City Wants to Rescue the Seals

Children's Pool is polluted with waste created by marine mammals

San Diego will ask a judge to lift an order giving the city 72 hours to scare a colony of federally protected harbor seals away from the Children's Pool in La Jolla.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the city will make the request on Thursday.

Activists have squared off for a decade in the courts over whether the cove should be for humans or seals.

After Superior Court Judge Yuri Hofmann ruled Monday that the seals must go, officials said they'd spend up to $700,000 to scare them off with the recorded sounds of barking dogs.

Goldsmith said the city decided to get the order lifted after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a state bill late Monday giving San Diego power to allow the seal colony to remain. The City Attorney also said Hofmann was unable to consider the issue fully because the bill had not yet been signed into law.

"When Judge Hofmann made his orders in this case, he did not have a piece of legislation approved by the two policy-making branches of state government," Goldsmith said Tuesday. "We will take all legal means to return the decision-making on this back to the City Council and end all this expensive and nonsensical litigation."

The area has been owned by the state since it was placed in a trust in 1931, according to Goldsmith.

The city will appeal Hofman's ruling if he refuses to lift the order, Goldsmith said.

At times, more than 100 of the marine mammals are visible at the Children's Pool, which is polluted with their feces. Bacteria from their waste prompted the city to close the Children's Pool in 1997.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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