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Seal Legislation Passes Calif. Assembly

Above: Seals sun bathe at Children's Pool beach in La Jolla.

Audio

Aired 7/9/09

A bill giving the San Diego City Council control over the Children’s Pool in La Jolla has passed overwhelmingly in both the State Senate and Assembly. But nothing will change in San Diego until the Governor decides to act.

Video
Video unavailable. Read transcript below.

Above: KPBS reporter Sharon Heilbrunn asks visitors at the Children's Pool in La Jolla what they think about the controversy.

— A bill giving the San Diego City Council control over the Children’s Pool in La Jolla has passed overwhelmingly in both the State Senate and Assembly. But nothing will change in San Diego until the Governor decides to act.

The bill changes the wording of the trust that created the Children’s Pool to allow the beach to be used as a marine sanctuary. The city council could ultimately decide whether to let the seals stay there. But the Governor says he won’t sign any legislation until the state’s budget crisis is resolved. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith says that means the city must still follow the ruling of a state judge who’s overseeing a lawsuit involving the seals.

“If Judge Hoffman orders us in the interim to remove the seals we will do everything he asks us to do. If another judge orders us not to interfere with the seals, we’ll comply with both of them,” he says.

Goldsmith says he believes the legislation is the only way to finally resolve the issue. The bill is currently being held at the Senate. Once it’s sent to the Governor he has 12 days to either sign it or veto it or it automatically becomes law.

Comments

Avatar for user 'jimvsmij'

jimvsmij | July 9, 2009 at 4:37 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

The seals stole the beach away from us we should be able to get the beach back. This used to be a very popular place for children to play in the water while parents bathed in the sun and 50+ snorkelers swimming on any given summer day. Now this beach is not accessible to families and even if it were I would be afraid of letting my child swim/snorkel in the water because where there are seals there are animals in the water that eat seals and whatever can eat a seal can surely eat my kid. I have nothing against seals they just set up camp in the wrong place. I would even be in favor of getting rid of them without killing them, perhaps using air horns and cattle prods or something. There are plenty of beaches else where. Have them try camp Pendleton shores.

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Avatar for user 'lunarosenstein'

lunarosenstein | July 9, 2009 at 6:26 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Take a moment and look at the beautiful picture posted above. How wonderful is to take a stroll in the middle of a city and admire an amazing view and its natural habitats. Let's stop being selfish and allow nature to follow its course. We--as humans--can compromise and stop fighting the seals--let's show them that WE can be the bigger person. We have many beaches to use, why to be stubborn for an small pool? Extra spending is not wise during this time, and with all the cuts in our CA budget, I am sure the money can be wisely used in another area where people in need will gain a higher benefit. Please let the seals alone!

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Avatar for user 'jimvsmij'

jimvsmij | July 10, 2009 at 10:22 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

@lunarosenstein
I see a photo of a beautiful beach devoid of snorkelers, swimmers, and beach lovers and is now filled with giant hideous slug looking creatures that have infested the shores. As for taking a stroll to look at them be sure to hold your nose otherwise the stench might drive you away. Who is being selfish? This small pool is prime swimming grounds and it's because it is a man made pool and not one made by nature. I'd say they are being selfish it has nothing to do with nature taking it's course if they are taking away something we built. Those in favor of giving away man made structures for to animal infestation should give up their homes to let termites, mice, skunks, rats, ants and whatever else wants to live there. When ants come into my house I get rid of them and don't sit around admiring their beauty. Beaches are on of San Diego's main tourist attractions and as you can see the beach is not filled with tourists as it was before the seal infestation. How can we afford not to protect our main income generating asset especially in these times?
I'm curious to what you do when you find roaches in your house. Do you show them that YOU can be the bigger person by letting them have your house and leave the roaches alone because it's just nature taking it's course?

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Avatar for user 'WhereAreTheClowns'

WhereAreTheClowns | July 10, 2009 at 2:58 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Absolutely incredible, the depth of people's cluelessness. Extremists put forward that Children's Pool is the only place of rest for harbor seals; this is laughable.

