Voice of San Diego set out to determine the person who provoked the most important conversation this year.

We considered folks across arts, science, politics, education and more. We crowdsourced suggestions from our members to help inform our decision, but ultimately we made the call within the newsroom.

Key to understanding Voice of the Year is remembering the distinction is not necessarily an honor (recall our inaugural Voice of the Year was ex-Mayor Bob Filner). Nor did we set out to compile the biggest stories of the year. This list is about the people who made us face uncomfortable truths, who led our most significant policy debates and who forced us to grapple with ideas we might have ignored. Some of the people on this list were elected or hired to do this very thing — to represent people’s interests and to ensure their perspective was heard. Others got here by circumstance. But they all played a crucial role in guiding San Diego’s most prolific conversations this year.

With that in mind …

seaworld-agitators

 Voice of the Year: The SeaWorld Agitators

It’s been the whale in the room all year long.

For the past year, San Diegans have grappled with a local institution they’d long celebrated for bringing tourists to town and rescuing injured animals from local beaches. That’s all changed. Now, residents must confront a powerful, uncomfortable question: Is SeaWorld worth the jobs it provides and the education it imparts if it comes at the expense of its captive killer whales?

That conversation eventually grew to encompass virtually every corner of civic life – how we entertain our kids, how we protect workers, how the city brings in money and what our obligation is to defend a bunch of marine creatures.

A few crucial players got us here:

• The filmmakers behind “Blackfish,” the explosive documentary that argues holding killer whales in captivity damages their health, poses threats to the humans they interact with and is ultimately immoral;

• The activists inspired by the film, who blanketed social media and picketed the park in person;

• Richard Bloom, the Santa Monica assemblyman who wrote a “Blackfish”-inspired bill that would have ended SeaWorld’s business model as we know it; and

• SeaWorld itself, which ignored “Blackfish” at first, then pivoted to aggressively defend itself from the film’s charges.

Bloom’s bill was eventually tabled, but SeaWorld still took some big hits.

SeaWorld in August admitted for the first time that “Blackfish” backlash was hitting its bottom line, and declared it would spend millions on larger orca habitats – a move that both doubles down on the use of orcas and bows to concerns about their well-being.

The company’s since announced its CEO will step aside and that it’ll lay off more than 300 workers.

It’s clear, though, that SeaWorld’s fiercest critics won’t be satisfied until it pulls the plug on orca performances and confinement altogether.

Whether they get their way or not, the concessions SeaWorld has already made, the hits its bottom line has shouldered and the debate that raged for the better part of the year makes the SeaWorld agitators 2014’s Voice of the Year.

— Lisa Halverstadt and Sara Libby

Check out who else made our Voice of the Year list below. Searching for someone we missed? Email Deputy Editor Catherine Green to make the case for who we missed. We’ll round up the most compelling cases for a follow-up post later in the week.

Nicole Tempel Assisi: The Voice for Charter Schools

It was never Nicole Tempel Assisi’s goal to pick a fight with San Diego Unified. But if the district wanted to tussle, Assisi wasn’t about to back down, either.

Ian Campbell: The Voice of Our Vulnerable Arts Scene

Though he’s no longer general and artistic director of the San Diego Opera, Ian Campbell was the face of the city’s traditional, yawning monoliths. It was his company, his time holding the reins, that prompted San Diego to take stock and decide what kind of city it wanted to be.

Jane Doe: A Voice for Victims

Jane Doe, as she was known in court papers, was the final victim of former SDPD officer Anthony Arevalos. The city grappled seriously with officer behavior and the treatment of sexual misconduct victims because of her voice.

Todd Gloria: The Voice for a Progressive San Diego

Councilman Todd Gloria’s to-do list not only set the political debate, it shaped what post-Filner discourse will look like in San Diego.

Lorena Gonzalez: The Voice of Workers and Women (and Working Women)

Perhaps no one in Sacramento made more waves in 2014 than Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who aggressively pushed bills aimed at boosting workers and women.

Ed Harris and Marco Gonzalez: The Voices of the Density Debate

The city’s promise of a new kind of development is about to be put to the test. As that plays out, its disagreements among the left – including ex-Councilman Ed Harris and environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez – that will be most interesting to watch.

