insanity. Would park rangers relocate a moose in Yellowstone because its poop was stinking up the joint? Doubtful. We have a special piece of coastline here in La Jolla that is appreciated by many. Let’s try to remember why we’re all here and not in Miami. — Paul Clausen

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P.S. There are great restaurants in Miami!

• Cove stench part ‘n’ parcel of tourist trade — I read with interest the headline of the April 2, 2015 La Jolla Light: “Judge: City not liable for Cove odor.” The article is fascinating in its details and for the associated ironies. I grew up in La Jolla in the 1940s and ’50s, a time when sea lions and seals were rare to see. There was no underwater reserve protecting marine flora and fauna near the Cove and no Marine Mammal Protection Act to protect sea lions and seals. Sea lions and seals were commercially hunted for dog food throughout California waters, and fishermen shot at any sea lion trying to steal a hooked fish. We kids were excited to see any living marine mammal near the coast. There were far fewer people living in La Jolla in those years. Fewer visitors came to La Jolla, too, and Prospect Street was devoid of cars after dark.

Recently on a Sunday evening, I walked from Casa Beach (aka Children’s Pool) past the Cove and Goldfish Point to the footbridge near the eastern end of Coast Walk. People looking at the ocean, seals, sea lions and sea birds thronged the sidewalk and path, marveling at the natural scene and the wealth of wildlife.

The street down past the Cove was jammed with cars seemingly in gridlock. Walking past Brockton Villa Restaurant, the smell of environmental health (aka guano) pervaded the air and while a few visitors held their noses here, many others aimed their cameras at the sea lions. I suspect that George’s restaurant and the others in the vicinity had no lack of business that evening.

La Jolla is now known for its coastal wildlife and thus has become an ecotourism destination. The visitors I saw on that evening walk had their clothes on and wallets in their pockets. Many of them came to shop and dine as well as to look at the coastal wildlife. On days when the smell of bird guano and sea lion excrement wafts ashore, merchants and restaurateurs would do well to remember what attracts so many visitors to the town.

Sea lions are now occupying the sand of the Cove beach on a regular basis. Could it be that they feel threatened by the odd effects or lack of smell created by the spraying of “microbial foam” on the rocky bluffs below Red Roost and Brockton Villa? The city’s argument that the smell of guano is among the risks and benefits of being located adjacent to a marine environment is simply common sense, and the few individuals who wish to have the city control every aspect of our coastal wildlife habitat need to rethink their demands. — Jim Hudnall

• Bid for a chance to hold the Finish Line ribbon at the La Jolla Half Marathon — Like clockwork, April brings spring break, Easter, Passover, beaches full of tourists, glorious days, and another La Jolla Half Marathon! This year the 34th annual race — organized, staffed and produced by the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla — will rumble through the streets of La Jolla on the morning of Sunday, April 26.

The runners will start at the Del Mar Fairgrounds at 7 a.m., and the last runner will cross the finish line in Scripps Park by 11 a.m. This is the main fundraising event for the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, in which the club strives to involve the community for the benefit and enrichment of the community. All proceeds from this event are given in the form of grants and scholarships to community- and youth-service organizations in La Jolla and the greater San Diego area.

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We are expecting our usual number of runners, who with their friends and families will swell the streets of La Jolla on the last weekend in April by 10,000-plus people. We are holding the registration and check-in at Roadrunner Sports in Kearny Mesa on Friday, April 24, and Saturday April 25. As in previous years, we will provide shuttle bus service for race participants to the start and finish areas of the race.

The Kiwanis Club would like to thank the residents along the race route for your longstanding support and forbearance of any inconveniences. Please join with us to make the 34th running of the La Jolla Half Marathon a success on April 26! The bulk of the organizing and staffing for this event is by volunteers from our community. If you are interested in helping out, please visit our volunteer link: doitsports.com/volunteer2/jobs-by-date.tcl?event_id=214760 or go to lajollahalfmarathon.com

As an added feature, we will auction off the privilege (and photo opportunity) to hold the finish line ribbon for both the La Jolla Half Marathon and the La Jolla Shores 5K run. The bid reserve for the marathon is $200, and for the 5K it is $100.

If you, your business or group would like to support the Kiwanis Club and generate media attention, please e-mail Nicole Rawson, chair of the Kiwanis Young Professionals Group, at ypg-chair@kiwanisclublajolla.org with your bid by noon April 24. Please specify which event you are bidding on in the e-mail subject line. In the event of tied bids, Nicole will hold a drawing to select the winner. All proceeds go to the La Jolla Kiwanis Foundation, a 501 (c)3 organization.

Please contact me (henry@ljpb.biz) for more information about the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla (kiwanislajolla.org) or visit our weekly meeting. Lunch is on me! Younger prospective members may join Nicole at our Young Professionals Happy Hour Social, 5-7 p.m. the second and fourth Thursdays at Hennessey’s Tavern, 7811 Herschel Ave., La Jolla. — Henry Chiu, La Jolla Kiwanis Club

• Half Marathon/5K registration on through April 22 — Now in its 34th year, the annual La Jolla Half Marathon will come to the streets of La Jolla on Sunday, April 26, 2015. The event is a community favorite and truly a Southern California classic. The 13.1-mile point-to-point course starts 7:30 a.m. at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and travels along the Del Mar coastline before reaching the ascent into Torrey Pines State Park. After passing the summit, runners continue along North Torrey Pines Road to drop into La Jolla Shores where racers complete their final miles, winding their way toward La Jolla Cove.

Spectators line Coast Boulevard, cheering runners into the picturesque finish where racers are greeted with a beautiful finisher medal, food bag and plenty of high-fives. Celebration will be plentiful at the Finish Festival in Scripps Park where participants reunite with friends and family while relaxing to the Polynesian rhythms of Semisi and FulaBula in front of a gorgeous ocean backdrop.

A complimentary Ballast Point beer awaits those ages 21 and older in the beer garden, along with snacks from Jose’s Court Room and tunes from a local DJ. The finish festival in Scripps Park is open to the public and offers an opportunity to check out local vendors while listening to music in an inspiring atmosphere of La Jolla Half Marathon finishers!

More than 7,000 runners are expected to participate in this scenic race and net proceeds will benefit the youth, senior and community programs of the La Jolla Kiwanis Foundation. The event also includes the La Jolla Shores 5K, which starts at a Jolla Shores Drive near the Scripps Pier and finishes in the Cove. The La Jolla Half Marathon is the second race in the three-part ViaSat Half Marathon Triple Crown series, a challenge involving a trio of scenic Southern California half marathons.

Online race registration is open until April 22, and includes a technical fabric race shirt, cinch bag and more. For further information, visit lajollahalfmarathon.comChristine Adams

• WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND?Letters to the Editor for publication in La Jolla Light and lajollalight.com should be 250 words or less, and sent by e-mail to editor@lajollalight.com and must include the full name of the sender, city of residence and phone number for verification. Note: The content of letters are not the opinions of La Jolla Light.


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