News Archive (2003 - 05)

Newsworthy Events and Announcements
Many thank yous to all who made the Benefit for Hurricane Animals party a big success.  $2,800 will be divided between two local Santa Monica charities:  Half is going to Animal General Hospital so they can continue to supply needed  vet services and medicines in the Gulf.  The other half is going to Rescue for Ruffugees at Much Love Animal Rescue.  They are working with New Leash On Life in finding foster care for dogs coming to Los Angeles.  They are going to create new channels for people to reclaim their pets--especially the ones that have been flown to Los Angeles.  Unleash The Beach is happy to be a benefactor to those helping the animals in such need.
   Volunteers are needed for the project to find animals' owners as well as to foster animals coming to L.A.  If you can help, please write to   If you have the ability to go to the Gulf for a day or more, volunteers are still urgently needed.  For more information, write to Dave Kaplowitz at
  All the wonderful performers, volunteers, donors and sponsors made for a terrific party.  Special thanks are due to the Edgemar Theatre which allowed us to use their beautiful space, to Eric Ahlberg for bringing together the many talented musicians and performers who knocked our socks off all evening long, to Rick Clarke of Ricks Tavern for keeping the wine flowing as well as making a sizable monetary donation.
  Be sure to patronize Ricks Tavern as well as the other business contributors:  Anthony Hitt Westside Team at Sotheby's, Off The Wall Catering, C&O Cucina, Chaya Venice, Sidewalk Cafe, Stroh's Deli,  Market Gourmet, Vegan Traders, Tao Healing Arts, Omelette Parlor, The Galley, Izzy's, Panini, Starbucks on Ashland and Main, Peets Coffee, Wagging Tail, Tails of Santa Monica, and DermaPet.    Be sure and tell them you appreciate their generosity and caring for the animals
August 9, 2005  Just a short note during the dog days of summer.  Unleash The Beach, is now in the process of becoming non profit organization 501c3, and all donations from the past 18 months may be counted as tax deductible.  We are being represented by Loeb &  Loeb law firm for our papers. Ian Landgreen is our representative, and also now our secretary.  A few people who have done many hours of volunteer work during the year have stepped up to a term on the board of directors:  Gary Cadish, Susan DiRende, Bruce Favish, Risa Freeman, Gerald Jones, Michelle Jones, and myself.  We welcome others to step up and help with the efforts too.  Anyone who is  versed in law, science or local politics is especially welcome.  Please let us know if you have any of these skills and are willing to brainstorm with us.
  It has been over a year since we started Unleash the Beach with our rally last summer.  Since then, we have won support from many local representatives and increased our email lists to well over 800 active members.  We have 100 names of volunteers who have committed themselves to be beach cleaners and monitors one hour per week during our pilot program.  We have attracted a few sponsors.  We have participated in dozens of commissions and meetings regarding various aspects of getting a dog beach pilot program.
  The way we see it, moving forward will be a three thronged approach:  1) Environmental:  we are investigating ways to prove to the naysayers that in exchange for a pilot dog beach, our group of responsible dog owner/guardians will actually enhance the quality of the beach.   2)  Security:  we are putting together plans to assure that the beach is run in a manner that is safe and secure for all.    3) And this is the biggest one:  we are delving into the world of our legal rights as citizens, as residents entitled to use part of the state beach for our recreational needs.
  Additionally, when we have put together a clear encompassing proposal, we will fundraise.  We will be able to use the talents of anyone who is good at this, or wants to be,  and willing to roll up your sleeves.  I am sure when there is a light at the end of the tunnel, many will step forward in support.
Enjoy the rest of your summer.  I envision seeing us all on the beach with our pups in the coming year.
April 29, 2005 Our letter to  Santa Monica City Council: We have recently submitted a refutation (see separate page on this site) to the March 8, 2005 letter from Ron Schafer, our State District Parks and Recreation Superintendent, to Elaine Polachek, City of Santa Monica. Mr. Schafer is categorically against dog beaches and has brought up many objections. Members of Unleash The Beach have addressed his stated concerns at the recent Environmental Task Force meeting, where our proposal was largely supported.
Unleash The Beach has hundreds of responsible dog owners who are willing to keep the beach clean, to monitor, and to raise funds in order to help establish a pilot program.  As the late Mike Gordon said, “dog owners deserve an opportunity to show they can responsibly enjoy off-leash recreational activities.”  As Al Donner of US Fish and Wildlife Service has said, "We’re in the business of building partnerships with people.”  Now is the time for our city to take a stand with us.
One of the main concerns about a dog beach in Santa Monica early on was the fear that it would be wildly popular and thus overrun, since there are no other dog beaches in northern Los Angeles County. 
Dockweiler Beach in El Segundo, has recently been promoted as a pilot dog beach in the state legislature. Ron Schafer, also the district superintendent for that area, raises all the same objections to that beach, but he is being overruled. Dockweiler  has already been unanimously approved by the  Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife and the Appropriations Committee.  It has passed with a huge majority in the Assembly and is on its way to the Senate in 2006 for the second time.  This will be a mile long beach that will accommodate Los Angelenos and their dogs. 
By comparison, the Santa Monica Dog Beach that we have proposed would be a smaller, boutique beach.  It will only be one tenth the size of Dockweiler, and as we propose it, it will require a special beach license.  In order to get the license, one must prove one’s dog is vaccinated and registered, and one must sign a waiver of liability.  One must also pay a fee.  We propose to raise the funds to have the storm drain cleaned more often at the site, which would definitely improve the quality of the water.  We also propose to partner with the Marine Mammal Rescue by sharing our signage with educational notices about what to do if one encounters a beached marine mammal.   The license fees will aid in the implementing of beach monitors.
We know the dog beach will be a great asset and amenity to the Santa Monica Beach.  A pilot program will test this for all to see.
Thank you for your help in seeing this through in a timely manner.  We have done our homework and now we look to you.
Georja Umano Jones
President, Unleash The Beach  
April 18, 2005: On the third official meeting regarding the dog beach, the Task Force has voted overwhelmingly to give the go ahead to the City Council regarding the dog beach if certain requirements will be met.  These include daily water monitoring with zero tolerance for water quality impacts, no significant impacts to any animal life, adequate bags and trash receptacles, and that it be structured to minimize fiscal impact on other environmental programs.
With great appreciation to all the volunteers who helped to research negative claims that were made and present the facts, kudos to:  Mary Hubbel, Susan DiRende, Gary Cadish, Elaine Gervasi, Risa Freeman, Ian Landgreen, Alan Krugel, Joy Oaks, Bruce Favish, and Georja Umano.  This is a great omen towards encouraging the City Council to find a way around the contrary position of our State District Superintendent of Parks and Recreations, Ron Schafer.  We will be submitting a written refutation of his letter to our city officials.
Concurrently, congratulations to our sister group Freeplay.  The legislative bill of Mike Gordon to establish a pilot dog beach at Dockweiler has passed the state assembly and is now being viewed in the State Senate!!!!!
A lot of work remains, including major fundraising to set up these programs, but the momentum is with us (as well as the force?) We are definitely on the road to success!!!!
March 30, 2005: Mike Gordon’s legislation to implement a pilot off-leash dog beach at Dockweiler, AB359, sailed through the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife unanimously! (They have the same state district superintendent as SM.) Legislation would supersede anything a district superintendent might say. There are still a few committees to go.
January 11, 2005: Tonight we scored a terrific victory for Unleash The Beach and dog lovers everywhere! The Santa Monica City Council has approved a motion for the City Staff to work with Unleash The Beach in implementing a pilot program for a dog beach on the Santa Monica shore!!!
  Congratulations to everyone who has volunteered and put positive energy into the campaign! Special thanks to all who came to the City Council meeting and waited patiently until our item finally came up. Many of you were prepared to speak up for the cause. Since we were advised at the last minute it was better to keep our numbers down, many of you also graciously bowed out. What a great team.
  Eeryone was brilliant. And thanks to all those who wrote so many letters, too!
  This is only the beginning. We are starting the process of forming a nonprofit organization and will need the participation and support of many people to be the smashing success we know we can be. Already 56 people have signed a list to volunteer to monitor and if necessary clean the beach one hour per week during the pilot program. Anyone who can add their name to that list, please write in and include your phone number. If you have time and a burning desire to work with me and the city staff, please let us know that too.
   On another positive note, we also did a presentation to the executives of the Chamber of Commerce. They received our report very positively as well and will address it at their next general meeting.
  We would like to get their support in a big way, especially since making Santa Monica more dog friendly will definitely add to the economy of the city. We would like to get their help in sponsoring a contest to find a great name for our soon-to-be new world-class dog beach!
June 12, 2004: The kickoff meeting of Unleash the Beach was held on Saturday, in the Community Room at Joslyn Park. Mayor pro tem Kevin McKeown attended and kindly expressed his support. 