The Murrieta Protesters: The Voice of Nativists

The protests and an influx of young people from Central America provoked a national conversation we needed to have – about immigration, sure, but also about our national identity as a refuge for the world’s oppressed.

Jerry Sanders: The Voice of Business

Regardless of what you think about the Chamber of Commerce’s accomplishments since Jerry Sanders took the reins, you can’t deny that he has given the business coalition he represents its loudest voice in perhaps a decade.

    This article relates to: News, Share, Voice of the Year

    Written by Voice of San Diego

    74 comments
    bippo
    bippo subscriber

    Having observed the squabbling around Blackfish and Seaworld generally, it is my humble opinion that the vociferous fervor to "save" a finite number of Orca in captivity is TRIVIAL in light of the unmet needs and human suffering of millions of innocent victims of war and famine worldwide -- not to mention all the abused and neglected children in America and the homeless and ostracized mentally ill! And there are also endangered species in the wild need saving...more important in the long run...

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @bippo And who gave you the moral authority to tell people what they should be fighting for? What are YOU doing about "human" suffering? 

    Walt Brewer
    Walt Brewer subscribermember

    Far less important long run than citizens in Clairemont, etc, who obkected to mass transit oriented community plans citty attempted to impose.

    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com
    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com subscriber

    You are wrong, again.  The continued assault by you and others, like you,  has hurt the San Diego economy and the people who live here.   My eyes are wide open to your misguided efforts.

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @justin_a Your response is a clear avoidance of the question. Obviously you don't have an answer because it's not true. To think that a small group of  protesters are hurting the economy of the nations 8th largest city is nonsense. The only ones hurting SeaWorld's business is it's lousy management team. If they evolved years ago this would never have happened to them. 

    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com
    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com subscriber

    @justin_a @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com

    Wrong again.   You and others like you are responsible.  Don't try to get out of this with your high school freshmen logic.  Putting people out of work, causing them financial hardship, and adding stress to an already weak  economy is not the way to go.  Come down from your condescending tower and realize that the good, hard working people of San Diego are not buying into your story line.  Please, put more people out of work and see what it gets you.  Take care and good luck.  I've wasted enough time with you.  

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @justin_a


    In denial again.  Justin is just expressing the public sentiment that has manifested itself in SeaWorld's declining attendance and revenues.


    SeaWorld execs should have seen this coming.  The movie industry, TV, circuses and zoos adapted to the changing public opinion on use of animals for entertainment decades ago and invested into improving the animals' conditions.  SeaWorld execs have clung to an outdated model and now it is catching up with them.


    That is what is what is costing these poor folks their jobs.  Not some posts or protesters.


    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @justin_a Yet you have no problem with the CEO walking away with $10 million. Tell me Mr. Farmer are you blaming the ATM business for putting bank tellers out of business? We don't see many elevator operators around either. Can't blame the changing times on anyone. Don't go blaming the people who are against keeping orcas in captivity. They are working class people too and don't want anyone losing their jobs. They just want to SeaWorld to change. 

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @justin_a Just because we are against orcas being kept in a circus does not make us responsible for a few SeaWorld employees losing their job. No one wants people to lose their jobs however that consequence falls on a failed management team not people who are demanding a change in their business model. SeaWorld's CEO walk away with $10 million and you have no problem with that, LOL. 

    Mark Giffin
    Mark Giffin subscribermember

    Typical San Diego. 

    With all the issues facing San Diego and the players listed as being " about the people who made us face uncomfortable truths, who led our most significant policy debates and who forced us to grapple with ideas we might have ignored" 

    The 31 comments are about Orcas like its the most pressing issue.

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @Mark Giffin And typical San Diegan. Complaining about what other people are doing and not doing anything themselves.

    Shelley Watkins
    Shelley Watkins subscriber

    I drive three hours from Ventura to protest the extreme cruelty to innocent beings that is SeaWorld. Robbed of their families and freedom, exposed to painful loud music and fireworks, chemical water, I've read food is withheld if they don't perform, in a tiny pool when they should be swimming up to 100 miles per day.  I've seen videos of them refusing to perform.  So unbelievably sad their lives are.

