Lightner says it’s possible a ranger could manage Children’s Pool


San Diego City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner on Monday offered a plan in which a lifeguard or ranger would manage the Children’s Pool in La Jolla to maintain a joint-use policy for people and harbor seals.

Lightner said the long-running issue at the Children’s Pool is a “people problem” and not one created by the presence of the seals. She said she hopes the plan eases tensions between those who want to protect the seals and others who want the area returned to its original purpose.

Recent court decisions have left the joint-use policy intact, Lightner said.

The council’s Committee on Natural Resources has scheduled a special meeting for April 5 to resolve the conflicts in the area, which Lightner in her memo partially blames on animal rights activists who believe they’re defending the seals.

The Children’s Pool was initially dedicated years ago for use by local youth, but a couple of hundred seals found it to be the perfect breeding ground, limiting human use.

Lightner’s plan calls for the cash-strapped city to seek private funding for a park ranger or lifeguard to patrol the Children’s Pool, as well as the creation of a volunteer docent program to educate the public.

There is no evidence that anyone has harmed a seal at the Children’s Pool and no evidence that a seal or rope barrier used to protect them has prevented anyone from swimming, she said.

“The city’s existing joint-use policy, which allows seals to haul out on the beach while also preserving public access to the ocean, will continue to be the best solution for the Children’s Pool — and the only solution that results in no additional costs to taxpayers — if properly managed by the city,” Lightner said.

The city is under no legal obligation to do anything regarding the Children’s Pool, she said.