Why I cleaned the bird poop from La Jolla Cove

Guest Column Guest Column 34 Comments


Guest Commentary
by Mike Slater

We all know almost everyone in Sacramento is full of it. So why does San Diego have to put up with the stench?

When friends come to visit, the first three days are all mapped out; Coronado, Balboa, Petco, the Zoo, Soledad, you know the routine. Before we take in the sights, we always fuel up with the greatest menu item in the entire city: the Coast Toast at Brockton Villa in La Jolla.

Every friend of mine is amazed and jealous that this is home. Everything is perfect. Except for the La Jolla Cove. It stinks. Literally, it reeks. It’s noxious.

We all love looking at the seals, but smelling the build up of bird poop on the rocks causes tourists to avoid the area like it’s Chernobyl.

The problem is, Brockton Villa, among other businesses, is in the firing line to the stench. And with the The New York Times writing about how bad it smells in La Jolla, this isn’t good for business or tourism.

So why doesn’t anyone clean up the bird poop? Because the cove is one of the 34 state-protected Areas of Biological Significance. Welcome to the wonderful world of Sacramento’s bureaucratic cowplop. To clean the cove, the city needs permission from three state agencies (California Coastal commission, state Water Resources Control and San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board) and it takes up to two years to receive permission.

In the infinite wisdom of the Sacramento Poop Patrol, if a bird poops into the water (which we know they never do) no problem. If a bird poops on the rocks and the rain washes it into the ocean, no problem. But if someone washes the bird poop into the ocean, then the bird poop is considered a pollutant and you hate the planet.

As the UT San Diego wrote last week, “The buildup of feces isn’t some saintly natural process that must be allowed to run its course lest there be some terrible consequence down the line.” It is just bird poop.

But don’t worry, our local leaders are on the case! Strongly worded letters have been written to the Governor. Hearings have been planned, committees formed, heads scratched (and noses plugged).

While our bureaucratic laden government racks its collective brain, it rained on Friday afternoon. So I walked out on the rock with a push broom and facilitated Mother Nature’s natural cleaning process and pushed the poop into the ocean.

It’s not illegal to be on the rock, and I didn’t use any “outside” water source. Just the rain.

It took two hours to clean the entire cove.

Is this going to solve the problem for all time? No. The birds started pooping the next day.

My point is: instead of just staring at problems, let’s just go fix it. Volunteers clean our beaches all the time. This should be no different. Get a boy scout group together and clean the dung rocks.

We should be able to keep our city clean, from people throwing cigarette butts and birds using theirs. It’s hurting tourism, it’s hurting business, and when national newspapers write about how much San Diego stinks, it hurts our image.

We have our own city council to govern our city. Tell Sacramento to take a hike and just clean the bird poop. Consider it our duty as San Diegans.

# # #

The Mike Slater Show can be heard weekdays, 6 to 9 am on 760 KFMB AM Talk Radio


Comments 34

  1. “My point is: instead of just staring at problems, let’s just go fix it.”

    Good on ya, Mike. We the people are going to solve the problems despite the roadblocks put in our way

  2. Kelly Davis at SD City Beat tweets…

    @citybeatkelly: Mike’s found the job he was born to do.

  3. Richard Rider, you forgot, this is probably a Union city job (once approved) as well, poor Mike will have the EPA and unions after him.

  4. Actually doing that type of City work requires they sanction you, give you approval and you have at least 3 forms to fill out. I cleaned and sealed the Ipe benching along Sunset Cliffs and was told TO STOP …The City sent me the forms including a release and waiver form …The Reader did a story on the benches at Sunset Cliffs a few weeks ago….To actually try and be a good citizen is harder and harder to do …good luck with the poop…

  5. That’s what I love about America. If you don’t like the law, you get to just ignore it. That’s why we fight wars and die for this amazing place…

  6. Michael, the regulators might propose the same thing … only they would point the firearm at Slater. Men with guns, as Brian Brady would say.

  7. Marco, please do tell. What reasonable and appropriate law could ever keep a person from cleaning up crap in public if they choose to do so?

  8. “That’s what I love about America. If you don’t like the law, you get to just ignore it.”

    Not really. if you believe in Jeffersonian principles, you’re actually duty bound to resist an unjust law. When a civic-minded citizen sees children wallowing in bird crap, and resists the “men with guns” to clean that bird crap, he is as patriotic as Rosa Parks resisting racial discrimination on a public bus.

