Why I cleaned the bird poop from La Jolla Cove

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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.

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