Letters to the Editor: Rescuing sea lions, Cove Stench, dog poop, phone scams, baby lobsters and more


• Rescue sea lions? Comply with the MMPA! — As I read in the La Jolla Light (Feb. 5) approximately 250 sea lions have been recently “rescued” by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and its partners, including SeaWorld. While this may be good public relations for NOAA and SeaWorld, it’s absolutely the wrong thing to do from an ecological and wildlife management perspective. Anyone who has taken a beginning college class in ecology understands that species overpopulation produces, among other things, degraded environmental quality, depleted food supplies, increased disease and morbidity.

It was stated in the article that, with a population size greater than 300,000, the sea lion population may be at the environmental “carrying capacity,” the point where the environment cannot support a further increase in the sea lion population. Starving sea lions are simply a result of a population size that has grown too large. Therefore, rescuing malnourished young sea lions by NOAA and partners is forcing nature in the wrong direction. Anyone who took the ecology class mentioned earlier would have also learned that early mortality is a common and natural part of normal wildlife population dynamics. A stable population is in balance with the environment and maintains a relatively constant size.

Let’s assume a female sea lion has a 10-year reproductive life span. Assume further that she has one offspring each year. If they all survive the population would increase by a factor of 10, but this doesn’t happen. Rather, over the 10 year period on average 9 of the 10 offspring do not survive. The single survivor just replaces the female, and the population stays in equilibrium. 90 percent early mortality is normal, and desirable for the health of the population.

A final point concerns the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The MMPA is often invoked by seal supporters as providing a legal constraint against human actions that interfere with the ”natural” behavior of marine mammals. By the same token, I believe NOAA and SeaWorld should also follow the letter of the law and refrain from “rescuing” malnourished sea lions and leave them alone to die their natural deaths. It’s nature’s way. — Stephen Roberts

• Cove Stench be gone! Power wash the cliffs! — Yesterday I was in Costa Mesa on business. When my associates discovered I lived in La Jolla Village, their first question to me was “I haven’t visited there in a while because of the stench by the Cove. Has anything been done about it?”

Well, as we all know. There has been a little (very little) improvement. The one-time cleaning and the gate installation so people can go out on the rocks has helped a bit. But it still stinks and we all know it’s going to get worse this summer when the hotter weather returns. I know there’s been countless studies done and it seems, according to Feb. 19’s La Jolla Light, that there is yet another study planned regarding the seals and sea lions.

Here’s a common sense suggestion: Sea water filtered, so it’s just natural sea salt water, is pretty harsh, so why doesn’t some service just purchase some relatively inexpensive gas-powered power washers and wash the bird and seal waste with sea water? It’s certainly not going to harm the ocean (guess where the birds and seals poop when they’re not on the rocks?). Even if it damages the power washers … so what? It will only cost $400-$500 each to replace them. I mean really, how hard can this be to solve? — Paul Mirabella

• Independent La Jolla efforts remain on track — The Feb. 19 letter, “Just the facts, ma’am about an independent La Jolla” by Bird Rock resident Dale Duffala, is puzzling. For some unfathomable reason, Mr. Duffala is referencing a 10-year old economic report (circa 2005) and stating that the numbers in the report are not valid in 2015. Yes, Mr. Duffala, you are correct to state the information in a 2005 economic report is not valid in 2015. No one at Independent La Jolla cites the 2005 report, as it expired many years ago and has no validity whatsoever to anyone. Of course 2005 taxation and revenue numbers are not reflective of 2015. How could they be?

We understand that Mr. Duffala does not want La Jolla to become a city independent of San Diego, he has made that clear, but this ongoing reiteration of an expired report data seems like a waste of good time and newsprint.

Duffala cites project costs he said should have been reflected in the 2005 report. However, if the reader takes even a cursory look at the projects he is describing, one is quick to see these projects were not conceived until 2007 and 2008. Sans a time machine, they could not have been reflected in the 2005 report he has been scouring for perceived inaccuracies.

Mr. Duffala goes on to state he is in dialogue with Richard Berkson of EPS, who authored the 2005 report, and has been advising Mr. Berkson on future report content for Independent La Jolla. We have not worked with EPS since 2005. We hired them for a one-off report and that was all. We hired a Sacramento-based economic planner in 2009 for our long-term needs, and have been very happy with the work. As Mr. Duffala is not a member of Independent La Jolla, assumedly he is not aware that not only is his data 10 years old, but his entire premise is.

