Sea Lion Poop Becomes a Bone of Contention
SAN DIEGO (CN) - Sea lion poop and cormorant guano in pricey La Jolla have wafted a lawsuit into the San Diego mayor's office.
Citizens For Odor Nuisance Abatement sued the City of San Diego and its Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, in Superior Court, demanding they clean up the odorous excrement from rocks by La Jolla Cove, and remove a fence that limits public access to it.
The city has "exclusive dominion, control and responsibility for the maintenance of the cliffs in and around the La Jolla Cove and is responsible for keeping the area free of noxious odors," the nonprofit says in the lawsuit. It was established this year to do just what its name says.
The group claims that the city "at some point in time and without public notice, "erected a fence along the sidewalk that runs along La Jolla Cove, preventing the public from accessing the rocks. The fence was built without an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and is in violation of the Local Coastal Plan (LCP), which requires maximizing coastal access."
The lawsuit continues: "Preventing coastal access to the rocks by the public gradually led to a buildup of excrement from sea lions and cormorant birds, causing noxious odors resulting in illness to the citizens of San Diego and others who visit this area. The odors have also caused patrons to flee the business establishments in the area to avoid these odors, causing these businesses a loss of patrons and revenues."
The odor-haters claim that the illegally erected fence is directly responsible for the excess of excrement: "if the public were able to merely be allowed to make use of the area as they did prior to the illegal fence being installed, the sea lions and cormorant birds would be more likely to stay away from the upper part of the rocks where they are leaving excrement causing foul odors as a result of the excrement not being washed away by high tides and wave action in this area."
In dudgeon that could reasonably be estimated as high, the plaintiffs add: "Any feigned concern for the safety of the pedestrians walking on the rocks should be given short shrift as the installation of caution signs should be more than sufficient to protect the safety of the pedestrians that assume the risk of walking on the rocks."
They describe the odor of the sea lion and cormorant poop as "foul, noxious and sickening."
They want the fence taken down, and the area cleaned of the perilous poop.
They seek an order to show cause why the city should not abate the public nuisance, and an injunction ordering it to do so.
They are represented by Norman Blumenthal, with Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik, of La Jolla.
City offices were close Wednesday for Christmas.