    SeaWorld could so easily create a sanctuary there for the ones they cannot release.  They could have cameras in the sanctuary so visitors can view them enjoying as normal/natural a life as possible from giant screens.  They could create animatronic whales and dolphins much like Dinosaurs Alive!  They could have rides, a water park, rescues.  They could even have animatronic orca rides.  They could easily turn it around.  They would probably have more visitors, including me and others who would never support the cruelty they dole out now.  Come on, SeaWorld, stop torturing animals and robbing them of their lives!  

    Sara Wan
    Sara Wan subscriber

    It is unfortunate that the article has comments in it that create the impression it is biased.  The use of the term "agitators" for instance rather than something like "activists" and even more, the comment "for a bunch of marine creatures" which belittles the importance of the Orcas.  Orcas are highly intelligent animals and should be treated with respect.  They do not deserve to be kidnapped from their home and imprisoned for the pleasure of humans.  We send people to jail because they deserve it.  What did these Orcas do to deserve to be sent to jail, tortured and eventually die?

    Martha Sullivan
    Martha Sullivan subscribermember

    Thanks to CCTS for posting that NOAA report on the federal grant program for rescues and rehab. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. touts its rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals and birds. This mega-corporation with 11 theme parks, which generates $1 Billion+ revenue annually, took $1.75 Million in grants for this purpose from the Federal Government from 2001 - 2010 (incl. its Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute nonprofit) -- which means that nonprofits who do this full-time DIDN'T. See pages 14 - 24 of this Federal report: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/prescott/prescott_report_01-10_final.pdf.

    Linda Tegarden
    Linda Tegarden subscriber

    Without intending to, I played a great straightwoman allowing for your impassioned defence of the protesters and their opposition to SeaWorld.  I have a healthy cynicism of protesters for the reason I stated--but your citations and point of view are very convincing.  

    I take exception to the PETA folk --InMHO as having done no good anywhere they appear.  They kill 93% of the dogs they "rescue" for example.  Their founder is certifiably nuts. But your other information is compelling. 

    http://www.savingluna.com/  One of the best documentaries I've seen in the past few years...captivity of another sort.  

    Martha Sullivan
    Martha Sullivan subscribermember

    Read up on the guy funded by industries to discredit their critics, including PETA: "Richard B. (Rick) Berman is a former labor management attorney and restaurant industry executive who currently works as a lobbyist for the food, alcoholic beverage, and tobacco industries. He is the sole owner of Berman & Co., which sponsors many non-profit front groups that defend his corporate clients' interests by attacking their critics, allowing his paying clients to remain out of public view.

    "He 'receives millions of dollars from business to fight unions and oppose a higher minimum wage,' according to the New York Times.[5]

    "He is the President, Executive Director, and Director of the Center for Organizational Research and Education (CORE, called the Center for Consumer Freedom/CCF until early 2014).[6] In spite of its former name, CORE is more concerned about industry than the consumer.

    "Berman is also the Executive Director and President of the Employment Policies Institute,[1] the Employment Policies Institute Foundation, the American Beverage Institute, and the Center for Union Facts.[7]

    "According to a July 31, 2006, profile of Berman in USA Today, his company has 28 employees and takes in $10 million dollars a year, but "only Berman and his bookkeeper wife" know how much of the $10 million ends up in their own pockets.[8]

    "Rick Berman has earned the nicknames "Dr. Evil," the "Conservatives' Weapon of Mass Destruction" and the "Astroturf Kingpin" for his repeated use of the strategy of forming non-profit front groups that advocate for the interests of big business while shielding those same businesses from disclosing financial support for these efforts.[9][10]."

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Rick_Berman

    Linda Tegarden
    Linda Tegarden subscriber

    @Martha Sullivan Sorry, I do not appreciate the tactic of discrediting opposition to a person, an entity or movement by flooding the discussion and obfuscating the essential issue by handing out a Berman negative biography.  Who cares about him? Sorry you lost my vote there.  As far as someone getting millions to fight unions--how else are they supposed to do it?  Silly.   PETA is BAD; can't hide from that.