As many have done before me, I invite Mr. Duffala to a monthly Independent La Jolla meeting and/or to escort our president on monthly trips to Sacramento to meet with State Legislature and lobbyists on the current Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act of Special Reorganization. If Mr. Duffala then continues to state that La Jolla should not be a city, his opinion is welcome. But at least at that point he will be dealing in facts and not forever debating the pertinence of long expired data. — Melinda Merryweather, Independent La Jolla vice president

Extortion call prompts warning about scams — I was called at 5:55 a.m. Sunday by a man with a foreign accent who said he was with the Justice Department and there was a “Hit out on me.” He said someone was going to kill me and I needed to join “Illuminati” for protection.

I hung up and called 911, and the dispatcher called the police who were here in 15 minutes. The caller phoned back and the policeman was nearby listening. The caller asked for my e-mail address, which I wouldn’t give out, and I asked him where he was located and he said Washington, D.C. He reiterated about the “hit” etc.

I asked him what I had to do and he said I had to send $900 — $500 now and $400 later. I told him I had a policeman standing by who heard everything he just said, and he hung up. The officer told me there were hundreds of scams like this in San Diego. I thought of my friend and her elderly mother who would have had their credit card out immediately.

La Jolla Light should do an article to alert people about scams like this. We’ve all gotten e-mails that claim our “grandchild is in jail and needs $$$" etc. I had one from London about my brother-in-law (he had died the year before!). My Gmail account was hacked in late December, and I had to get a new one and change 2,500 contacts! What a mess! Tell people not to open any e-mail when they don’t know who is sending it. That’s the way hackers get into your computer to do the damage. — Sally Fuller

• Visitor takes dim view of homeless in The Jewel — During a month-long stay in your beautiful Village, l noticed a lack of concern for the “homeless” situation. l noticed a resident of the Vons’ parking lot accost elderly patrons, and witnessed an aggressive panhandler yell at shoppers on Girard Avenue. Just when l thought l had seen it all, l saw a denizen of the CVS parking lot bathing himself during broad daylight — with children walking home from school! La Jolla does not have a homeless problem, you have a lunatic problem. l’m amazed that residents are not troubled by this. — Rod Davis, Washington Twp., NJ

• Cove fence needs immediate attention — We are new residents in La Jolla and were shocked to see the condition of the fence that encircles the Cove. It is rotted and peeling. It is sorely in need of repair and painting. The beauty of the Cove is certainly marred by this barrier. — H. Lee Sarokin

• Here’s a blast from the past! — When we started remodeling our home in the Muirlands Village, we came across this old metal realtor sign. The phone number actually had letters in it, and the address is on Kline Street. I’m not sure how old the sign is, but we thought your newspaper readers might like to see it. — Rob Ault

• Where do we stand on priorities list? — A year ago, La Jolla Light published a priority list of infrastructure projects based on the input from La Jolla Community Planning Association (February 13, 2014 issue). It would be a great service to La Jolla residents if, at this point, you can also publish the progress (if any) on this list. Of particular interest to my friends and colleagues who walk along La Jolla Scenic North everyday is the installation of sidewalks at Pottery Canyon Park. This park is sadly neglected by the city. It is a pity because people often stop here to view the sunset across the ocean and, on the other side, view the sunrise behind the hills. I understand funds are available from the city for sidewalk installation. If for some reason, there has been no progress at all on the published priority list, we probably should refrain from any talk about La Jolla’s secession from the city. — Amando P. Gaspar

• Baby lobsters invade La Jolla! — Thought I would pass along a couple of photos from yesterday morning (Feb. 23) of some baby lobsters that were scattered all over the beach from Sea Lane to WindanSea! — Howard Greenberg

• Dog poop on Eads Avenue is truly bothersome — I’m writing to thank Andrea Auerbach for her letter last week about the proliferation of dog poop along Eads Avenue. I have two dogs and walk that street every day, as well. Every time I do, I become angry, frustrated and embarrassed. Whoever leaves the dog poop out there is a disgrace to fellow dog owners who make it a strong point to religiously pick up after their pets. I notice many dogs go unleashed around town with their owners walking ahead and never paying attention to where their dogs are doing their business. I guess their thinking is, “if I don’t see it, it ain’t there.” Good for you, Andrea, for calling attention to this distressing, discourteous situation. Thanks again for your letter. — Maria Luipaul

CORRECTION — In the Feb. 19 issue, the names of the Group of 12 & Friends founders were incorrect. The founders were Lillian Fishman and Reena Horowitz. Doreen Schonbrun is the program coordinator.

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