In 1931 a San Diego matriarch gave $50,000 to build a sea wall to protect 200 yards of beach. It was called the Children’s Pool. Two children died because of the sluice gates. Since that time the gates have been closed, preventing free-flow of water to eliminate debris. In addition, because the State owns the beach and has allowed the City to operate it, the City of course did not do so and sand has amassed to fill in this man-made cove now called Casa Beach.
For years local seals have used this tiny beach as a rookery (to have pups) and as a safe haul-out site to elude sharks and sunbathe. They are a tremendous tourist attraction and are protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Several years ago, when signs were posted not to interfere with the seals, a swimmer did so and was ticketed. She had local attorney Paul Kennerson sue to get rid of the seals. He won. On Monday a judge declared that by today the City has to spend some $700K to disburse the seals or face daily penalties. The plan is to place loudspeakers on the beach with sounds of barking dogs.
It gets better. On Monday the Governor signed legislation allowing this teeny stretch of beach to be used for marine mammals and education purposes, effective January 1, 2010. Now the City, who is ready to unleash the “dogs” on the seals in a few hours time, has to go to the judge and ask that his ruling be set aside. If that does not work, lawyers must go to a federal judge (because federal law protects the seals) and ask to nullify Monday’s local ruling.
Many people think that Ellen Browning Scripps, donor of the sea wall on State property, owned the beach and gave it over to be used for children’s swimming and wading, and that she’d be turning in her grave knowing that seals have taken it over with the permission of the Feds, State and City and local residents. She never owned the land, it is the property of the people of the State of California, held in trust by the City of San Diego (who makes “deferred maintenance” of recreational facilities, well, recreation).
San Diego County boasts nearly 300 miles of sunny, sandy beaches that are much safer for children than the neglected “Children’s Pool.” I think it’s time to allow the seals 200 yards of it. To me, it’s much more interesting and educational than Sea World. Oh, yeah, I lived there for years and never went to Sea World because I’d rather see wildlife than trained Orcas.
As you can probably tell, I’d like to see the end of this today, with the seals and their protectors as victors. There’s to be a presence at the Federal Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time, then at Casa Beach, where police may or may not activate the barking dogs. If you’re interested in learning more, check out http://www.lajollafriendsoftheseals.org
This has been an issue for years. San Diegans have also spent exhaustive efforts on whether a cross to honor veterans was a violation of church and state. Whenever one has millionaires and multi-million dollar homes it can be assured that mountains will be made of molehills. With the seals, I believe wealthy La Jollans don’t want riffraff like us parking and walking out on that sea wall to watch the waves and the seals. Perhaps that’s why there’s no highway signage to San Diego’s “jewel of the sea.”
Today I’ve got lovely chicken that I’ll bread in panko (milk, then flour, then egg, then crumbs) and bake in the oven, mixing in some of my smoked paprika dry rub in the dry ingredients. I’m also making lists for our first official overnight guest, Jim’s brother, in for a long weekend. I need to set them up for a day of fly fishing and create menus for breakfasts and dinners throughout. I won’t let them know that I’ll have steaks ready in case no trout are forthcoming from the fishing trip. More later. Dee