La Jolla Seal Controversy

Legal Documents

Seals, Sharks, and us

Ellen Browning Scripps Trust

Public Health




video of APRL defying police
Take the harbor Seal Quiz!
Seal Release
A Children's Book:
The Tale of Silly Seal



Children's Pool in San Diego is the most legally protected and illegally threatened beach in California.

We have reluctantly filed suit against the City and Mayor because he rewrote the Children’s Pool rope Coastal Development Permit with an imaginary procedure.  Then he had the rope lengthened to squeeze the mandated public access opening down to 3’ so the illusion the beach is legally closed is complete.   That put the access opening where it is not visible from the sidewalk.  (He also vowed to later make the rope all year and enforced).    Because he did it on State trusted tidelands, if he gets away with it, all our beaches can be stripped of Coastal Commission oversight. The beach remains open public land as it has been since 2004.

 This was so blatant the City Attorney had sent out a Memorandum of Law advising of the perils of legal liability.    He was ignored.   We filed that memorandum with our case.   The Coastal Commission chose not to protect the public or itself, so it was "do or die" for Coastal beach access.  If he can rewrite permits at will for historic trusted tidelands the Coastal Commission had stipulated earlier was under its exclusive jurisdiction, then nothing is safe.    La Jolla Cove will be easy to set aside for a sea lion reserve next.

For 2 years the City has tried to get a Coastal Permit to cordon off Children's Pool Beach 12 months every year and phyically close the beach half the year. That measure stopped at the Planning Commission on Sept 27th 2012. Anybody can go anywhere on that beach that does not disturb a seal, regardless of any rope across it.

The City has to follow its own Coastal Plan, no matter what the Coastal Commission might wish were so. The beach remains open public land as it has been since 2004.    However, a second lawsuit following an earlier failed one, seeks a ruling that the Planning Commission had no authority.  This would nullify safeguards in place for all San Diego land developments, yet the City Attorney is throwing the case.  Luckily because our case is related – we can introduce evidence the City Attorney would choose to withhold from the court.   But it expands our legal actions, so please notice the donation button below.  

We ask there be real Shared Use, and enforcement of existing law to facilitate it. The City can't afford to continue its legal misadventures that violate the 1931 Trust and the Coastal Act. We have to share. It can work. Most people learned to share in kindergarten. 

Check the new website where a button will send your petition to the Mayor.

If you would help prevent barring citizens from our public beaches, press the Donate button above, or use your own Paypal account, to

The Coastal Commission met on Wed, 7/11 about San Diego's plan to cordon off Children's Pool beach every day forever. Meetng in Chula Vista (item 10.d) and allowed it, contingent on local approval.
The City had to take the matter back to the Planning Commission, planning to use the conditional approval of the concept of a year round rope by the Coastal Commission to force the Planning Commission to reverse its rejection of the permit 2 years ago. Instead, the Planning Commission stood up for the law, and again unanimously sent the City back to the drawing board. La Jolla Children's Pool Rope Barrier
But the Commission only had to document its reasoning. And it made a clear, unanimous decision. "No". In a second suit against the Planning Commission the City Attorney turned on the Planning Commission and refused to offer a defense.

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.
That's ok, except animal rights activists with control issues have a goal of beach closure.
They have bullied people off the beach and bullied our City Government with punitive lawsuits.

   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 took Bryan Pease's suggestion to have the trust altered to transfer the value of that beach to the benefit of the trustee; the City, to the detriment of the beneficiaries - the Children.   Such is the character of our City leaders.

But after the City got what it said it wanted in order to preserve a tourist attraction, then:
The City Council voted in 4 resolutions in one meeting on 5/17/2010: 2 were ill advised.
A. Make it illegal to access the Children’s Pool during an extended pupping/weaning /molting season; 12/15 to 5/15.
B. Keep the rope barrier up year round. Issue an emergency permit to make it happen.

Since then, 2 rangers have come and gone. Ranger Rich is now on the job.   With no backing to enforce anything, rangers are limited to explaining an unenforceable rope barrier and counseling folks to stay back from seals. APRL used a bullhorn to enforce the unenforceable rope by initmidation and claims there is a law against crossing the rope. The City decided not to proceed with a Docent program because of the hostility APRL would dish out.

. How the CCC betrayed us in 2010 (3 minute video)

. There is a historic alternate route to the beach. The ramp that was closed 17 years ago. We found that ramp to be shown in the Local Coastal Plan as historical access and demanded it be unlocked. It was unlocked in August 2011 and then a shroud welded over the lock to make it more impenetrable than ever. There has never been a coastal permti for that action.

Here is A VIDEO the Plannng Commission saw, to show seals are not terrified of divers. Check more videos and see what happens when humans share the seals' real habitat - the water.

