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Wednesday morning, December 30, volunteers from Seal Watch (an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting harbor seals) manned their posts in the cul-de-sac above the La Jolla Children’s Pool.

“The most current news is unfortunate,” said Tony, a Seal Watch volunteer. “We’ve lost five pups due to premature births just this month.” Tony stated that a rope barrier was erected on December 16 on an emergency basis as a way of protecting both seals and their observers. Propped up on the seawall beside Tony was a sign that read: “Please Don’t Go On The Beach When Seals Pass Rope.”

“The rope barrier works well...most are respectful...except for a few anti-seal people who always go past it,” said Akin Cakar, another Seal Watch volunteer. “There’s one local guy who sets up his umbrella, plays his ukulele, swims, and posts a sign that reads: ‘Beaches Open.’ The seals flee from the beach when he does this.... Sometimes this results in the moms abandoning their pups...often those pups die. It’s like he wants his own reality show or something.”

Disturbing to the volunteers is the fact that the signs posted by the City are confusing to spectators, especially out-of-towners less familiar with the issue. “Look”, said Tony, pointing to, then reading one of the City’s signs” “’Public Access on the Beach is Allowed at All Times’... “Well, is it or isn’t it? The City erected the rope...it’s just confusing to people...that’s all I’m sayin.”

A long-awaited victory for the seals occurs tomorrow, January 1, 2010: a state law goes into effect that allows the City to manage the beach as a marine mammal park.

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Comments

bluenwhitegokart Jan. 1, 2010 @ 2:41 a.m.

Disturbing to some readers, long-time surfers, and others, is the fact that we have to go to work every day, whereas these know-nothing, bleeding heart libs seem to have all the time in the world on their hands. Clearly, they don't spend any time at any of the harbors where the seals are more than a mere nuisance. At any given time, there are hundreds, if not thousands of them, pooping, barking, creating havoc with the environment, interfering with commerce and the movement of watercraft. 5 pups, in the greater scheme of things, is not even a drop in the bucket.

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Pigfiddle Jan. 1, 2010 @ 6:25 a.m.

Actually,the animals you speak of that bark and you say are a nuisance are sea lions. Sea lions have large front flippers and are much more animated than seals. La Jolla's seals are The only seals I know of that we can observe so closely in their natural habitat. That is why there is such a movement to protect them.

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carolyngrace1111 Jan. 1, 2010 @ 9:22 a.m.

Dear Bluenwhitegokart,

Could it be that these marine mammals feel the same way about us?

Why is it that we humans feel we have more rights than the other creatures with whom we co-exist?

Peace & Love, Carolyn

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PistolPete Jan. 1, 2010 @ 11:15 a.m.

One question:Regardless of what animal is living there now, was the Children's Pool opened for children or not? I'm with bluenwhitegokart on this one. The seals don't belong there. PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe someday, someone crazy enough will come along and murder all seals. I hear they're tasty this time of year. :-D

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carolyngrace1111 Jan. 1, 2010 @ 11:34 a.m.

Dear Pistol Pete,

You say the "seals don't belong there"....on their beach...in their ocean. Interesting concept. A bit self-absorbed, perhaps. How is it that we, the allegedly "intelligent ones" justify our continued encroachment upon, and monopolization of, their world?

Peace & Love, Carolyn

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PistolPete Jan. 1, 2010 @ 5:06 p.m.

The seals have the entire ocean. From what I understand and somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but the Children's Pool was donated to Sandy Eggo as a place where the kids could swim. The seals have encroached that place. It's time to take it back.

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carolyngrace1111 Jan. 1, 2010 @ 6:01 p.m.

Pete Sir,

Unfortunatley, the area is highly contaminated from run off and is less than ideal for swimming...especially for children.

The fact that a human with a lot of money decided to build a wall and designate it as a "Children's area" does not negate the fact that the area is the natural habitat for the harbor seals.

And as far as "taking back" what was never yours to take in the first place...too late for that...it will now be handled like a marine mammal park...and it's about time! Happy New Year to the Seals!

Take your kids to La Jolla Shores...it's much better for children...and there's even a park with swings and things!

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thestoryteller Jan. 1, 2010 @ 6:59 p.m.

I'm with Carolyn. In fact, I've wanted to help "Seal Watch" for a long time. Pistol Pete and bluenwhite: You're all heart. It's not your world, you know. As Diane Fossey, I believe, put it: "Animals were not put here for our purposes."

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PistolPete Jan. 1, 2010 @ 10:54 p.m.

True. Animals were not put here for our purposes but the fact remains that that is a children's pool. Like I said, the seals have the whole ocean. Kids do not.

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carolyngrace1111 Jan. 2, 2010 @ 10:36 a.m.