These animals are not endangered, and the MMPA was not intended to be interpreted in such a draconian manner as to shoo humans off a beach so that a seal might sunbathe.

Children's Pool was NOT hijacked by seals, it was an orchestrated land-grab by extremist elitists who endeavor to bar the average citizen from occupying or enjoying a beach area. Just wait, when the current population of seals grows to overpopulate Children't Pool, they will seek another place to subathe, so whats going to be the next beach the City of San Diego wants to surrender to sunbathing seals? La Jolla Cove? Shores? It will never stop!

This has happened in other locations, such as wharfs in San Francisco that have been taken over by seals and sea lions and thereby rendering those artificies useless for their intended purpose, commerce.

Children's Pool has never been a rookery, seals birth at that location because they have been afforded that location by militant animal extremists who have directed people away from the site.

They start with mis-information or mis-interpretation of laws or information, and when an informed citizen dares to challenge their assertions, the extremists turn militant and aggressive and ramp up to cursing at you, encrouching upon you with video and following you to your vehicle and videoing your license plate, and curiously, sometime later you'll discover some sort of damage to your car; and if that weren't enough, they will outright physically assault you and your family and your children; the aforemention are actual events that have occurred.

They will not allow you to occuy the Chiildren's Pool peacefully, you WILL be harrassed, and they know you want peace so you will not return; they have successfully captured the beach. The police are impotent, shrugg their shoulders and walk away. They have taken a couple token police reports, but those cases are prosecuted by the City Attorney, take a guess whether that case is issued for proscecution, if it were against an Extremist, not likely, and if they must, it'll be very light. If a case were proven against the likes of these extremists, the consequences of such crime cases mean nothing to them, they are zealots in their cause, exactly like the religious extremists our soldiers battle in the middle east right now, animal extremists are martyrs.

Seals are opportunists, they'll occupy anywhere they can; and where ever they can't, they move on, no problem! There are plenty of small beaches that are inaccessible to humans and perfect for wild animals. It is actually the humans who have less accessable beach for the population density this region supports.

And the California Legislature will go along with all this because the public consenses is so malleable by the media, and they vote.

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Avatar for user 'ricodowntown'

ricodowntown | July 10, 2009 at 7:35 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Seals are opportunists? And people aren't?

Perhaps the fact that people seem so equally divided on this issue suggests that maybe we should just leave things the way they are and have been for so long, with people and seals living close to each other for the benefit of both.

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Avatar for user 'my2cnz'

my2cnz | July 10, 2009 at 7:46 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Absolutely, the seals should be allowed to stay! There are miles and miles of other beaches in San Diego for the people.

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Avatar for user 'DGunn'

DGunn | July 10, 2009 at 7:49 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

When my children’s great-grandmother came to pay us a visit from Mississippi, there was one thing that she specifically asked to see. It wasn’t the Padres or San Diego Zoo. She wanted to see the seals in La Jolla.

These days, I have been watching the controversy over the La Jolla harbor seals with confusion. As a local resident I find it hard to believe that this is even a controversy. In San Diego, where we have literally miles and miles of beautiful public beaches, why are people denying these animals the 100-foot stretch of sand that is Casa Beach (Children’s Pool)?

Almost 80 years ago, Casa Beach was slated to be a children’s beach, but ask any child today which they would rather have, and I am sure that nearly all will pick the seals. My children have no shortage of beaches here in San Diego, but where else can they view a harbor seal colony in a natural habitat? (The answer is: nowhere else in San Diego county, Orange county or even L.A. county for that matter! This is the LAST one!)

For some of the previous commenters: you're wrong. Seals have been at Casa Beach for a long time - documented since the 1800's. It used to be called Seals Rock Bluff.

The large majority of La Jolla loves these seals, the tourists flock to see these seals, and the city council majority supports these seals.