    …and yes (to answer the question in your mind), I do consider laws which prevent me from feeding a hungry man or cleaning up the environment to be unjust.

  9. http://www.tinyurl.com/20110509a

    In 2009/2010, the City’s Park and Recreation put up roadblocks/ requirements for individual Volunteers to clean the doomed Fire Pits including:

    Membership in a non-profit.
    $1 million in liability insurance.
    Meet and confer with Unions.

    A civic Volunteer workforce can enhance City of San Diego’s services for free, and with free Liability Insurance, though the existing approval and vetting process by the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) through the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or Nationally through FEMA, including fingerprinting and background checks for every Civic Volunteer.

    Currently, the City’s Union heads do not allow Volunteers to lock and unlock doors to our public City Libraries and Recreation Centers to allow the City to extend the hours of operation for free, based upon neighborhood Volunteer support. All Libraries and Recreation Centers are closed unless fully staffed by Union members. It is sad watching the massive amount of kids get kicked out of the Malcolm X Library at Valencia Park in Councilman Tony Young’s 4th District.

  10. Always remember this: Today’s governments are run for the benefit of the EMPLOYEES. Any services “our” government renders are secondary to this primary function.

    And these employee-run governments will get laws passed to protect their elevated status — at the expense of providing the citizens their services.

    For instance, we SHOULD have a volunteer reserve fire fighting brigade, to help with wildfires — at the very least putting out “ember” fires in subdivisions — but the union firefighters will not allow it. When they say they value “boots on the ground,” what they REALLY mean is “UNION boots on the ground.”

  11. This is pretty awesome, Mike. Can’t wait to see how much money THE STATE invests in trying to bring you to justice for such a devious crime.

    More seriously, the liability problem is a huge issue with basically doing anything at too many places that can be sued for something (usually anything public like a school, park, beach, etc.). It would be nice if ppl in Sacramento tried to help us live our lives without the crushing worry of lawsuits (quite common here in CA!) rather than over-regulating everything.

  12. “The reporter couldn’t have possibly known about Slater’s guest column on Rostra, posted more than eight hours in advance, and referenced it in her story. Right?”

    My first thought when I read that. Call it home team pride.

  13. You’ll need a good conservative litigator to volunteer time for this. The hook would be the high profile of the case and the potential for a P.R. hit against green extremists. Check with Mark Levin and Michael Savage for referrals.

  14. I frequently dive the Cove and eat the awesome Coast Toast. (Yes, Coast Toast is the best French toast anywhere. Period.) The bird poop stench is horrible. It can be smelled daily on Prospect. I actually smelled it driving along Torrey Pines by Ivanhoe the other day. Ridiculous! Kudos Mike!

  15. Mike, you’re awesome! Thanks for having the guts to ignore the stupid government and do a job that needed to be done. If you had waited for the timid government gnomes, it would have required 3 years of hearings, endless useless studies, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a decision that any person with common sense could make in thirty seconds. You’re a great American!

  16. If La Jolla Cove stinks, tourists can always visit Coronado. Our city smells great, and always looks clean. Plus, we have great bars and restaurants, and an amazing beach. Just don’t ride your bikes on the sidewalk of Orange Avenue, or you will get a ticket.

  17. @Brian Brady — Under “Jeffersonian principles,” you should also keep slaves because it’s easier, even though your friends offer to PAY you to free them, and even though you coined the term “all men are created equal,” and even though your girlfriend was a slave.

    Also under Jeffersonian principles, upon your death, you’ll free the children you had with your slave girlfriend, but you won’t free your slave girlfriend.

    It’s ironic that the father of libertarianism would hold slavery so dear — or does it still make sense, even in 2012?

  18. @Brian Brady What good are the principles of a man who was either too dumb to realize his own hypocrisy or ignored his own ideals and violated rule #1 of libertarian philosophy: personal responsibility?

  19. If only we learned a lesson from this and la jolla residents just used children’s pool, just get in the water, sit on the beach, use the beach as boot camp playground.

