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Judge orders seals away from La Jolla children's beach

A San Diego County Superior Court judge today ordered the city of San Diego to shoo the harbor seals off the beach at the Children's Pool in La Jolla by Thursday.

But an attorney representing seal lovers plans to seek a restraining order from a federal judge that would block the city from removing the seals.

Superior Court Judge Yuri Hoffman said today that state law requires the beach be kept clean for children under a 1931 deed to the property.

Attorneys for the city asked Hoffman to delay his ruling, noting that the Legislature in Sacramento has voted to allow the city to decide whether the seals should stay or go.

But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has yet to sign the legislation, and Hoffman, increasingly impatient with the city, said he was not willing to wait until the governor makes his decision.

In the two-decade fight over the seals on the tiny beach, federal courts have sided with seal lovers, noting that the creatures are protected by federal law. The standoff between federal court and superior court  has cost San Diego hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

If the bill is signed in Sacramento, the City Council plans to declare the beach a marine sanctuary and allow the seals to remain.

Attorney Bryan Pease, representing the pro-seal side, said he plans to seek a restraining order from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to delay Hoffman's ruling. Pease called Hoffman's ruling both extreme and illegal.

Under the ruling by Hoffman, the city has 72 hours to disperse the seals into the water, probably by the use of loud noises.

-- Tony Perry

Comments () | Archives (8)

The courts have consistently ruled against the city that the beach needs to be kept to the standards of the trust that created the beach in the first place.

If the city hadn't spent so much time sitting on its own hands, this wouldn't be a problem.

It's about time. If the city doesn't want to abide by the terms of the deed it should return the property to the heirs.

Let me get this straight: The people against the seals complain about smells. But they are OK with the sound of loud barking dogs? And they are OK with the $700k cost of that program? Why does it cost so much???

I thought we were going greener in America. Aren't there enough beaches in San Diego for people?

the seals have been a problem in La Jolla since the 70s, they were kept outside of children's pool and people could see them and appreciate them on the side of the cliffs overlooking the La Jolla cove area.

Someone came along in the 90s and decieded to allow the seals back into the pool, since then they have been back. We need the pool open in San Diego and the La Jolla area, it brings a lot of families who want to swim and spend money in La Jolla. Also the seals are contaminating the La Jolla cove, and the surrounding areas with their feces.

We don't need to get rid of the seals, we just need to take them out of the Children's pool so that it can be used by human beings. And bring the much need income to La Jolla and the San Diego Area.

Visitors come to San Diego to see the seals, but sadly they do not live here on a day to day basis with our failing economy. So when they go home to their other states and the seals remain to contaminate our Children's poo and take away from people being able to swim in our water. the seals contaminate the water, and now we will have to dredge the water to clean it. The law said that they shouldn't have been allowed in to beging with.

I have lived in San Diego most of my life, and I grew up swimming at the Children's pool as well as my daughter. Now my grandson can not because people think that the seals are so lovely, they like other polutants are contaminating our waters. There is a place for them, and it is not in our children's pool, they have a place to swim along the cliffs and in that water. It is just as safe and there is plenty of room for them to sleep there and room for people to observe and enjoy them.

Our Govenor is so concerned with our economy, then why is he putting his nose in our business in San Diego and trying to put a wrench in our business. We need that beach open to make money in the La Jolla area, did he even ask questions as to why we want this beach open? did you mr govenor? isn't everything about money with you politicians. For God's Sake! Mr I'll Be Back! this is about human beings........ the seals can live on the rocks were they have lived most of their lives & in the ocean, and the people can still observe them and enjoy them. They are not being harmed there, and that is were they have been since the beginning of time. And that is where they belong, not in the middle of the city where they are spreading the stench of feces smell and making human beings ill. Do you think that the feces stay in one area, no they travel to other beaches as well.

