Protecting bird poop: regulation as self-parody

Nov. 27, 2012

By Chris Reed

Here in San Diego, regulatory insanity has hit an all-time high, with environmental rules preventing city officials from cleaning up bird poop. “California Cove Blessed With Nature’s Beauty Reels From Its Stench” was the headline in the New York Times over the weekend about this debacle. I wrote more on the farce in today’s U-T San Diego:

“In a rocky area by the cove once open to people but now fenced off for safety reasons, the feces of cormorants and seagulls just keeps piling up, generating a stench that can carry as far as a mile. Dry conditions, a hot summer and other factors have made this a gross everyday problem for the cove area, not an occasional annoyance.

“So why can’t city work crews simply take care of the problem? … Because of complex environmental rules stemming from the cove’s designation as a state-protected ‘Area of Special Biological Significance.’ Officials say it could take two years to get various state agencies to OK cleaning procedures. …

“As explained on the web page of the State Water Resources Control Board, ‘Areas of Special Biological Significance’ need protection because they ‘support an unusual variety of aquatic life, and often host unique individual species. [The areas] are basic building blocks for a sustainable, resilient coastal environment and economy.’

“For this to be interpreted as the Coastal Poop Protection Act is preposterous. 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 happened because of a combination of circumstance, climate and official decisions. It’s not part of Mother Nature’s grand scheme for La Jolla Cove or the planet.” 

The rest of the editorial is here.


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  1. Grifen Buck
    Grifen Buck 27 November, 2012, 08:46

    You can’t make this stuff up; it almost feels like I’m in the world of The Onion.

    Reply this comment
  2. Cacheguy
    Cacheguy 27 November, 2012, 09:17

    Now if only we could “clean up the poop” in Sacramento.

    Reply this comment
  3. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 27 November, 2012, 09:58

    When comic relief is needed, here we have it.

    When going to Trader Joe’s, I come into contact with the Green Peace organization. They just need to add an arm–the bird poop squad. If I were living near those cliffs I would help fund it.

    Cach, you can make all the fun you want to of the “poops” in Sacramento, but keep in mind that if you were publicly making that characterization in Syria or Pakistan, you probably would not wake up the next morning–and neither would your wife and children.

    Is this a great country, or what!

    Reply this comment
  4. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 27 November, 2012, 15:31

    Is this a great country, or what!
    Would be even better without public employees scamming 24/7 🙂

    BTW seesaw, you still henpecking you poor hubby to death 🙂

    Reply this comment
  5. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 27 November, 2012, 18:38

    The link to the original UT article has some spot on comments!

    Reply this comment
  6. Cacheguy
    Cacheguy 28 November, 2012, 13:19

    SeeSaw, Are you saying that because statments like mine would cause extreme harm to my family and I if we were in Syria or Pakistan that I should NOT be making those statements here? I surely hope not and, believe me, I am not making “fun” of all the “poops” in Sacramento. Just making a statement of fact and wishful thinking.

    Reply this comment
  7. Bubba
    Bubba 28 November, 2012, 15:56

    Just couldn’t make this up! Truth is stranger than fiction

    Reply this comment
  8. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 28 November, 2012, 16:13

    Cache, I did not mean to imply that any harm would come to you or your family, because of your statements. I was just trying to get you to show a little appreciation for the fact that you are free to say those things here.

    what I am saying is that you currently live in a free-country and people in other countries are not free to piss and moan about their own government. Central America is getting better, but do you not remember all of the people who disappeared, never to be seen again, and all of the babies that were stolen from the female prisoners. Those disappeared people were guilty of nothing more than participating in the political process and criticizing their own government. Have you not see the recent news from Syria, where whole families are being slaughtered–one scene showed the family’s dead toddler thrown on the end table, just like a chew toy. What about the 14 year-old girl in Pakistan who was shot in the head because she dared to say that women should be educated. What I’m saying to you is, you are free to say things about your government because you live in a free country. If you are in one of those other countries, you would need to watch your back and be fearful for you family members if you do publicly criticize your own government. I was just suggesting–be grateful that you have the freedom to refer to your legislators in Sacramento as, “poops”.

    Reply this comment
  9. David in Irvine
    David in Irvine 28 November, 2012, 16:23

    Biological Significance? Sounds like a fancy term for B.S.!

    Reply this comment
  10. Cacheguy
    Cacheguy 29 November, 2012, 06:20

    SeeSaw, all the more reason to continue to speak up as loud and as often as I can here so we never lose sight of the freedom we have and must keep.

    Reply this comment

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