La Jolla Seal Controversy

Legal Documents

Seals, Sharks, and us

Ellen Browning Scripps Trust

Public Health




Order "La Jolla, A Celebration of Its Past", signed by the author.
Take the harbor Seal Quiz!
Seal Release
A Children's Book:
The Tale of Silly Seal



On October 10th, Friends of the Children's Pool filed suit in Superior Court challenging the recent action of the City of San Diego and the California Coastal Commission to seasonally ban human access to the beach at Children's Pool in La Jolla. 116 page writ of mandate, if you want to read it The case will be heard in Orange County.

FoCP's lawsuit follows a decade of mis-management by City officials and the circumvention of constitutionally protected ocean access rights at the Pool. The City deliberately avoided alternate proposals that would allow shared use to work and worked on creating crises. NOAA/NMFS has been very patient, but finally reminded San Diego last January of the law in a letter ( See Letter) supporting shared use of Children's Pool. The City disregarded that advice.

Sadly, it has come down to money. If donations support the effort, we have a prime legal case. Alternatives as simple as turning the barrier rope the other direction to divide the beach in a more reasonable manner would have worked. (Lifeguard Plan) Instead, the City manufactured crises to pretend it had no alternatives.

We ask that the ability of citizens to continue sharing the fraction of shoreline accessible to them be legally upheld per the State Constitution. This right needs to be re-established before other beaches, where seals or sea lions have decided to land, are summarily and unnecessarily closed to make life easy for City administrators.

This is the bottom line. If regular folks don't pitch in the Children will lose.
FoCP has no paid employees. Any donations will go solely for lawsuit costs and are tax deductable.
FoCP is a 501(c)(3) federal non-profit. Cite FEIN# 37-1655042

If you would help prevent barring citizens from public beaches, press the Donate button above, or use your own Paypal account, to Or eliminate the fee - send a check to Friends of the Children's Pool / 3090 Admiral Ave, San Diego, CA 92123.

Unlike past intimidation with advisory ropes and encouraging harassment of citizens, the City will now make it a crime for the public to access a man-made beach specifically designed to be accessed by the public. This violates the California Constitution, the Coastal Act, and the Legislation granting the beach to the City. But the irony is it violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The City can't afford to continue its legal misadventures. We have to share. It can work.  Despite what you may have heard, there is no plan to make our seals leave. Their presence is protected by State and Federal law and we like them.

San Diego decided in 1999 to keep the seals by instituting Shared Use rather than make them leave. Now we have to sue even for that.

   State courts once ruled the City had to restore Children’s Pool to the splendid gift it once gratefully accepted from Ellen Browning Scripps on behalf of the Children of San Diego.  The City Attorney had the trust altered to transfer the value of that beach to the benefit of the trustee; the City, to steal from the beneficiaries; the Children.   Such is the character of our City leaders.

There is a controversy at Children's Pool beach, but not about seals.

Children’s Pool Trivia,
Seals can not stay on the sand if the sun is out and hot. They are built for icy waters.
In summer look for them on nearby wet rocks. Most are out foraging.
At dusk many will come in next to the sea wal where it cools the sand.
They can number maybe 100+ by morning, there is not much predicting.
In the Spring there can be over 200 here.
The seals are allowed here by State law and the City exploits to bring in tourist money.
There is no group backing any action nor is there any way to remove them. They are here beause they find it comfortable.
This is a public beach, to be open at all times.
On land, if startled or approached too closely, seals run into the water.
Move slowly and mind your own business. Stop if any seal looks at you. Wait.
Seals are not afraid of people in the water, and will investigate you. They are gentle and playful. Enjoy.
No person has ever been bitten by a harbor seal on the beach.
The E. coli count in the water is often above County Health standards. So an advisory is posted.
No Health Dept. rulings are posted as the bugs are not from humans.
No sicknesses have been reported from “seal water”, but why drink it?
These are Eastern Pacific Harbor Seals:
There are at least 40,000 in California.
There are about 250,000 from Baja to Alaska. They are also called "the common seal".
They do not have external ears – sea lions do.
They cannot “step” with their back flippers – sea lions do.
They do not have harems – sea lions do.
They do not defend territory – sea lions might.
They do not touch each other when on land – sea lions sleep in a pile.
Harbor seals can nap in the water, floating, or under the surface.
They “pup” from Feb to mid April, about 40 each year on this beach. 45 last year, a new record.
Pups are weaned in 4-5 weeks and then are on their own. Momma is gone.
Nowhere else do seals so absolutely trust in safety among humans.


CLICK to see the amended Trust
CLICK to view O'Sullivan appeal decision the City lost
CLICK to see 31 page original O'Sullivan judgment 3 1/2 years ago
CLICK to see the City of La Jolla's FAQ's regarding The Children's Pool in La Jolla



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