News Stories
"Arnold Drops Plan to Kill Stray Pets in 72 Hours," Salt Lake Tribune, June 26, 2004
"It's a Dog-Need-Park World: SM Should Loosen the Leash," by Carole Orlin in Common Sense (Opinion), Santa Monica Daily Press, Monday, June 21, 2004, p. 5
"'Unleash the Beach' Group Wants Off-Leash Dog Zone," The Argonaut, June 17, 2004, p. 40
"Dog Beach Advocates Prepare for Big Push," by Kevin Allardice, Santa Monica Mirror, June 16-22, 2004
"Heel the Bay: Visions of a Dog-Friendly Beach No Joke," by John Wood, Santa Monica Daily Press, Tuesday, June 15, 2004, front page
"Unleash the Beach Needs Help to Make Dog Beach a Reality," Pet Press, June-July, 2004
"Tails of the City: Little Dogs Have Their Day," by Kathleen Herd Masser, Santa Monica Mirror, May 5-11, 2004

Letters to the Editor

"Dog Owners Promise to Pick Up," Martin Senat (Huntington Dog Beach), Santa Monica Daily Press, July 2, 2004, p. 7
"Give the Beach to the Dogs," Daryl Barnett (Dog Beach Now), Santa Monica Daily Press, July 2, 2004, p. 7
"The Beach Is No Place for a Dog," Santa Monica Daily Press, June 29, 2004
"Give the Dogs Their Day," Georja Umano Jones (Unleash the Beach), Santa Monica Daily Press, June 28, 2004, p. 7
"The Q-Line: Dog-Day Afternoons Not for Everyone," Santa Monica Daily Press, June 26-27, 2004
"The Q-Line," Santa Monica Daily Press, June 22, 2004
"Leash the Rhetoric," Michelle Jones (Santa Monica), Santa Monica Daily Press, Weekend Edition, June 19-20, 2004, p. 4
"Are You Gonna Bark All Day, Little Doggy?" Henry Rosenfeld (Santa Monica), Santa Monica Daily Press, Weekend Edition, June 19-20, 2004, p. 4
"Kibbles and Bits of Encouragement," Jeff Goodman (Santa Monica), Santa Monica Daily Press, Thursday, June 17, 2004, p. 4
"Foaming at the Mouth," Don Johnson (Venice Beach), Santa Monica Daily Press, Thursday, June 17, 2004, p. 4