In this world where our natural treasures are dwindling, the seals at Casa Beach are a jewel for La Jolla, its children, and its tourists. I pray that our children do not grown up in a world where animals only come from the zoo. How sad. We are meant to share this planet, not own it. San Diego is lucky to have this colony of seals choose her as their home and we should protect them with every voice, every vote, and every hand.

I'm shocked at some of these posters. Cattle prods and air horns? Such a sense of total ownership of the land? Comparing these lovely creatures to pests that must be stomped out? Hopefully one day you will realize that people are meant to be good tenants of the earth, not the suffocating landlords.

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Avatar for user 'spiritpen'

spiritpen | July 10, 2009 at 9:09 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Resolution Regarding Creation of a Marine Sanctuary for Casa Beach

WHEREAS, harbor seals have inhabited the area known as Casa Beach in La Jolla, California, as a haul-out site, hauling out being a physiologically necessary activity through which this species comes ashore to conserve energy and nurse their young; this haul-out site being the only harbor seal rookery south of Carpenteria, California, attracting many hundreds of visitors daily adding significant economic benefits to the city and county, as well as providing a unique nature education opportunity; and,

WHEREAS, although the harbor seals are true seals and should be protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as well as California and San Diego law, enforcement of the law by authorities on all levels has been lax; documented harassment of the harbor seals has continued on a regular basis without legal repercussions for offenders, while compliance with and enforcement of the MMPA with regard to harbor seals is being promoted by federal authorities in other areas of the United States*; and,

WHEREAS, more protection is needed for the preservation of this rookery, as scientific studies have indicated that harbor seals are timid regarding disturbances on land, and are especially vulnerable to disturbances in the critical first few hours of life, during which mother and pup must establish a bond to ensure proper nurturance during the first four to six weeks; now,

Therefore, be it RESOLVED that the Environmental Caucus of the California Democratic Party does hereby support creation of a Marine Sanctuary at Casa Beach to provide fuller protection, and the creation of a Marine Conservancy for Casa Beach, with by-laws, a charter, and the appointment of a Board of Directors to oversee their implementation, and be it further resolved that copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Speaker of the Assembly, the President of the Senate and chairs of respective policy committees of the State Legislature.


Passed UNANIMOUSLY by Environmental Caucus at CDP 2007 State Convention

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Avatar for user 'jimvsmij'

jimvsmij | July 10, 2009 at 10:40 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

People saying that they want to share the earth with nature is truly laughable. How many on those people have screens on their house windows to keep nature away? How many of them would do something to remove ants in their kitchen? I find those people hypocritical. Also what if instead of seals it was a cockroaches covering the beach? I'm sure that nobody would even argue about getting rid of them.I too had relatives come to visit me after years of not coming. All they were talking about was going to La Jolla and snorkel since it is one of the best snorkeling places they have ever been. I had to let them down by saying that the water is heavily polluted with the excretions of the seals to the point where visability is nothing like what it used to be and it is no longer safe because there may be sharks that might think that a snorkeler is a seal. There are hundreds of miles of beaches that the seals can make their own without destroying the snorkeling Jewel of San Diego.
Whether or not we remove the seal infestation now we will eventually be driven to do it as tourist deaths from shark attacks increase to an unacceptable level. I would just rather it be done now rather than later to save those tourists and our children from unnecessary danger.
http://www.lajollalight.com/sports/243154-shark-attack-suggests-reconsidering-seals

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Avatar for user '5963impala'

5963impala | July 10, 2009 at 11:33 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Reading such cruel & heartless comments people are leaving against the seals here at this site is heartbreaking to me....I've been all over the world & it seems that people have taken over almost every inch of this planet they can, frankly, the world has become so overpopulated & polluted because of humans & human activity. La Jolla Cove is one of the few tiny places left I've seen that is as nature intended it to be-No cigarette butts, no bubblegum, no plastic bottles, dirty diapers, people & their constant noise--Just peaceful seals, with their babies, just resting...and because of that it's like a slice of heaven on earth and a magical place to see.
Maybe people should stop acting so selfish and think about the planet as a place we need to share with nature, not a place we need to take over completely!

