Letters to the Editor — New Rules at La Jolla Children’s Pool: Five-month beach closure to protect seals has violation fines up to $1,000


• New Rules at La Jolla Children’s Pool: Five-month beach closure to protect seals has violation fines up to $1,000:

By Herman Parker, Director Park & Rec

The beach area at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool will be closed to the public from Dec. 15, 2014 through May 15, 2015. This seasonal closure is intended to provide special protection to the harbor seal population during the vulnerable pupping season and to address public safety concerns. The California Coastal Commission granted the city’s request for the seasonal closure Aug. 14 2014.

The area that will be off limits to the public during this period is the area of sand at the base of the coastal bluffs/slopes, the rocks, the breakwater and the lower staircase. The Children’s Pool seawall will remain accessible as will the walkway on top of the bluff, on the east side of the pool (see map top right). Due to construction of the La Jolla Lifeguard Station adjacent to the site, public access may be limited at times.

Per the city’s permit from the Coastal Commission, signs will be placed at the site to alert the public of the closure (see example bottom right). Failure to heed the signs is a violation of the city’s municipal code and is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to $1,000. Harassing, disturbing or flushing the seals violates federal and local laws.

A condition of the Coastal Commission’s approval of the seasonal beach closure requires the City of San Diego to conduct ongoing monitoring of the area, recording the number of harbor seals present, the tide and weather conditions, instances of harbor seal harassment, as well as the number of warnings and citations issued by police.

The La Jolla beaches and coastline are among the most visited coastal areas in San Diego County, attracting visitors from across the nation. How the City of San Diego manages and strategically plans for preserving the natural beauty and the diverse recreational activities of the area will be a focus in the coming years.

Questions about the closure and monitoring program can be directed to: Herman Parker, Director, Park and Recreation Department, (619) 236-6643.

Questions about the Lifeguards’ role at Children’s Pool can be directed to: Rick Wurts, Lifeguard Chief, (619) 221-8832


• Easy end to recycling trucks problem: Just lock it up, restaurants! Ed Witt’s dilemma with plastic and glass yucky booze bottle recycling operations and trucks parked in residential neighborhoods is indeed smelly, noisy, invasive and just plain disgusting. The problem can be solved very easily if the commercial establishments (particularly the restaurants), simply lock their commercial trash containers. That should keep the trash recycling thieves at bay. It’s not asking too much for these commercial establishments to step up to the plate and do their part to make this community a safer and happier place in which to live. Just lock it up, folks.

P.S. Note to City Council President Sherri Lightner: Just have one of your staff members telephone the major restaurants in La Jolla and strongly suggest they lock up their trash containers. Be firm and suggest that a voluntary resolution is much better than then a city ordinance. — Tom Carroll, La Jolla

• Who really knows what Miss Scripps would think? Did you notice an interesting quotation in the Dec. 11 La Jolla Light article “Historian clarifies Ms. Scripps’ garden wishes”? In the article, USD historian Molly McClain cites a memorandum from Miss Scripps’ lawyer, quoting her response to a suggestion she reserve a specific lot as a public park: “Miss Scripps very promptly said in substance that she could not see what might be desirable in the future, that she did not want to tie things up...”

Yet some would have us believe that Miss Scripps would feel exactly the same today as she did 83 years ago when she funded construction of the Children’s Pool breakwater in 1931, despite the circumstances having changed so radically. I don’t know how her opinion would have evolved, but neither do those who oppose measures protecting the seals. I for one suspect she would be delighted that so many children enjoy watching the seals. — Donald Yeckel, La Jolla

• Monarch Cottages bring into focus the “moral challenge” of Alzheimer’s disease. “How can society meet the challenges of respecting and protecting people with dementia? … The moral role of the family is to create a framework of value and a sphere of care in which people with dementia can be found worthy of life and well being; in addition, family caregivers must be sociopolitical advocates for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, who, with waning powers of articulation and will, are politically voiceless and therefore vulnerable.” — Dr. Stephen Post, associate director at the Center for Biomedical Ethics, School of Medicine, Case Western University.

My sensibilities were shocked listening to what I perceived as a breach in moral fortitude when the building owner and the proposed project representative presented plans for an Alzheimer’s unit at 7630 Fay Ave., dubbed “Monarch Cottages,” during the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) meeting on Dec. 4.

One had the audacity to emphasize the amount of empty retail space in La Jolla (110,000 square feet) to lull the LJCPA into approving the “cottages.” (The LJCPA voted 11-4-1 that findings could not be made for Monarch Cottages because the proposed facility thwarts the Planned District Ordinance [PDO] requirement for retail use.)

The story line was embellished by outlining how families could visit their loved ones at Monarch Cottages, enjoying the amenities of the Village together. (We now call Alzheimer’s facilities Memory Support Units.)

Actually, the building at 7630 Fay Ave. does not resemble a “cottage,” but is rather a large, two-story building without any opportunity for windows and natural light on the north or south sides; the back of the building faces an alley.

Patients in the early stage of Alzheimer’s are most often at home, focusing on maintaining their independence and some normalcy in their lives for as long as possible.

Alzheimer’s disease is rarely about a leisurely walk down Fay Avenue with family on a Sunday afternoon, or even attending a symphony. By the time one is admitted to a Memory Support Unit, the patient is well along the agonizing trajectory of this dreaded disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a tragic, progressive and terminal illness that has no respecter of person. The diagnosis can come as early as in one’s 50s. The average life span after diagnosis is two to 20 years; patients may present with a secondary psychiatric diagnosis or a psychiatric overlay, often from an awareness of their cognitive decline; anger, frustration and hopelessness, along with feelings of panic that may be directed at others. Anxiety, paranoia, sadness and clinical depression may require treatment. Supervision by a home healthcare provider, a gero-psychiatrist and/or a neurologist may be indicated. Memory Support Units best serve their patients with thoughtful aesthetic environments, structured activities and music, as well as places to sit and rest. Patients thrive on the availability of natural light and secured places to walk outside where there are benches to rest, promoting an experience of personal freedom. — Carol Mills, RN, MA; La Jolla

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