    Martha Sullivan
    Martha Sullivan subscribermember

    The information circulated about PETA is for this very intent. "If you are in the business of putting veal or beef on the tables of America, and slaughtering more than a million animals per hour, and making an awful lot of money at it, you are going to try to neutralize PETA or other animal-rights groups."--Dr. Neal Barnard on the Center for Consumer Freedom.

    http://www.whypetaeuthanizes.com.

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @Linda Tegarden @Martha Sullivan How is this about PETA. Most people who see the inherent cruelty in SeaWorld have nothing to do with PETA. Don't let your hatred of PETA make you blind to the cruelty SeaWorld perpetuates in it's circuses. 

    Linda Tegarden
    Linda Tegarden subscriber

    @Martha Sullivan I can only assume you are either related to Ingrid Newkirk or somehow in PETA's employ...there is no other way to justify their existence.  http://nypost.com/2012/03/05/first-lets-kill-all-the-animals/  And to Justin, PETA as I recall was one of the protesting organizations at SeaWorld.  Their mere presence puts me automatically on the other side.  


    And Margaret, PETA took in $37 million for 2011 according to the NYPost article.  Since they kill nearly all the animals they take in under bogus pretenses, what do they do with the money--not housing or rehabbing animals, are they? 


    What is the conclusion for all of this duel of competing media citations?  There is a shitload of money to be made in the animal protection industy.  Most of it covered in blood.  I am thoroughly disgusted and leave it at that.

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @Linda Tegarden @Martha Sullivan PETA is not an animal shelter. Why would anyone bring their dog or cat to them. It's all a lie perpetrated by a lobby group for the Beef and Tobacco industry called Center for Consumer Research. What SeaWorld does is wrong regardless of PETA or your opinion of them.

    Grammie
    Grammie subscribermember

    The real goal is to eliminate SeaWorld completely. Follow the money, how many developers have their eyes on a nice piece of real estate? 

    Grammie
    Grammie subscribermember

    @Shelley Watkins @Grammie We already have "rides" at Mission Beach. We have water rides in San Diego. For those requiring more inspirational "rides", Disneyland is right up the road. They have animatronics galore. We did away with giant screens when we closed drive-in movies. 

    More remunerative would be the kind of development the builders are planning.

    Shelley Watkins
    Shelley Watkins subscriber

    @Grammie The goal of this animal activist is to stop them from using and abusing animals.  They could so easily create a sanctuary there for the ones they cannot release.  Maybe have cameras in the sanctuary so visitors can view animals enjoying as normal/natural a life as possible from giant screens.  SeaWorld could create animatronic whales and dolphins much like Dinosaurs Alive!  They could have rides and water rides, rescues.  They could even have animatronic orca rides!  They could easily turn it around.  They would probably have more visitors, including me and others who would never support the cruelty they dole out now.  

    Judith Swink
    Judith Swink subscriber

    @Grammie The Sea World leasehold is within Mission Bay Park. Mission Bay Park is partly Public Trust tidelands and non-tideland acres. All is dedicate parkland having specific limits on types of use of dedicated parkland. 

    There is a limit of 25% land area and 6.5% water area which can be leased, and the leases must be consistent with the City Charter and State Public Trust Tidelands constraints. Because of recent and possible future lease changes, additional acreage might become available but still must meet "recreational parkland uses" criteria. On non-tidelands dedicated parkland, a 2/3 majority vote is required to alter that (it's part of the City Charter, Section 55). Changes for Tidelands uses are governed by State law so have an additional hurdle. Neither types of changes are likely to be approved.

    Neither private residential use or other development uses which are not consistent under the S. D. City Charter (see Section 55 of the Charter) or under Public Trust tidelands designation (both constraints apply to the tidelands) are possible nor are they available to "developers". Any proposed leases must go through substantial public review before being consider by City Council.

    CCTS
    CCTS subscriber

    @Linda Tegarden If you listened to people other than Seaworld who at the end of the day have their own agenda, you would have found - 

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/24/opinion/blackfish-captive-orcas-solutions/

    http://www.seaworldofhurt.com/peta-shareholder-resolution-offers-bailout-plan-seaworld/

    http://voiceoftheorcas.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-cure-for-toxic-seaworld-is.html

    As for the injured and rescues, again you have fallen for Seaworld hype. Prescott fund pays for rescues check page 20 on here,  http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/prescott/prescott_report_01-10_final.pdf or Prescott on NOAA's website.


