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Mayor: No emergency about the seals as attorney files motion to put barrier back

Mayor Jerry Sanders has said he will not declare an emergency to reinstall the rope barrier around the seals, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper’s website reported that the mayor instead recommended obtaining permits through the normal coastal permit process outlined by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith last week.

Even before the mayor’s decision issued late Thursday, attorney Bryan Pease, who has represented the pro-seals side in the on-going debate over the Children’s Pool, had filed an emergency motion with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals attempting to force Mayor Jerry Sanders’ to immediately replace a rope barrier separating people and the mammals.

In an e-mail Thursday Pease said he filed the motion because Sanders ""continues to fail and refuse to follow an emergency resolution of the San Diego City Council passed May 17" to put the barrier back immediately.

“Our response is it’s a frivolous motion,” Gina Coburn, communications director for City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, said via e-mail.

Pease said the city’s response to the motion is due on Friday, and that the court will rule on it early next week. He said incidents have occurred since the rope was removed May 15 at the end of the seals’ pupping season.

“This past weekend, anti-seal activists took over the beach from the seals in violation of federal law that is not being enforced,” said Pease. “NOAA officials have, however, supported implementation of the city council’s emergency resolution that the mayor is now ignoring.”

The City Council voted 7-2 to keep the barrier up year-round, close the beach completely during the seals’ Dec. 15 to May 15 pupping season, hire a privately funded park ranger to patrol the beach and run a city-sponsored docent program and forbid dogs there at all times.

The City Attorney’s office last week issued a legal opinion concluding that a coastal development permit (CDP) is necessary to reinstate the barrier. But that opinion stopped short of advocating whether Sanders should declare an “emergency” to allow immediate placement of the rope barrier, or go through the normal permitting process that could take weeks or months.