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Paul Krueger 8:30 a.m., April 21
The issue of access at La Jolla Children's Pool will be floating into Federal Court. This case, however, is not just access to the water but gaining access to the beach itself for those with disabilities.
On June 25, Jack Robertson filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act for not providing a safe path of travel for those with disabilities.
Robertson, says the lawsuit, is a T-8 paraplegic and an avid swimmer. He is also the president of Action Home Access, a company specializing in retrofitting homes for the disabled. Robertson is also the founder of the advocacy group, Success with One's Abilities Routinely (SOAR) Foundation.
According to Robertson's bio posted to the Action Home Access website, he "has been an educator since 1973. As a paraplegic, he enjoys sharing his personal and professional perspective with clients of‚ Action Home Access...[Robertson] enjoys open water sports, has swam 28.5 miles around Manhattan Island, 17 kilometers across the Strait of Gibraltar and completed dozens of other swims."
It's his affinity for swimming sparked his recent lawsuit against the City of San Diego.
"One of the landmarks in La Jolla is the Children’s Pool. Given to the City by private donor Ellen Browning Scripps, it is located on the beautiful La Jolla peninsula. It has a 300-foot concrete break water wall providing a calm swimming area. Persons with disabilities find it a great place to start their ocean swim because they can avoid the large waves they would have to contend with when entering the ocean at other beaches. Additionally, Children’s Pool Beach is home to a harbor seal population and one of the best places that persons can watch and enjoy the seals."
If only he and others who require the use of wheelchairs can have better access to the beach, at least better than the concrete flight of stairs leading down to the sand.
"Each time that the plaintiff has swum at the Children’s Pool, he has been bodily carried down the stairs by others. This is scary, frustrating, discomforting, embarrassing and difficult. Additionally, the plaintiff is unable to independently gain access to the beach. The lack of access and the inaccessible paths of travel have precluded the plaintiff from enjoying the Children’s Pool beach on a full and equal basis."
The City's plans to build a three-story lifeguard tower will only make it worse, claims Robertson's complaint.
"The defendants have not provided full and equal access to the public paths of travel and Children’s Pool beach and have not complied with access standards under Title II of the ADA and, in fact, have violated the plaintiff’s rights under the ADA to programmatic access."
Robertson is not seeking injunctive relief but does want the City adequate parking and paths according to ADA requirements at Children's Pool, as well as reimbursement for legal fees.
I am awaiting a response from attorney Bryan Pease in regards to the complaint and what impacts, if any, this might have on the seals.