The highlights of tonight’s public hearing on San Pedro’s Bridge to Breakwater project came about halfway through when a man whose name I didn’t get (but when the transcript comes out, I’ll update this), who identified himself as a biology professor, attacked the proposal for the ideas it never considered.
When you read his ideas, you’ll accuse me of embellishing the record or just straight out lying. The teaser: how do giant bald eagle statues and hired pinnipeds sound?
His scientific contribution to the meeting: People in Monterey don’t go to visit Cannery Row and the shops there, they go for the otters at the aquarium (they are cute, I went to see them, I can’t argue. Okay, can’t argue much. Wait, yeah I can). And in San Francisco, they visit Pier 39 for the seals there. So why can’t we bring the otters and seals to San Pedro? And why haven’t we talked about what to do with the mud on the channel floor? If the floor is covered with clams the otters (or did he say seals?) will come to eat them. And if you build a large concrete bald eagle – one bigger than the normal male eagle, the female eagles will be attracted to it. And then because it’s not a real male, and now there’s all these females around, the real males will come for the females and soon our sky will be filled with our great American symbol.
You think I’m making this up, don’t you. I’ll link to the transcript once it’s available. But because I learned about pinnipeds working down at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and because I paid attention during California history lessons, I cannot help but respond to his absurd ideas with a few quick facts. We used to have otters. We hunted them out (Spanairds, pelts, read Island of the Blue Dolphins, we did the same thing to abalone). And at Pier 39, we have SEA LIONS. Not seals. Sea Lions have external ear flaps and . . . . jeez, a host of other characteristics that make them very, very easily distinguishable. Especially to a biologist.
And this guy teaches at colleges? Five of them?
So, forget the restaurants, bring in the otters, and save San Pedro.
(btw: the seal/sea lion thing is a common, but goofy mistake. Next time you’re at Seal Beach and on the pier there, check out the statute called “Seal.” It too is a Sea Lion. Perhaps our biologist was taking some artistic license as well)