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Avatar for user 'jimvsmij'

jimvsmij | July 11, 2009 at 1:12 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

I too am heartbroken by the cruel and heartless comments here. Its sad to imagine that there are actually people who would rather let the countless swimmers at La Jolla shores be in ever increasing danger of shark attack rather then to simply remove the seals and let them find another, less populated beach or join the many other seal beaches all along California's coast.
Fruit flies also have been trying to settle here but we have been doing our bests to keep them from establishing themselves here. Why? Shouldn't we just share the planet with them where ever they want to settle? It is the same argument. If you are foe the seals then you have to be in favor of the fruit flies living here and spreading elsewhere.
Maybe people should stop acting so selfish wanting to see nature right from their backyards at the expense of peoples lives.

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Avatar for user 'b4goodnow'

b4goodnow | July 11, 2009 at 8:13 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

How did we get to be such a mean-spirited people? The heart of this debate is fear. Fear of losing something. Each side should look to what that fear is about, down to the core. As a seal habitat advocate, I fear the unfettered, unchecked brutality of the human species. Thus, lack of control. When I talk to the anti-seal people, they fear sharks, germs, loss of rights. Thus, lack of control. How, then can we each find control in our own lives so this seal issue is not controlling us, and we can leave these seals alone?

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Avatar for user 'Leannie'

Leannie | July 11, 2009 at 10:05 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

I disagree.I think that we got to be such mean spirited people because we cannot see past our preferance for mammals over other creatures of the earth. Do we hear any large debates about the San Diego Horned Lizard being in danger of extiction from all the housing developments along their preferred coastal lands. Where are the arguments that we should tear down all the coastal man-made houses and other developments to give these lizards back thier land so that they have a better chance of survival? How many of you commentors in favor for the seals would tear down your own house and move elswhere so that humanity can "share the earth" with other creatures who we have stolen thier land? Unlike the Horned Lizards the seals are in no danger of extiction and they actually have a huge amount of choices of where they can live. The only reason that we are debating this is because there are actually people that think of them as cute. If they were non-cute-non-mammal creatures taking over our land (example: snails) the debate would be how best to remove them as this debate should be.

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Avatar for user 'Leannie'

Leannie | July 11, 2009 at 10:16 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

jimvsmij,
I WOULD remove ants, cockroaches, termites, and any other "infestation" from my house rather than share my house so I can "share the planet" with nature.

I'm also all for containing of fruitflies from speading.

People, stop the hate, get rid of the seals, worry about the creatures that need our resources not the seal opportunists.

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Avatar for user 'JessCG'

JessCG | July 11, 2009 at noon ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Watching the seals is hands down my favorite activity in La Jolla and something I take all of my out of town guests to enjoy. If it weren't for the seals, I wouldn't bother making the drive from downtown San Diego, but once we're there, we go out to the local restaurants and gift shops, boosting La Jolla's economy.

I have seen people from all over the country happily watching the seals and answering their children's eager questions about them. It's a wonderful experience for children! The only people I have met who want to get rid of the seals at the "Children's" Pool are a few bitter, raving old men! This whole ridiculous, expensive legal battle is going on because one lawsuit-happy woman who lives in New Zealand got a ticket for harassing the seals and sued the city, and her lawyer is more than happy to keep wasting city money for the fight.

I am originally from a coastal town where there are seals, but no place to observe them. When I first moved down here, I was amazed by locals' good fortune to have the seals right there on a little protected beach and easy to view, and I just assumed there was a policy against disturbing them so that everybody could enjoy them. I was stunned and saddened to discover this controversy.

Here are several reasons I hope the city will not have to dredge the beach:

1) Biologists have reported that dredging the beach is likely to have many negative environmental effects, including potential erosion of the beautiful hillside.

2) If the beach is dredged, it will fill back up again in a matter of months.

3) Dredging the beach will be extremely expensive and a huge waste of public funds when it fills right back up.