Pete,

Respectfully, the kids have the ENTIRE COAST...better beaches...less contaminated from runoff...from which to choose. This small cul-de-sac of beach, was once designated as a 'children's pool' by a human. It was robbed from the harbor seals and now, rightfully,thanks to a rather small group of compassionate souls, the seals have won a legal battle to have it returned to them. 'Fact', Pete, is that it is now a "Marine Mammal Park"....not a children's pool. And,it make perfect sense,really. Sad you don't 'get' it.

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PistolPete Jan. 2, 2010 @ 4:16 p.m.

Oh, I get it. Hopefully someday a human will come along and exterminate the seals returning it to the children. Bleeding heart,politically correct Democrats took it from the children and it needs to be returned. California truly is, the land of fruits and nuts...

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carolyngrace1111 Jan. 2, 2010 @ 5:16 p.m.

Pete!

I didn't know you were a Californian! ;)

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PistolPete Jan. 2, 2010 @ 6:54 p.m.

Lulz! I'll NEVER consider myself a Californian. I wear the transplant tag with pride. Don't get me wrong, I'm a hunter. I'm VERY compassionate when it comes to wildlife. There's a ying and a yang though. Respecting and being concerned and compassionate about animals, there has to be two sides. I'm not anti-seal. I'm pro-human. Like I've said, if some nutjob with a rifle shot the seals and kept shooting them, I wouldn't be happy but I wouldn't be sad either. I'd hope someone would be able to save the meat and hides though. I wouldn't want them to die totally in vain. I just think that this wouldn't be an issue in other parts of the country. Maybe Oregon though. They're pretty weird up there as well.

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carolyngrace1111 Jan. 3, 2010 @ 10:03 a.m.

Pete...

Are you sure your name isn't Hitler?

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Duhbya Jan. 3, 2010 @ 12:21 p.m.

The arrival of Godwin's Law is a bit late this year. Progress?

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Fred Williams Jan. 3, 2010 @ 12:30 p.m.

Duhbya, I sat at the desk next to Mr. Godwin himself summer of 2008 while helping out at the WikiMedia H.Q.

Do you think Carolyn knows that she automatically lost any credibility and the debate by invoking Hitler? Maybe we should educate her:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

Best,

fred

(BTW: Pete I'm sure is NOT a nazi...on the contrary, he'd have been one of the partisans hiding in the forest, aiding downed allied aviators, and attacking german convoys.)

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carolyngrace1111 Jan. 3, 2010 @ 1:30 p.m.

Dear Fred,

I assume you didn't get an "A" in logic 101, but it was an interesting post (thanks for the education :)... as for "winning" and "losing"...that matters only to the seals...and they have won!

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Fred Williams Jan. 3, 2010 @ 7:21 p.m.

Actually, Carolyn, I did get an A in that course. I took it while on active duty back in '86 and have been a fan of Venn diagrams ever since. For the past two decades I've worked in technology, where the logic is either correct or you're out of a job.

Do you have any other comments I can contradict?

Best,

fred

(BTW: I happen to agree with you. Kids can swim at any other beach. I'd rather see the seals. But when you go around calling people nazis simply because they disagree with you, you're always going to lose your arguments...hence, "Godwins Law".)

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carolyngrace1111 Jan. 3, 2010 @ 9:26 p.m.

Fred,

For me, this isn't about you or I, winning or losing. But, I can see that for you it is. You make inaccurate assumptions. Not to mention your unattractive boasting.

Perhaps you should ask me why I have made such a comment, and what it means to me before "contradicting" it. Your contradiction would be more credible this way.

I jokingly asked Pete if his name was Hitler, not because he disagrees with me but because he threatens to persecute a specific population self servingly.

I'll be awaiting your next boast, Fred...

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PistolPete Jan. 4, 2010 @ 12:06 a.m.

A)-I kind of figured Carolyn was joking.

B)-I am NOT a Nazi although, being an Independent, I do sympathize with some of their more thought provoking ideals. That's not to say I agree with those ideals, I just simply sympathize with their thoughts and discussions.

C)-I didn't not know about Godwin's Law although I have heard it mentioned here and there. Thanks for the education and humor. :-D

D)-It's too bad this wasn't put to a local county wide vote. As much as I hate to admit it, I understand the need for the California-style referendum voting process. If there was a county wide vote and the seal lovers won, I'd be more than happy to accept my defeat in the matter and graciously respect the seals in their habitat.

E)-With all this said, I've never been to the Children's Pool to view children nor seals. I'm simply stating my opinion and I mean no ill will towards the seals nor my opponents regarding this beach. I apologize for stating that I wish someone to murder the seals. One of my new year's restitutiions is to be kinder and gentler to those humans I disagree with.

