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For those seal lovers who thought the end of the debate over a rope barrier to protect seals during pupping season at Children's Pool in La Jolla was over, think again.

On October 14, Friends of Children's Pool, the group of divers and others who want to see humans and seals have equal access to the beach, filed yet another lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court challenging the California Coastal Commission's August 14 vote to cordon off the beach from December to May each year in hopes of protecting baby seals during pupping season.

The lawsuit is yet another development in what has been a nearly two-decade fight between those who want to close off the beach to protect the seals and those who say that the beach is theirs just as much as it is for the seals.

The feud began in the 1990s, when the beach was closed due to contamination from seals populating the beach. In 1999, councilmembers in San Diego voted to install a rope barrier to keep people out. Five years later, the beach at Children's Pool was designated a joint-use beach, guaranteeing equal access to both pinnipeds and people. In 2010, the city took a tougher tack and passed a resolution that prohibited access during the pupping season.

But the Friends of Children's Pool hope to change that. In their lawsuit, the attorney for the group, Bernard King, says the closing of the beach for the winter violates the state constitution.

"The California Constitution ensures that “access to the navigable waters of this State shall be always attainable for the people thereof.” (Cal. Const., art. X, § 4.) The Coastal Act states that in carrying out this constitutional requirement, 'maximum access...and recreational opportunities shall be provided for all the people consistent with public safety needs and the need to protect public rights, rights of private property owners, and natural resource areas from overuse,'" reads the lawsuit.

The argument has not changed. The group says that the beach was a gift to the people of San Diego and the use of the beach for the past 80 years establishes the public's right to the beach.

"By approving the ordinance, the LCP amendment, and the the coastal development permit, the City and the Commission breached these duties because the proposed closure is development which will directly interfere with access to the Children's Pool the public acquired through both use and legislative authorization."

The group is requesting that a judge order the rope barrier to be removed and access be granted to the public. Attorney King did not respond to a request for comment.

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Comments

monaghan Oct. 16, 2014 @ 12:22 p.m.

The hazmat-clad diver-lobby seems not to care about area water pollution as it persists in litigating the seal pupping-season closure of Casa Cove Beach. And it's not just seal crap in the water and on the sand -- there was a human sewage spill earlier this week that got a large stretch of coastline there officially shut down for three days.

At this point you couldn't pay me to go swimming anywhere from Casa Cove north to the La Jolla Cove because of effects from marine mammal colonization. The air stinks and the water is a fecal soup.

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Restore Children's Pool C. Jacobs Oct. 18, 2014 @ 9:52 p.m.

In 2004 Valorie OSullivan sued the City of S.D. for allowing harbor seals to haul out and pollute the pool making it unsafe as a bathing pool as per the Trust of Ellen Scripps. The City of San Diego lost as it was determined that the sand was thick with seal feces. The Centers for Disease Control reported same and ordered the sand to be removed, stacked in the sun to sanitize and be hauled to La Jolla Shores that needs extra sand. Then a for hire environmental opportunist attorney with a daddy with connections in SAC. actually changed the dead womans' will/trust. That was ten years ago, can you imagine the concentrations of feces now? Especially where they want the humans to stand and play behind rope which is also dangerous on a children's Playground. Legally that is what it is, a bathing pool and playground. Sea World illegally dropped off seals for eleven years with out ever doing an EIR to ascertain IF the undersea ecology could support so many new marine mammals never there previously in such numbers. And now we have some serious dead zones from the devastation caused by the hungry seals and their waste. Dead and polluted Tide Pools. Fish stocks very seriously depleted, including Garibaldi, Opal Eye Perch. CA Black Mussels are GONE from the Children's Pool, South Casa, and Shell Beach Seal Rock areas. They are an indicator species and so gone too are the Tide Pool Creatures. The area has become very unbalanced due to the Seal Population Explosion since Seal World Released them beginning in 1992. I have all the release records. To remove the filthy sand, reopen the four grilled sluiceways, would be to make a clean pool and clean water for all creatures, seals, people and Tide Pool Creatures. Sea Stars could be planted, and the historic access ramp restored, so a disabled person can experience seeing a sea star in the real Pacific Ocean in safety like at no other place on the West Coast. This is logic and true environmentalism, as balance and a clean environment is key for the ocean's health. Ironically to Restore the Children's Pool will be to Restore the Environment. This is a Win Win, right now we have a loose-loose. No logic. The recent sewage spill on top of the seal's devastation to the undersea ecosystem will do it in. If it had been a healthy environment to begin with it may have survived. I know this as I have been IN the water with the seals for four years, and SEE the truth. They are in serious trouble as is their home; for the sake of making money off the View of Seals, with no care for them except to count their pups who lay ill in their own feces. More pups more money as they get hungrier and hungrier and disabled people are blocked. Some very serious selfishness from people calling themselves friends of the seals just using them for profit. Huge profits. Follow the Money. For more information please go to : restorechildrenspool.org