4) It is completely unnecessary. There are many other beaches just steps away, where I see children enjoying the water all the time (and then they cross over to enjoy watching the seals).

Regarding changing the language of the grant:

1) It is my understanding that at the time the original language was written, there were no public swimming areas for small children that were protected from waves. It was before swimming pools, which now exist in abundance.

2) It was also a time when wildlife was more prevalent than it is today. Now, things have changed and children have far less opportunity to view wildlife in their natural habitat.

3) Many families cannot afford to take their children to Sea World, the Zoo, or the Wild Animal Park. How wonderful for them to have a place to see marine mammals up close for free. That experience should not be taken from them because of a frivolous lawsuit filed by a woman who doesn't even live in the United States!

If people are so concerned about the beach being used as a recreational area for children, why don't they find out what local children want? The reports I've heard are that 90% of residents prefer to be able to watch the seals, for free, in the wild. I would bet the response among local children would be similar.

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Avatar for user 'adventurelover'

adventurelover | July 11, 2009 at 2:54 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Casa Beach IS the ONLY harbor seal rookery in Southern California where people can watch the seals WITHOUT disturbing their natural behavior. With the pasaage of time and sand built up, the seals started coming to the beach because the manmade wall made it a safe place for seals to haul out and give birth to their pups. That sums up why in fact it IS a rookery. For those in doubt, just look it up in the dictionary. Prior to that, historical records show that seals have been in the area for centuries. It's not a recent phenomen.

If the seals are forced to leave, they won't find another home because they have a high degree of site fidelity which means they return to the place they were born to give birth. It will be a waste of money if a judge's orders force the City to disperse the seals or dredge the beach. The sand and seals will keep coming back. Some seals may try to haul out on other San Diego beaches which would mean Parks and Rec employees and the SD Police Department will be running from beach to beach trying to keep the seals off other beaches.

Wouldn't you rather see your taxpayer dollars being spent on police protection on public safety? Wouldn't you rather see Parks personnel keeping San Diego parks clean and beautiful after visitors dump their trash and garbage on the grass and sand rather than using trash cans that are provided? If additional personnel need to be hired, this means that other public services will suffer. In additon, do you want to see the City wasting millions of dollars dispersing the seals and dredging the beach? I can think of a hundred other much-needed projects that would provide direct benefits to City residents.

Some claim Sea World dumped the seals at Casa Beach. It is true that Sea World rescues and rehabilitates injured and sick animals, but from 1988-2006 Sea World only released 47 animals within 5 miles of the beach which averages out to ONLY 2.5 ANIMALS PER YEAR! So when anti-seal activists make there claim the beach became a rookery because of Sea World's releases, the argument is false.

Humans "pollute" the ocean thousands times over what this small harbor seal colony does. However, seal fecal matter helps keep the natural ecosystem in balance. It consists of beneficial nutrients for the near-shore ecosystem which dissipate almost immediately as they provide food for invertebrates and scavenger species. These nutrients then pass up the food chain to nurture the spiny lobsters and fish sought by humans. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the harmful contaminants that are dumped into the ocean on a regular basis by man.

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Avatar for user 'WhereAreTheClowns'

WhereAreTheClowns | July 11, 2009 at 3:41 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

People, People! There is no more a meaner spirited person than one who would curse at you, yell, and perpetrate violence upon you as those who advocate for seal dominance. Those folks are not satified with merely getting out their message to all that would hear, they desire to impose it.

Persons with opposing points of view are neither mean spirited or hate harbor seals. Seals are fine and amusing creatures, we bear them goodwill. Seals have inhabited the location forever. In 1931 when the sea wall was constructed there was no Coastal Commission or anything of the like; imagine if someone wanted to build an artiface like that today? Never happen. La Jolla Shores was available to children for "free" swimming at that time too. This seawall was constructed for the purpose of children swimming in the ocean in a safer manner, protected from the heavy surf; and seals were there. They hauled out on the rocks nearby and could be viewed from the bluffs overhead. They hauled out on what little beach there was at the time when humans went home (night). Visitors to our community could view seals before 1931 including all the years to today, and will continue to see seals in the area in the future. Restoring unfettered human access to this beach will not harm the seals in any way; and I emphasize "unfetterred", which is not likely to happen given the militant extremist nature of Marine Mammal advocates.

