Update: Press conference to appeal the reopening of the Children’s Pool

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Thursday — People who believe the reopening of Casa Beach during the seal pupping season are appealing the decision.

The Seal Conservancy held a press conference to announce the request for a challenge to an Orange County judge’s ruling.

The ruling orders the city to immediately open the Children’s Pool in La Jolla to people. The opponents of the ruling say this reopening might make this the final pupping season unless the city council files an official appeal.

The Seal Conservancy believes the reopening of the beach will cause distress and possibly death for the seals. 

Wednesday —  The City Attorney’s Office is poised to appeal a court ruling that overturned the city of San Diego’s ban on people going onto the beach at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla during harbor seal pupping season — Dec. 15 to May 15, a spokesman for the office said Wednesday.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Frederick Horn ruled that neither the city nor the California Coastal Commission — which ratified the law as the overseer of the coastline — followed correct administrative procedures with the federal government in developing the ordinance.

Tuesday’s ruling, in the case of Friends of the Children’s Pool v. city of San Diego and the commission, handed a major victory to beach access advocates, who have long argued that the site’s original use as a safe swimming area for youth should be maintained.

The ban was instituted two years ago after instances in which people harassed newborn seals and their mother, and was supported by animal welfare groups.

"The Orange County judge’s decision was in error and went far beyond what even the lawyers briefed,” said city attorney’s spokesman Gerry Braun. 

"His decision would require cities to get federal government permission before making land use decisions on the coast where seals congregate,” Braun said. "That is not current law. We will urge the City Council to appeal.”

Bryan Pease, who has represented animal welfare organizations during the years-long dispute, said he filed a request for a temporary restraining order in federal court to prevent the Horn’s ruling from taking effect.

Tuesday — A judge in the Orange County Superior Court ruled Tuesday that the City of San Diego’s attempt to close the Children’s Pool beach in La Jolla is unlawful.

Judge Frederick ruled in the case of Friends of the Children’s Pool v. City of San Diego and the California Coastal Commission, that the City and CCC are prohibited from enforcing the Local Coastal Program amendment and the Coastal Development Permit issued by the CCC and the City ordinance for the seasonal closure of Children’s Pool.

According to a press release from the Friends of the Children’s Pool, the court based their decision on the City’s violation of citizen’s right to coastal access under the California Constitution, the California Coastal Act and the 1931 State legislation granting the Children’s Pool to the City as a public park, playground and recreation area for children.

The court also found the City and CCC to have violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act by failing to secure an agreement with the Federal Government to manage marine mammals when they closed the Pool to regulate the taking (management) of harbor seals.

The effect of this ruling means the City should immediately remove the barriers to access to Children’s Pool Beach and not attempt to enforce the unlawful Municipal Code ordinance enacted in 2014 to close the beach.  

The full ruling can be found HERE

Friends of the Children’s Pool call on San Diego City officials to immediately restore the Children’s Pool for public use as intended and stop wasting taxpayer resources on unlawful and unnecessary beach closure schemes. 

Categories: Local San Diego News