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zodzelig Jan. 4, 2010 @ 1:18 a.m.

Gawd, who should I hate more, Pistol Pete with his repeated wish of violence against The Dear Seals, his moronic politics, his inexplicable pride over his hated outlander status in California? Or Carolyn Grace with her smarmy New Age persona who, if you push her enough, will equate 6 million murder victims with a buncha noisy, smelly seals to make her point? F***it, I hate them both (not personally, of course, since I don't know them, just the fronts they present with the words they write) but I gotta go with Pete on this issue. That wall at the Childrens' Pool wasn't built by the seals. I don't recall any outcry against runoff at the Childrens' Pool during the many many years of its intended use. Finally, during all those years of human use, it never served as an open septic tank, which is what it has become: The Childrens' Cesspool. Thanks, seals!!!

BOLD PREDICTION OF THE FUTURE: Forced by the Federal EPA to take action against the environmental degradation caused by the fecal-contaminated waters of the Childrens’ Pool, the City of San Diego will hire the Army Corps of Engineers to determine appropriate action. The Corps will conclude that removal of the pool’s seawall will allow the contaminated effluent to flow away with the tide. But such removal will make the beach less attractive as a seal habitat, and the same merry band of seal-lovers will re-converge to fight removal of the seawall, even at the cost of pollution of La Jolla Cove. Within a decade, the entire Cove area is populated year-round by seals, water at the Cove is contaminated to within 25 feet of shore, and bacteria counts at nearby La Jolla Shores are monitored on the half-minute. A giant seawall is eventually built to protect the Shores from the encroaching poop, but this in turn creates a giant habitat for more seals. Ad infinitum ad nauseum. Yay seals!!!

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lajollarec Jan. 4, 2010 @ 9:28 a.m.

The pupping season rope is a guideline rope only, the beach is not closed being open to the public year round. The Children's Pool is a public beach and, what the public does on this beach, is not under any legal scrutiny from any private group. The group Seal Watch has one purpose and that is to collect as much money from the public as possible using the seals at the Children's Pool. Seal Watch is environmental fraud as their seal protection program is a fraud with one purpose which is to ask the public for financial contributions. NOAA is responsible for protecting the seals at the Children's Pool, not Seal Watch which continues to make money exploiting the seals at the Children's Pool. Anyone who really supports the seals taking over this area would want the seawall removed so the coastline can be returned to its natural state before the seawall was built. Before the seawall was built, only the seals used the area as the beach did not exist being created by the seawall. Seal Watch wants the seawall to remain so they can use the beach as a seal show to entertain the public and ask them for money. Seal Watch does not care about the seals in any way except financial gain. On another note, ecotours in La Jolla plan to use the seal pupping season for their own financial gain. The SWIM WITH THE NEW SEAL PUP swim tours will originate at Shell Beach and these groups will swim out into the ocean area just outside the Children's Pool so swimmers can interact in the water with the new seal pups and the mother seals. This begins some time in January. There is also a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) monitoring program planned for the seal colony in the ocean just outside the Children's Pool. This program begins in January and will continue year round. A diver recently reported seeing a large great white shark near the kelp forest just west of the Children's Pool. The ROV program will monitor seals and look for great white sharks in the ocean area adjacent to the Children's Pool.

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lajollarec Jan. 5, 2010 @ 2:39 p.m.

From comments made in the article, it appears that the Seal Watch volunteer interviewed has no idea what he is talking about. He blames the man on the beach with the umbrella for causing the mother seals to abandon their pups. Yet according to other people that I know that watch the seals all the time, no normal (non-premature) seal pups have been born yet this year. Only premature births have taken place and these are normal with a number being expected every year. Therefore, how could the man on the beach be responsible for maternal harbor seals abandoning normally (non-premature) pups when absolutely no normal pup births have taken place this year. The following is from a marine mammal researcher who got his Ph.D. in marine biology with a specialty in the study of marine mammals from the University of California.

"Premature births in Pacific harbor seal colonies are normal every pupping season and up to 50% of the total maternal seal pregnancies may end up as premature births. Reasons for premature birth in Pacific harbor seals may happen for a variety of reasons. It is absurd to indicate that the person which uses the beach this time of year is responsible for premature births or maternal seals abadoning their pups. It would be impossible to prove this."

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qpodad Jan. 5, 2010 @ 4:10 p.m.