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shirleyberan Oct. 16, 2014 @ 12:51 p.m.

Not to mention the undertow in the cove and large sharks nearer to shore with seals or sea lions for bait. Nature wins.

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Restore Children's Pool C. Jacobs Oct. 18, 2014 @ 10:01 p.m.

The one in five disabled Americans lose. The Children's Pool ramp served wheelchairs for over half a century. It is the Grandfather of all disability ramps on the West Coast. The Pool is the only Ocean Pool on the Continental United States of American. There is one other operating properly in Hawaii. Sydney Australia could easily be a sister city to San Diego. Only they have about 45 such pools, all water tested and clean with ramps, and swing lifts. They too love their sea creatures but do not allow them in their ocean pools much like the ONE we have. Some of their ocean pools are over 100 years old and they bring home the most swimming gold medals. They value being IN the ocean and San Diego is only making money from the view of marine mammals even as they dies from disease and starvation. Terrible to use the seals for profit and block the disabled.

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Psycholizard Oct. 16, 2014 @ 12:54 p.m.

No one used this beach, that's why the seals moved in. After they did the tourists followed, along with local nature enthusiasts. Don't be fooled, it's about grumpy old people hating people, not seals. Follow the money.

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jelula Oct. 17, 2014 @ 9:12 a.m.

The BEACH was never gifted to the public. The public has owned the beach all along as public tideland. It was the seawall at Casa Cove/LJ Children's Pool that was a gift from Ellen Browning Scripps.

1

Restore Children's Pool C. Jacobs Oct. 18, 2014 @ 10:07 p.m.

No, you are incorrect. There never was a BEACH, it was a natural reef pool prior to the creation of the seawall. And all the pool from the high tide mark is in the Trust as a human bathing pool. This is still in effect no matter the closures. The sand excavation order still stands as well. No sand was there. It only backed up when the four grilled sluiceways were concreted in prior to the Grand Opening of the Children's Pool in 1931. Judge Pate in 2004 ordered this sand to be removed as it is very polluted with potential fatal bacteria. It is the sand that is so polluted as opposed to the water. It is meant to be a pool. Remove the sea wall and the sand will disappear in a day.

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Restore Children's Pool C. Jacobs Oct. 18, 2014 @ 10:15 p.m.

Wrong, please read the Trust above. There is not to be a beach at all. There never was a beach until the four grilled sluiceways were concreted in. The Trust includes the breakwater Wall, and the actual sand bottom bathing pool from the natural high tide mark. Judge Pate and the Centers for Disease Control ordered the sand to be removed as it is very polluted, very serious now. There WAS NO beach, no sand in 1931. Prior to the construction of the sea wall there was no beach it was a natural reef pool. It is legally a sand bottom swimming pool and should be restored to serve the one in five disabled for whom it was built and for whom there is a great need. Just look across the street, a retirement community. Restore the ramp to go along with that Disabled shower going in, Why would a paraplegic need a shower if he can not access the water as historically there and as is on the map as the only dedicated legal easement ramp to the high water mark.

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laplayaheritage Oct. 17, 2014 @ 12:05 p.m.

This is actually good news that a lawsuit was filed so that everyone will know that the California Coastal Commission, on a limited basis, can ban access and fishing on our public beaches, due to specific circumstances. Especially with several alternative access and fishing areas adjacent and nearby.

http://www.coastal.ca.gov/access/accesspl.pdf

We stil have "maximum access," just not unlimited access under all circumstances.

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