Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Friday, November 13, 2009

Seals Win Safety in Southern California!

We have our protected turtles on the Fort Lauderdale beaches, and they have their coveted snail darter in the Tennessee Valley.

One of the reasons my law school roommate, Eric Goldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council, became a lawyer was to become a legal environmentalist. We both knew that we could not trust developers and our government to protect our lands or our country. The rule of governance, outside of incompetence, is exploitation and expedience.

So today I blog about a carefree colony of seals now living free on a San Diego beach after a ten year legal battle that wound up in and out of state and federal court, with cover stories in the New York Times.

You have got to understand. Seals have rights too. I mean, I know, as humans, we think all animals are lesser than us, and seals don’t exactly clean up after themselves, so they can be kinda’ slimy. About 20 years ago, a small group of them planted their flag on their own Plymouth Rock, a small cove in La Jolla, just south of San Diego. Actually, it gets worse.

The area they parked and showed up in has been known since 1931 as ‘Children’s Pool,’ deeded to the city of La Jolla as a public trust. But the kids and tourists love the seals, and so did the Sierra Club. They went to court and on Friday, a judge ruled the steals can stay.

Bryan W. Pease, a lawyer for the Animal Protection and Rescue League, said, “This is the final conclusion of a battle that has raged for several years.” I don’t think so. Not so sure.

The judge ruled they can stay because the court took judicial notice of a new state law that gives the City Council a final decision on whether to allow them. Which means the legal battle may only be over until the next political race. It means that in future elections those seals will be a recurring cause célèbre. Should they go or can they stay?

All I know is that right now they are safe, in a beach I love to visit whenever I am in Southern California. It is not far from Black’s Beach, where you can go hang gliding off a very large cliff and sail over the very spectacular Pacific Ocean and see some very bare, bronzed bodies in a clothing optional universe.

The Beach Pacific is pretty big, and the seals have probably been living their lives peacefully, without worrying about the legal battles they were the center of. I wish my life were so tranquil. Hope to see them next time I am out there, which should be soon.

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