    They and people worldwide demonstrate as they care about the welfare of those orcas, science has proved they don't do well in captivity. 45 dead orcas and 244 dead dolphins in 50 years has proved they don't do well in captivity and despite Seaworld saying they have top vets, top food, top care, they still cannot outlive their wild counterparts.


    People are not stupid, they can't go back to the open ocean as Seaworld has 14 hybrids with no conservation value what so ever, inbred Nalani and Adan, orcas needing tooth flushing as they damaged their teeth, orcas on meds, like Unna who's health was so compromised by her young miscarriage she has been on medication ever since. They CAN however put the family matralines back together as they HAVE separated mothers from their offspring, bring those young orcas back from Loro Parque so they can see their families again and let them all live as near to natural as possible. They can then continue their rescues and have a new exhibit which could be relayed back to the park.


    You just need to check outside sources to prove that those you have been made to believe are hateful, nasty activists are actually not they are just people who didn't get sucked into Seaworld's hype and lies


    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    I was a season pass holder to SeaWorld. It's good to have another side to this issue. I can understand that these are not the ideal living conditions for these orcas. These fact are there, 3 trainers killed, the premature deaths, the drilled out teeth, the inbreeding, the drugs they need to keep these animals to survive in tanks and the stupid shows with them performing unnatural tricks. SeaWorld has failed to show me how they are better off performing in a tank than being set free in some sort of open sea pen. It's 2014, do we really need to be splashed by an orca in a tank anymore?

    Linda Tegarden
    Linda Tegarden subscriber

    Agree with Mr. Farmer.  Notice the absence of any plan that would actually help the mammals at SeaWorld or other water parks.  What would be a better structure to assist the injured, orphaned or othewise compromised animals?  What about all the knowledge gained from the decades of working with the orcas and other residents there at SeaWorld.  If they weren't used in performances, how could one generate enough money to keep them?  


    Many activists, and I suspect these SeaWorld protesters among them, demonstrate for the sake of demonstration--being involved in a cause is the motive.

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @Linda Tegarden Actually if you did your research you would know that there is a plan for these animals to be released to open sea pens where they could still be protected and rehabilitated but still be in the real Sea World not some barren sterile tank. Many everyday average citizens can show compassion for another living thing without being some sort of agitator. It's only common sense that keeping orcas in a circus is neither educational, moral or ethical in 2014.

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    @Linda Tegarden SeaWorld's research focused primarily on data that would help them keep captive orcas alive longer or how to breed orcas in captivity. 

    As to rescue animals, non-profits and organizations other than SeaWorld cover the vast majority of US coastline today.  In 2013, a single non-profit in San Pedro, CA saved 200 more sea mammals than all SeaWorld parks combined. 

    SeaWorld should divert the money they have earmarked for the bigger orca tanks to building a cetacean sanctuary sea pen or multiple sea pens.  Retire the cetaceans to these sea pens. SeaWorld can charge admission to see them there without the entertainment shows (that is what zoo's do essentially).  Release those that can eventually be released.  Stop the breeding program.  That would buy SeaWorld at least a decade to transition to a new business model.

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @Linda Tegarden It's funny Linda, they said the same thing about people who marched for civil rights.

    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com
    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com subscriber

    The "animal activists" are not concerned about animals in any capacity.  Their efforts to disrupt the economic stability of this city is their primary objective.  VoSD recognition of their negative efforts confirms your true intent, i.e., to be a participant in putting people out of work.  

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com Are you serious? Many everyday average people are concerned about the plight of these marvelous creatures that continue to languish in these barren tanks over at SeaWorld. The film Blackfish definitely opened many people's eyes and gave a different perspective than the biased one SeaWorld has been giving us for the past 50 years. While no one wants to see people out of work we also don't want to lack compassion and sensitivity for a fellow living creature. I do as a regular citizen have concerns about the physical and mental health of these animals along with the 3 trainers that have died working with them. Time to open your eyes and mind my friend.