Local reports of school children preferring CP to be a tax-payer subsidzed marine zoo, would be no different if these same children were taken on a field trip to the San Diego Zoo. One could only presume how the questions were couched to the children to achieve the desired results; and so goes most polls for about anything.

To view the seals for free? Hardly! Once the govt gets hold of something, it will have costs. Nothing about govt is without cost.

For those of you who argue from the position that so much of nature's open space has been diminished, look unto yourself. You are part of that problem, populations have exploded or at the vey least, a shift in global population centers, which SoCal seems to be one; and I'm a 55 yr old San Diego native, I remember, and my parents and grandparents remember.

Consider this everyone, if the trust for this site is broken, as it seems the State Legislature is about to do, how strong will ANY trust, coastal or otherwise, be? If municipalities can assert domain over trusts, and said municipalities view that site as a potential huge tax-revenue with development of large hotels or resorts, or Marine Mammal Parks, then stand by for the development, 'cause its a comin'. Then you can be guaranteed there will be an admission fee to see the seals.

If a benefactor desired to donate their land for some SPECIFIC philanthropic purpose, how motivated would that person or family be to donate if they now see their generosity would be hijacked. They might just convert it to condos, strip malls, or something.

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Avatar for user 'ariel'

ariel | July 11, 2009 at 7:01 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

My vote is YES, let the seals stay!! The local children love seeing the seals and their pups. People and their children from all over the world now enjoy coming to see the seals in La Jolla.

People who swam there as children have said they'd never take their children to swim there because of the changing rip currents! There are many pools now, including large public pools, that were not in existence when the sea wall was built. They are used on a regular basis by many children and are much safer.

Yes, the human population has taken away so much natural habitat. Let the seals have this tiny bit of beach. Humans have miles and miles of beach to swim in, if they choose.

La Jolla resident

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Avatar for user 'DGunn'

DGunn | July 11, 2009 at 7:24 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

It's ironic to site snorkeling as one of the reasons to get rid of the seals. I snorkel and scuba dive myself and even over the last 10 years, the coastline has become so barren due to human overfishing (they've studied it, in case you ask, the seals have nothing to do with it). I've seen photos from the 40's and 50's where the waters off So Cal were simply teeming with fish, lobster, and abalone which covered the ocean floor. Whether you snorkel or spearfish, when you don't take steps to protect marine wildlife and the environment, you're left with a barren ocean and how is it fun to snorkel or spearfish in that?

If you're ever in Northern California, take a trip to Sequoia National Forest. Unlike Sequoia National Park which still has some sequoias, the National Forest was stripped clean of sequoias at the turn of the 1900's. There is a place called Stump Meadow which is a hauntingly sad spot to visit. It's a huge meadow covered by the stumps of these several-thousand year old trees. NO MORE sequoias can grow there because the water table was so affected when they were all cut down. It's just a huge meadow riddled with these enormous stumps. It's quite sobering. Once they're gone, they're gone. Per the arguments above, it's quite silly to say "if a sequoia sprouted in your living room would you cut it down?" or " if someone cut down weeds would you fight for them?" That's not the point at all, is it?

Scientists have already said that IN OUR LIFETIME, 50% of earth's species will become extinct solely due to human activity. Just take a minute to think about that. It's no wonder something so staggering is happening when you see a controversy over destroying the last seal rookery in Southern California when we have dominated every remaining inch of the coastline. Where else are these animals supposed to go except the way of the Passenger Pigeon?