I have no dog (or seal) in this fight, but let us all be clear: the sandy area where the seal rookery is is NOT a natural environment. All of the areas in La Jolla with limestone shore and rough surf are natural to the area. The spot immediately to the south of the wall is referred to as "the washing machine" by divers, and during calm days, divers with metal detectors can find lots of gear lost by divers who get caught in the washing machine. The children's pool is attractive to seals for the same reasons it was attractive to parents: it is the calmest entry point with sand for miles on either side because of the sea wall. The wall was built because, as many locals know, there is no protected (i.e. waveless) body of water that La Jolla children could use before the wall was built in 1931. The wall was actually built right on top of several rocks that used to be called "Seal Rock Point", and the wall blocks the bulk of the wave energy that used to pound this area. The cove used contain more water surface area and much less sand, but since winter storms no longer send waves over the old "Seal Rock Point", sand had filled in much of the cove. Seals are quite smart and great hunters; they have and will continue to thrive in local waters, even if they can't use Casa Cove as a rookery. I am thinking that some of the pro-seal crowd must not realize these are impressively well-adapted marine mammals, not pets, who managed to go 70+ years without using Casa cove as a rookery, and would be fine if Casa Cove was returned to the intended use as a beach for children, as it was for the first 70 years after the wall was built. That said, some anti-seal people seem like giant d-bags who are in this debate primarily to ridicule their opponents, and could care less about the historic use of the beach by the children of La Jolla.

Maybe the debate will only end when the sea wall crumbles. Only then will no mammal, biped or pinniped, want to use that area because the sand will shrink and the waves will be too much for most people to handle. The city would be too broke to fix it and could never get a permit from the Coastal Commission in any case.

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Duhbya Jan. 5, 2010 @ 5:03 p.m.

RE #20: Pete, your (Freudian) slip is showing? "One of my new year's restitutiions...." LOL!!! Happy New Year, Pedro!

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PistolPete Jan. 5, 2010 @ 8:15 p.m.

LOL Duhbya. That was on porpoise. ;-D I don't believe in resolutions but do believe in restitutions.

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Fred Williams Jan. 5, 2010 @ 10:55 p.m.

Thanks "qpodad" and "lajollarec" for your well written, well informed, fact based, and thoughtful analyses.

Keep it up!

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Duhbya Jan. 6, 2010 @ 5 a.m.

RE #26: On porpoise, huh? Well, I guess that "seals" the deal. (=^_^=)

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Marcieanna302 Jan. 10, 2010 @ 4:16 p.m.

I happen to love the writing style of ms. Matteo. I am not from California however I came accross this site and found Ms. Matteos articles very interesting. I am from the East Coast and quite frankly, I would love to see these beautiful creatures in my backyard! So sad how some people think so narrow mindedly about the right to existance when it comes to animals! What if the tables were turned!

Pam A.

And Pistol Pete (obvious your weak or you would state your name!)

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PistolPete Jan. 10, 2010 @ 5:41 p.m.

Lulz. My full legal name is Peter Donald Nadreau. How's that for weak?

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PistolPete Jan. 10, 2010 @ 8:29 p.m.

Anyone see the irony in Pam's post? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

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magicsfive Jan. 10, 2010 @ 9:04 p.m.

(dedicates partridge family song to pete yet again ) xxx

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PistolPete Jan. 10, 2010 @ 9:50 p.m.

:-D Thanks Magics. Happy early birthday! My present for you can be found on the City Beat article referencing Josh by Dave Maass. Enjoy! :-D

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Marcieanna302 Jan. 11, 2010 @ 4:18 p.m.

Peter Donald Nadreau,

I think you should have made a New Years Resolution to focus on not being a miserable human being. What are you so angry about anyway...oh thats right..your Peter Donald Nadreau! Good enough reason! Get a life and stop living on the Reader comment page loser!

Bueller!

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PistolPete Jan. 11, 2010 @ 4:30 p.m.

/facepalm

Did your mother have any kids that lived?...

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Marcieanna302 Jan. 11, 2010 @ 4:50 p.m.

Peter Donald Nadreau, By the way, I really loved your letter to the editor in the North County times from - 1/27/2006 Sad...its obvious why you are so miserable!

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PistolPete Jan. 11, 2010 @ 8:01 p.m.

Since you seem to know so much about me, what did I have for dinner tonight? :-D

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Marcieanna302 Jan. 11, 2010 @ 8:40 p.m.

I bet you had alphabet soup.....so you could practice writing miserable and mean sentences!!!:C

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PistolPete Jan. 11, 2010 @ 9:04 p.m.

Actually, the only things I've had to eat today were:

A cornbread muffin with butter and two cups of coffee for breakfast about 8:00 this morning and an Angus 1/3 LBer with bacon & cheese, a Big Mac, 1/2 an order of large fries, an apple pie and a Pepsi Throwback for dinner.

And an FYI... I HATE SOUP! Soup is wet food. Gross. Soup is food's last chance to get eaten! Even grosser.

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