The whole sidewalk had become a circus after the City gave up control 5 years ago to APRL to allow them to control the beach and solicit donations to fund their lawsuits and lobbying. Two City Attorneys have turned a blind eye. Then we just started putting up our tables and signs, soliciting donations, and told everybody "Yes, this is all illegal. So what?" In December, 2010, Park and Rec implemented a sales table permit system. There were to be 2 small spaces with signs within reach by permits alloted in a monthly lottery.
APRL did not participate in the lottery, and set up illegally. The police are unable to enforce the permit system because the City Attorney refuses to allow it or any other municipal codes to be enforced on that sidewalk, even though the permits were his idea. The illegal APRL operaion ended after ours undersond them and coudl not prosper as they had.


There is a controversy at Children's Pool beach, but not about seals.
Despite what you may have heard, there is nobody with a plan to repatriate our seals to the wild.
Their presence is protected by State and federal law and we like them. Everybody likes them.
There was an effort to restore the Pool to condition required by the trust by which San Diego had the sea wall built. It would have disturbed the seals and probably decreased their use of the area. Support for that effort was not about a dislike for seals but a hope without their money-making presence, the spiteful cheerleaders that drive the public off the beach would go away.

The City fought the court order and finally legally was able to dodge its legal obligation and the expense of restoration. To ensure the help of the animal rights radicals in the battle to defeat the trust the City gave over control of the sidewalk above the beach to the PETA-wannabe's that harass and intimidate the public.

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 wall.
They can number maybe 100+ by morning, there is not much predicting.
In the deep winter there can be over 200 here.
The seals are allowed here by State law and the City wants them here to bring in tourist money.
There is no group backing any action nor is there any possible way to remove them.
This is a public beach, open at all times.
On land, if startled or approached too closely, seals run into the water.
Move slowly and mind your own business. Give a 20’ comfort zone.
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 here.
The E. coli count in the water is well above County Health standards.
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 about 40,000 in California.
There are about 250,000 from Baja to Alaska, not endangered at all.
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 this year, a new record.
Pups are weaned in 4-5 weeks and then are on their own.
Nowhere else do seals so absolutely trust in safety among humans.

You notice there is no blog on this rather dry format?

History of the loss of Children's Pool by the public:
THE CITY WAS ORDERED IN 2005 TO: : " ....restore the Pool to its 1941 condition by removing the sand build-up and further to reduce the level of water contamination in the Pool to levels certified by the County of San Diego as being safe for humans." (The Order, bottom lines)
65 years of accumulated sand was to be removed and the source of water contamination shooed away.

If you like to read evidence: Check this.

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

Mission Statement

This site is intended as a public resource for facts surrounding the La Jolla Children's Pool controversy



EDUCATE the public as to the use of the Children’s Pool in accord with Miss Ellen Scripps charitable intent in 1931 in order to protect La Jolla Children’s Pool surroundings as a public park, a bathing pool for children and public recreational usage in accordance with chapter 937 of the attached deed of trust between Miss Ellen Browning Scripps, the State of California and the City of San Diego, county of San Diego.

PUBLICIZE the return of the Children’s Pool to public recreational use.

PROMOTE public access per the Trust, the Coastal Act, the State Constitution, the Public Trust Doctrine.

FACILITATE cleaning the beach and adjacent areas as to make it attractive for human use, including removal of rodent, destructive and invasive species.


The name says it all... The Children's Pool was created specifically for the children to learn ocean swimming and appreciation of a wonderful water resource.

Occasionally, there are events that occur during the events of our daily lives that force us to take action to preserve the rights guaranteed to us under law and by historical tradition. The Children's Pool is just such a cause. It combines the aquatic education, outdoor recreation, clean water and environmental responsibility all equally under attack. Designed, built and dedicated by the namesake and benefactress of La Jolla , Miss Ellen Browning Scripps, for the specific purpose of aquatic education and recreation and the natural appreciation of the environment, challenges by radical environmental groups (ie., seal activist groups ) falsely target this resource.

We feel it is our duty as citizens and ocean enthusiasts to hold the line against radical extremists that would destroy our traditions, dramatically degrade the environment and violate the Trust, in rule of law, which has recently been upheld in court (see BREACH OF FIDUCARY DUTY page 27 ).

It is ironic that those who claim to represent environmental interests have created one of the most environmentally polluted and unnatural settings along the California shore. The extraordinary high concentration of pinnipeds in this man-made setting has caused a well designated status among California 's most polluted beaches. The fecal colon count has reached dangerous levels and will continue to increase as population densities of harbor seals continue to soar. It is also confounding that so-called environmental proponents would focus on the rights and propagation of the pinnipeds at The Children's Pool while ignoring the underwater desert being created by the voracious appetites of this unnatural pinniped population.

Are you unwilling to visit Children's Pool Beach because you might get yelled at, or taunted, or who knows what? Complain to the City. Click here. Or just drop a line about what you know at

See what kind of cruel and ignorant propaganda is posted against honest seal protectors


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