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Avatar for user 'hammies4seals'

hammies4seals | July 11, 2009 at 7:25 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

okay first you say that the seals stole the beach right? Well if we go back in history seventy five years the seals were at Children's Pool before humans. The only reason why the chidrens pool was built in the first place was becase the seals were hunted by the local fisherman due to scarcity of fish which they blamed the seals for it. However the seals weren't at fault, the fisherman were due to over fishing. Second, someone mentioned lack of tourists because of the seals stench. I beg to defer, we get people from all over the world to come see the seals. It is actually a tourist attraction in San Diego. Third, comparing a mammal to an insect is not the best argument or comparison. Isn't San Diego the Finest city in America? and since when did we start claiming beaches? Isn't the beach part of nature and we human exploid it to our advantage. Yet, we don't seem to be able to let nature take it's course when it's right on our back yard.

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Avatar for user 'JessCG'

JessCG | July 12, 2009 at 1:03 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

WhereAreTheClowns, I simply do not understand your arguments. I hope others can see past your misrepresentation. I think many people may not understand what exactly this bill and the surrounding controversy are about, so I would like to clarify.

The bill that passed is not to "break" the trust for the site. It is to *add* seal watching as a recreational activity for children, so that the city can AVOID having to spend millions of taxpayer dollars dredging the beach and keeping the seals away. It puts the control back in the hands of the LOCAL government to decide whether to allow mixed use or to establish a protected sanctuary.

Just to clarify, again: this bill absolutely does NOT require any money to be spent establishing a sanctuary and it does NOT establish any stronger government involvement. Rather, it allows the local, smaller government bodies to choose NOT to spend millions of dollars evacuating the seals as they are now being ordered to do by the state judge Yuri Hoffman as a result of a lawsuit brought by one woman who lives in New Zealand and is basing her suit on the original language of the grant, which is being very narrowly interpreted by Judge Hoffman. The city has already had to spend millions in litigation on this issue, in part because it is torn between conflicting state and federal court orders -- a conflict that will NOT go away if the bill doesn't pass. This bill would allow that waste of taxpayer dollars to end and would prevent further waste going toward dredging the beach and having some mechanism to scare the seals away 24 hours a day.

This is a common sense, money saving bill designed to put control in the hands of the local community. It's absolutely ideal and should please fiscal conservatives, environmentalists, and families alike.

Regarding Ellen Browning Scripps, the original donor -- she put the rest of her fortune into marine mammal research, and I can only imagine she would be delighted for children to be able view seals in the wild, for free -- especially now that public swimming pools exist so children have other ways to learn to swim in calm water.

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Avatar for user 'jimvsmij'

jimvsmij | July 12, 2009 at 1:50 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

It’s funny that someone would mention sequoia trees and another would mention that 50% of species will become extinct in our lifetime due to human activity. I’m sure that you are all aware that the majority of those species that will become extinct are plants and insects and not mammals. That in itself brings to light the importance of insect being compared to mammal. It shows that humans as a species takes preference on anything mammal over insect, plant, reptile, etc. If an insect infests a manmade structure like a home, school, store or whatever we get rid of them. If it is mammal we consider them jewels of nature to be viewed with our children. Be consistent people. If you are for nature among us then you have to be for all nature and not just pick and choose the cute ones and reject the ugly. Maybe the vast majority of species on that extinction list, which are made up of non-cute creatures, would not be going extinct if we even gave them the smallest percentage of the protection that we give “cute” animals that are not even remotely in danger of becoming extinct. You cannot get rid of one type of creature from a man made structure and keep another just because it is cute, you have to be consistent. Either accept all comers in the animal kingdom into everything that we build or keep all of them all from moving in.
Like I said before it is only a matter of time before the seals are removed after X amount of tourist get attacked by sharks so all this debating is for naught but please, no more hypocritical talk about living with nature and sharing the place we live with nature when to you nature only means mammals that you think are cute and not the rest nature. Accept the roaches in your home and the seals at the man made children’s pool or keep the roaches out and kick out the seal infestation.