Have you ever visited La Jolla Cove on a 80 degree day mr Govenor to catch the stench of the seals? well I have, and I no longer go to the cove because of this. And most San Diego people don't go their because of it. We live here, not the small number of tourists that have something to say about our livelyhood on a daily basis. I can't enjoy the outside air because of animals shitting outside.... what is wrong with this picture??? tell me? doesn't this affect the economy just a bit? La Jolla is like Beverly Hills, Laguna Hills, it has taken it toll on this town.

I suggest that maybe you take care of the California problem, maybe stop taking from the schools, poor seniors, medicare. Have someone watch these 5 generation families on welfare, check on these people who come to the U.S. and then have six families live in the same house, own companies and then lie about what they own. Don't give people from other countries SSI cause if you didn't pay in to this country (you are not intitled to nada)

Mind your own business!! you do not know anything about the La Jolla Cove problem, you only know what someone told you. Or what you have read in the paper. I know about it, I have lived here for a very long time. I am very upset that people don't mind thier own business, and are animals more important than people.

I don't think so..... Those damb seals have contaminated the air, and the water in La Jolla. Let's get our priorities straight.

Just passionate about my life and surroundings, and tourists don't know about your state, city our day to day place. The seals need to be moved to the cliff area, it is safer for all concered.

Our family flew to San Diego in February, and the high point of our visit was the seals of La Jolla. What a gift to see seals and their new born calves. We stayed for hours, watching the babies and their mothers. Later we walked the short lovely path in the park to the beach north of Casa Beach. It was the best day of our vacation and we are planning to return next year.

While we visited, a woman dressed in expensive designer purse, sandals and sunglasses, explained to a friend that the beach belonged to the residents of La Jolla, and her Grandchildren could no longer swim right in front of their condo and had to go up the beach now. It seemed sad to me that she had missed sharing the REAL joy and the sacredness of this place with her Grandchildren, that they are blessed to share one of the only places on the US continent, where seals can now come to birth their young. How fortunate they are to be able to be there and watch and share in this miracle of life, in an event that has happened for thousands of years.

Sometimes, because of actions of humans and the destruction of the natural environment, a place becomes essential to the future of a whole species. These places are the new Arks, and as wise and caring children of God, it is our duty to protect these glorious gifts of the Creation. I believe that if we listen and if we open ourselves, we will remember the Creators voice, that the Creation is good, and every Creature must be protected. It is the privilege and responsibility for today's Noahs to steward and keep and protect God's sacred and lovely Creatures.

I grew up in La Jolla, my parents still have a house on La Jolla shores...I'm in my early twenties now...and I remember the days when I use to snorkel in the Children's Pool...it was nice, really nice...however, when the seals came along I thought that having them there was in itself even nicer than my being able to snorkel in the pool...I was fascinated by them and my summer days would always include a visit to the Children’s pool with friends or family to stop and gaze at the beautiful creatures.

My point is this: making the seals leave is a bad idea, they add to the flavor that is La Jolla, and they help make it an even more beautiful and idyllic place to live, visit and simply enjoy. The seals have become a staple of La Jolla, and to take them away would be devastating to La Jolla. Could you imagine what Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco would be like without their seals? It would completely lose part of its identity….we can’t let this happen to our La Jolla.

Whenever I have family or friends visiting I always take them to see the seals at Seal Rock. I feel that we as a people have plently of beach to call our own, I dont see the sense of taking this small section of beach away from the seals. Is it neccisary? Anytime I go to Seal Rock it is crowded with people observing the creatures. How can that possibly be bad for economy?

I agree with what alot of people have said about the Children's Pool. There are alot of other beaches in San Diego and La Jolla including one that is used for snorkling and kayaking. I think some people are just selfish and want the convenience of one little beach for (humans). I loved the children's pool and plan to return. I cant believe the judge said he was going to go ahead and rule against the seals no matter what the govenor said. The needs to obey what the federal government has issued on the protection of these beautiful creatures. He is not the only human on earth and neither are the people who are inconvenienced by the seals.


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