    If this miracle of actual use of our formerly pristine children’s pool beach by la jolla residents and we as a group kept walking past/ignore the activists that assert themselves as authorities telling people that they are breaking laws when they use the beach (major BS!!!) then we would not have the following problems with our city:

    – every weekend sea world-level crowds racing up and down the streets looking for parking
    – compromised safety because ambulances, fire engines, police can’t get through
    – access to the highway is backed up for miles and takes an hour instead of 10 minutes to get in and out of la jolla
    – garbage is left all over the street as it is in the sea world parking lot and the city does not add services to clean it up.
    -tour buses regularly park illegally to let legions of tourists get out to take pictures then blow out of your town without spending a dollar.

    I have news for those residents that think the beach belongs to the seals… if you think the traffic in and out of the village is bad now I predict the crowds will get bigger and bigger every year.

    If any commercial enterprise like sea world approached the city with a plan to build an attraction the city would REQUIRE an environmental impact study on the effect of egress, congestion, pollution and safety.

    The City of San Diego is cruisin’ for a bruisin’ by ignoring the safety and health of the air, water and streets of village residents. Allowing this attraction is abuse of the local residents rights. The city is in violation of the rules it put in place to minimize the impact of an attraction and I look forward to the day when a lawyer comes along who can piece this together and fight the city for this abuse.

  20. @Democrab I’m not going to divert the discussion to humans’ long history of hypocrisy. Be it Thomas Jefferson or Martin Luther King, their individual hypocrisy is used to discredit the ideas which they championed…and yet…their ideas are instructive for a more peaceful and prosperous society.

    I”m also not going to divert the discussion to property rights, which is the solution to most of the environmental problems we have. Ironically, Mike Slater’s civil disobedience illustrates that solution perfectly.

    The issue is quite clear to me; a centralized planning board located 500 miles from the problem, failed free people again. Mike Slater did something about the problem. And while the statists are clearly whipping freedom-loving people’s butts in this football game of life, I can’t help but celebrate that Slater kicked a field goal in the first few minutes of the 3rd quarter:

    Liberty 3,
    Statism 0

    I”m just optimistic enough to think we can win this game in OT

  21. Hi Michael – I think he is referring to Jefferson’s slave mistress (Sally Hemings) with whom he fathered several children. He freed his kids in his will, but not her. She was later freed by Jefferson’s daughter, who was also her niece, since Sally and Jefferson’s wife, Martha, were half sisters. He is also talking about a letter Jefferson wrote to a friend where he said that although slavery was probably wrong and unjust, it was easier for the new country to keep it legal than to lose the political and financial support of slave owners. I guess his point is that Jefferson was more of a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of guy. Apparently he was responding to you, or someone else who said that Jefferson said that if a law was unjust we were supposed to fight it.

  22. Gosh, Democrab holds libertarians today accountable for the slavery practiced by Thomas Jefferson over 200 years ago? Fair enough.

    But, to be fair, let’s then hold the DEMOCRATIC PARTY responsible for the defense and perpetuation of slavery, and the post-war backing of the KKK, with the imposition of the notorious Jim Crow laws. And Democrab, YOUR party CONTINUED these oppressive polices right up until the 1960s.

    Thanks, Democrab — we DID need that reminder of what your namesake party was all about. A rich heritage, indeed.

    Good man!

    Or woman. Whatever.

  23. Just for safety sake has a water sample been checked for the high levels of fecal mater? A lot of us swim there.

  24. Thanks Ricky, but what doesn’t make sense is the libertarian connection. Does democrab really think that Jefferson’s slave ownership is what libertarians like about Jefferson? Besides, don’t Democrats claim Jefferson as one of their party founders? (Which makes more sense seeing as Democrats are in line with the idea of slavery and “do as I say, not as I do”.) Democrats organized an army and invaded Pennsylvania in an attempt to force the issue of owning people, formed the KKK, and then tried to stand in the way of the Civil Rights Act.
    Republicans and Libertarians have no such history. So what he says makes no sense.

  25. Mike- Great job taking action, instead of waiting for beaurocrats to do something. Unfortunately, as my old boss used to tell me, “no good deed goes unpunished”, so I’m not surprised to hear that the pencil-neck statists have already started their retribution, using the courts and the law to blugeon good folks such as yourself. As much as you probably don’t need the aggrevation, please allow this to play out in court, and use the process to show the public what harmful and non-sensical state progressives and liberals have contorted our laws and bloated our agencies into. Your audience will cover your attorney costs, we have your back. Go forward and expose the statists!

  26. Pingback: Is cliff cleaner Mike Slater a saint or a sinner? | La Jolla Light

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *