Monday, May 19, 2014

 Don’t Forget The Primaries!

Dear Dog Beach Advocates,

State Parks has once again responded negatively to dog beach efforts.

We don’t know why the State Parks is so vehemently against us having a pilot dog beach.  In their most recent letter to Senator Lieu after he demanded a response, there were blatant untruths, including a new one that this was “against the law” due to United States Fish and Wildlife  mandates.   I called the USFW and spoke directly with a ranger biologist who was involved in writing the regulation and discovered that the State Parks interpretation is incorrect.

Senator Lieu is now running for federal office to take over the seat of Rep. Henry Waxman, and he has a good chance of winning the primary. Because of the holidays, travel, and his new campaign, it had been hard to get a meeting with him since the letter was sent in November.  But I spoke with him last week, and he has committed to continue working on our issue this year as he will still be our state senator until 2015. He promises he will be calling for  a meeting with the State Parks reps and the USFW hopefully soon after the primaries.

Senator Lieu is a solid man who keeps his word.  Please support him in his bid for a national office by voting for him n the June 3 primaries. It will be sad to lose him as our state rep but wonderful to have a responsive rep on the national level who cares about us and about animal issues.  He has been a leader in California legislation to protect and improve the lives of animals. If you have time to help with his campaign, please call his Venice campaign office 310 399 3637.

But now we have to fill his seat with someone who will take up the battle.  I have interviewed Betsy Butler at length when she was running for our local Assemblyperson. She is a crusader for a dog beach in this area and when she was in office in South Bay took steps towards getting a dog beach there….she is adamantly interested in getting a dog beach and says she will not give up the fight.  She is like “a dog with a bone.”  She will call for meetings with all interested parties.  She already knows the facts and the players and I am convinced has great determination to help us get this much desired community project up and running.  Please vote for Betsy Butler in the primaries on June 3.

This year marks the 10th year since our first rally to get a dog beach in Santa Monica.  We have had many actions and come close several times. Sadly, many of us original members’ dogs who we were fighting for have already passed away.  But it is still a great cause. It will bring much joy and good will to those of us who will use it, as it does to those in Long Beach, Santa Barbara, Huntington Beach, Carmel and so many other communities up and down the coast.

We believe it is a civic right. We live here because we love the beach. About 40% of the population have dogs and we love to recreate with them.  We should have has many rights as those who use the beach and public lands for sports and other forms of recreation.

Use your voice at the ballot box and vote in the June primary. We’re not just voting for a candidate but also a life style.

Peace and blessings,

Georja Umano,
Founder and Pres. UTB

FYI:   BACKGROUND from 2013

2013 was an active year for promoting the pilot dog beach program in Santa Monica.  We had recruited Senator Ted Lieu to be our spokesperson and fueled him with our history and information in the uphill battle to win over State Parks and Recreation

As you will recall, after much campaigning from members of Unleash the Beach, the pilot program had already been approved by the City of Santa Monica twice. The City has agreed to pay all costs involved, monitor the beach and keep it ecologically pristine.  The approximately 60 existing dog beaches in California are there because activists have also won these approvals.

BUT in the case of Santa Monica, unfortunately, we have a “state” beach run by the city.  Even more unfortunate, Los Angelenos are stuck with an arbitrary 75 miles of coastline that are labeled “state” beaches so somehow have to also win a go-ahead from the State Parks and Recreation.  There is the rub.  The State Parks, in the past 10 years of activism has always responded with a sour note, and old disproven excuses.

We were hopeful when a new Director was appointed. We were hopeful when Senator Lieu, (who in 2006 commissioned a research project on all California dog beaches to study objections and benefits – and concluded that the objections were basically not valid and the benefits were many-) promised to take up our cause with the Parks Director.

We were also hopeful when the Secretary of Natural Resources initiated a Commission last year that went to 10 cities and particularly asked the public: what can we do to improve state parks?  What group is not being served?  We showed up at the L.A. meeting strong and clear, with reps from Sen. Lieu’s office, the City of Santa Monica, Unleash the Beach and a marine biologist.  Our friends in Santa Cruz who are now fighting for their dog beach also had a great showing at their local meeting.  And yet somehow when all was said and done the dog beach issue was basically ignored by the Commission and barely stated in its summary.


  1. Let's get some bumper stickers & shirts made to promote the cause to get more people to support us!

  2. Count me in! I have a golden retriever who loves water! Where do I sign?

  3. Are we still fighting for this great cause? I am in to help whatever you need.
    It's 2015 and I haven't read more entries since last year...