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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.

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Merlady June 26, 2013 @ 4:23 p.m.

Thank the Good Lord that access may be given back to the Disabled and to the Children just as Miss Ellen Scripps wanted. She said she was building the concrete human ocean swimming pool for "Children and for Those Handicapped in Life's Game", A beautifully designed ocean swimming pool w/4 sluiceways in to keep it clean, I hope they will reopen those too. Took 10 years to build and much care and precision was involved & has withstood the last 80 years. City of S.D. promised in writing to maintain this treasure as a Children's Bathing Pool and Playground.& never did, 80 years later it is crumbling. There is no other ocean pool like it in the Cont.US,.When legs do not work it is difficult to impossible to go through surf to open water on any other ocean beach in S.D. for ex. La Jolla Shores. C.P was designed to be calm. In 2005 :of the Superior Court, ordered S.D. to clean this pool, remove the filthy polluted bacteria ridden smelly sand and open the sluiceways. Very do-able.Studies completed: Safe for the seals. The ramp open for 65+YRS. One of the first , RAMPS to the ocean ever. This RAMP at the Children's Pool is the Grandfather of all Beach disability ramps prior to creation of ADA slopes. Be a destination point for disabled swimmers & wounded warriors coming home with out body parts, they too deserve to enjoy the real ocean again. The seals would still be there folks, the wall should be restored. People could stroll the wall, and look to the left and see seals on the reef and at the natural adjoining S. Casa Beach, and look to the right and see the wonderment of crippled children snorkeling in the restored pool, looking at a Garibaldi (being devoured by the over population of seals) and a sea-star ( almost none left in this area;seals ate most of the mussel population. This would create balance and give to our disabled & senior citizens & kids the chance to swim in safety & still enjoy the cute seals, in their own natural environment on beaches where the surf washes them clean, and on Seal Rock where the rip tide is not safe for humans and so is safe for seals. I spoke with a man who witnessed a drowning the last time the Children's Pool closed for Seal Politics, the tired swimmer tried to exit the ocean at Shell Beach and got caught in the rip:lifeguard was unable to safe him. He explained the man died as a result of the closure of the only safe harbor on the La Jolla Coastline. Children's Pool . This is a place for human swimmers, and a few seals too! They are cute and fun and I love them. Thank you for you time to read this from a disabled swimmer. S.D.is planning on upgrading the restrooms and showers for the C.P. Please support ADA access, and re-opening the current gate blocking it so wheelchair swimmers are allowed to swim to need that ADA shower they are installing.... Makes sense, yes?

Thank you. from a Disabled Mermaid


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