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uriel81 | July 12, 2009 at 2:47 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

I feel like anyone who has been to the "Childrens' Pool" on a day when the seal are sunning themselves on the sand and seen the enchanted tourists enjoying it on the jetty above falls in love with the place just as it is. It's like a Wild Animal park for the ocean. Children have beaches all up and down the SD coast for miles and miles while the seals just have "One Beach". Let's keep it for them, please, and continue to enjoy it greatly!

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adventurelover | July 12, 2009 at 7:14 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Man has taken advantage of and destroyed wildlife habitats for years, but now even third-world countries have been wise enough to take measures to protect these habitats and the wildlife living there. If one takes the time to watch the BBC movie Planet Earth, you will get an idea of the huge number of animals and birds that are threatened with extinction.

Although the seal population in California is healthy and the seals are not classified as "threatened", the population is NOT exploding as some claim as confirmed by National Marine Fisheries experts. ALL marine mammals are protected from harassment under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The City and Mayor, as well as the State Senate and Assembly, have been wise in seeking to end the controversy over the seals. Adding another use to the original 1931 Tidelands trust by adding "marine mammal park for the enjoyment and educational benefit of children" to the list of allowable uses for the Casa Beach has been a huge accomplishment for which they should be commended. It is NOT breaking the trust, but simply AMENDING it as the situation has changed since 1931. Ellen Browning Scripps, as an environmentalist, would certainly support the change if she were alive.

The majority of San Diegans support protecting the seals and certainly will support the City if it decides to explore the concept of a marine mammal park at Casa Beach. It is a shame that others continue to pursue their own personal vendetta against the seals by being selfish and hoping to deny future generations of the wonderment of seeing wildlife in its natural environment.

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deb | July 12, 2009 at 10:18 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

i am confused about the guy who keeps comparing habor seals to bugs in your house. most of us only have one house with one kitchen and ants attacking that small area is not ok. i do reroute the ants naturally by the way, i dont torture with cattle prods or air horns, but somehow the subject of selfish seals who deserve to be hurt, so humans can have all the beaches, not most of, but every beach is justified... what the hell is that? i feel really strongly hurting nature is always somthing we should try to avoid, i was wondering in oceanside there are docks out in the bay that the seals live on, maybe we could compromise, and both have the beach in a way.

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DGunn | July 12, 2009 at 3:33 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

jimvsmij, no one here has said anything about one species being more important than another. You keep coming back to a logic of "if you're not going to let roaches live in your house, then you shouldn't protect the seals." I find this confusing.

No one said that plants and insects aren't important - of course they are - Whether it's an ant, a sequoia, a shark, or a seal - they are all important. A healthy eco-system and healthy planet are comprised of ALL elements of these species. It's not one versus another - I don't see anyone bringing up that argument except you.

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Autumn | July 14, 2009 at 10:54 a.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

Look, we should not remove any living creature, insect, plant, reptile, bird, mammal, algae, or even bacteria from where it wants to be. Who are we to interfere with what nature wants. In fact humans are the evil on this planet that need to be stopped and removed. We destroy everything that we come into contact with. I say bring on the sharks that will follow the seals. We deserve all that will come of it. Let the fruit flies and bacteria prosper where they want. It is not our place to play God and say what can and cannot thrive in whatever area’s that they choose. Think of all the species that have been killed due to us being on the planet. Just thinking about chickens only that have been killed during their holocaust that spans human history makes me ashamed to be a human and makes me cry. We need to stop putting humans first because we are only one species (worst species) out of the other million species that deserve more than what humans with our destructive actions deserve. We go after a mountain lion that hunts joggers in parks when the cat was only doing what is was made to do. We go after the great white shark that eats a few swimmers because it was doing what it does. We kill nests of wasps when they are near schools because, god help us if they try and defend their home and sting one of the children. We inject ourselves with penicillin to kill bacteria whose only crime is that they want to reproduce and live! All these things are wrong and are the things that define the human species as enemies of nature.
As a species we need to all become Vegan, live like we are not at the top of the food chain, stop having babies so we can give Earth back to nature! Let’s start with the seals!

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