San Diego council votes down court order to dredge Children's Pool - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego council votes down court order to dredge Children's Pool

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The San Diego City Council declined today to comply with a court order to dredge the Children's Pool in La Jolla to return the beach to its pre-seal condition.

The City Council voted 7-1 against certifying the environmental documents necessary to remove 3,000 cubic yards of sand from the Children's Pool, which has been contaminated by feces from a colony of harbor seals that live at the beach.

The City Council also did not act on a request to approve coastal development permits for the project.

Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who represents the area, acknowledged that recent legislation shifting control of the beach to the city may "chart a new path" for the Children's Pool, but argued it was "imperative" the city cooperate with the judge's order.

Superior Court Judge Yuri Hofmann ordered the city earlier this year to comply with a 2005 ruling mandating the dredging of the Children's Pool and the dispersal of the seals.

Since then, state legislation has been passed amending a 1931 trust that established the beach as a swimming area for children to also give the City Council the discretion to designate the area a seal sanctuary.

Supporters of the seals were also successful in getting a federal appeals court to issue an emergency injunction stopping the city from dispersing the seals by broadcasting the sound of barking dogs. Despite the injunction, the city was still obligated to proceed with plans to dredge the beach.

Given the new law, which takes effect in January, the City Attorney's Office has asked Hofmann to vacate the order to dredge the beach. However, Hofmann has now transferred the case to Judge Timothy Taylor, which means that an Oct. 6 hearing on the matter will likely be postponed.

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