Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seals Are Back in Court

San Diego people are truly attached to our beaches, of which we have some thirty miles, so when a bunch of seals (no not the Navy, the animal kind) take over about sixty feet of our beach, of course we sue the hell out of them. Well, we sue somebody, but I don’t think the seals were ever actually in court. They are pretty much the only ones who have not been in court.

The story goes back to the 1990’s when a bunch of seals began hanging out at a La Jolla beach known as “Children’s Pool” beach, a small piece of sand protected by a sea wall. The seals were hanging out, sleeping and pooping, which polluted the water badly enough that the people of La Jolla wanted them booted off the beach. Do I need to tell you that one does not buy a house in La Jolla by saving up S&H Green Stamps?

Getting rid of seals turns out to be very difficult. Not only are they protected by federal law (it’s illegal even to touch them), but they are about the most imperturbable creatures on the face of the earth. They make rocks seem excitable. So, of course, the beach was closed and a rope was put up to keep people from messing with the seals.

Long story made short, the issue has been in courts at various levels for more than fifteen years, costing untold millions of dollars of mostly taxpayer money. The seals are still there, that sixty feet of beach is still closed, the remaining thirty miles of beach is still open, and the people who want the seals gone are still pissed off.

Finally last year the state Legislature turned the whole thing over to the San Diego City Council to decide, which strikes me as a bit weird, and the council decided that as soon as the seals were finished having their babies the beach would, after all these years, be opened to both people and seals once more. So last week down came the rope.

As you might guess, disaster ensued. People are touching the seals. The seals are still pooping in the water and on the beach and children are picking up the poop and eating it. La Jollans want the rope replaced to keep kids from mingling with the seals and eating seal poop. Mostly they still want the seals gone, of course, but failing that they want the rope back.

It may be archaic or something, but I know of a mechanism that would be effective in keeping kids from eating seal poop, it’s called “parents.”

But now we come to the point of this story. The City Council is considering restoring the rope, but it cannot simply act willy nilly. Putting the rope in place will require an environmental impact study. Really. Replacing a ½” nylon rope which has been stretched across sixty feet of beach above the high water line for fifteen years and was removed a week ago is an act which requires an environmental impact study.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Why was the State Legislature involved?, Never mind, they get their sticky fingers in everythign, but what they're supposed to.

Why is an EIS required NOW and was not back whenever? Maybe some seal hugging (oops, sorry :) lawyers demanded one?

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