Is the Fate of La Jolla’s Seals Sealed?
On May 27, a San Diego Superior Court judge reiterated his 2005 ruling that the city removes seals from a La Jolla cove that is supposed to be a children’s bathing area.
The judge, Yuri Hofmann, scheduled a June 15 hearing to consider the city’s proposed plan to chase the seals off through recordings of dogs barking and jets of water. The city estimates its strategy will cost $700,000. It has already spent more than $1 million in legal fees on the issue.
Hofmann’s ruling that the seals must go is the opposite of that of a federal judge who in 2008 issued a restraining order against their removal, while determining whether the seals are protected under the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The seals, the conflicting court rulings and how the city copes with the issue are the subject of legislation.
The measure, SB 428 by Sen. Chris Kehoe, a San Diego Democrat, would amend the 1931 trust giving the city the property. Hofmann based his ruling on the document which says the cove is to be used as a coastal park and a children’s pool. The property is a called, “Children’s Pool Beach.”
Introduced at the request of San Diego’s City Council, Kehoe’s bill would amend the tidelands grant to read that the cove is a “marine mammal park for the enjoyment and educational benefit of children.”
That would allow the city to decide the seals’ fate rather than the courts.
The bill has been approved by the Senate and is pending in the Assembly.
Filed under: Legislature/Legislation
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