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @justin_a I was appalled at how many orcas SeaWorld stuffed in tiny tanks devoid of any semblance of their natural habitat on my first and only visit to SeaWorld.  I was opposed to orca captivity before Blackfish was ever contemplated.  Further research into independent sources cemented my opinion against orca captivity.

    Disrupting the fiscal stability of San Diego never even entered my thought process.  It was SeaWorld Orlando where I was disillusioned.My concern was 100% about the welfare of the animals.

    Never been a PETA supporter.  I am an ex-military, pro-business, engineer and business executive, and a Republican.  But that does not mean I support animal cruelty. 

    SeaWorld tanks with all the gates open, equate to about 0.05 acres per orca.  The rule of thumb for horses is about 1 acre per horse.  You can see the amount of space afforded each orca is about three body lengths by two body lengths. That is horrible for a creature that in the wild even swims in its sleep.  It is no wonder they die so young compared to their wild counterparts.

    Even circuses retire their animals.  SeaWorld works them til they die.  Time for SeaWorld to switch its business model.  The tide of popular opinion has turned against them.  They cannot put this genie back in the bottle.

    CCTS
    CCTS subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @justin_a well look on official documents then, necropsy reports, animal profiles, medical examiners reports, and court transcripts, freedom of information made those available and blew open access to proving all the lies. 

    Look up the OSHA v Seaworld trial, Seaworld tried to say Blackfish blamed Dawn for her death when the truth is Chuck Tompkins and Jeff Andrews blamed Dawn, they actually did it in a court when transcripts were being taken. They spent so long saying it wasn't them etc etc and its a downright lie, as are many other things that can now be discovered.

    Seaworld are the ones who are flawed take that blurred vision and look it all up for yourself.

    CCTS
    CCTS subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com Don't be ridiculous. Many plans have been put forward to Seaworld and they don't want to know. What is their solution - to say they will ship their animals and take their business abroad. So who is the one attempting to disrupt the economy? 

    Does Tilikum look like he is having a great time to you, refusing to perform and behaving like this.  I find it hard to believe that people paid to see this only a week or so ago and can't see there is something wrong here. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwD2cumrf8Y


    The bottom line is some people take notice of the available science and fight for what is best for those orcas, some people couldn't care less as long as they have a good time. There is no grey area in the welfare of those cetaceans.


    If you want any factual evidence for anything at all just ask.

    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com
    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com subscriber

    @CCTS @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com

    Your "bottom line" analogy is misleading.  As to the rest of your logic, I would suggest you reevaluate your intentions and concept.  The destruction of people's jobs is not an effort I would want to be a participant or associated with.  Last, the use of "orcas" is incorrect; the proper scientific name for this mammal is, Orcinus Orca. 

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @shrkb8 @justin_a

    I have checked my facts, they are correct and supportable.

    The tank per orca data is derived from SeaWorld data directly.  The short average lifespan is quantifiable based on FOIA'ed data on captive orcas.  The lifespan of wild orcas is documented in independent research and observations.  The statement that circuses retire their animals if verifiable, for example go to the Barnum and Bailey's Circus website and click on the animal welfare information.  SeaWorld has no place to retire cetaceans to.   Popular opinion has been documented in national surveys, but it is supported by SeaWorld's own financial statements.

    So please tell me what you contend is inaccurate and enlighten us with what you believe to be the correct information.

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @CCTS @justin_a

    SeaWorld has continued to be in business for 50 years because:

    1) The public was unaware of the plight of the orcas and other cetaceans.
    2) SeaWorld pays a lot of money to lobby for favorable standards and laws
    3) SeaWorld buys influence over politicians through campaign donations.  
    4) SeaWorld misrepresents the truth, much the way tobacco companies misrepresented the risks of smoking, and many politicians and members of the public bought it.

    5) The tide of public opinion has only recently changed against SeaWorld

    So the fact that SeaWorld survived 50 years is no predictor of its future.

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @justin_a So 3 trainers were not killed? 45 orcas have not died prematurely in SeaWorld's "care", orcas are not given psychotropic meds to make them cope with the stress of captivity, the orcas can swim out of the tanks and return to ocean after doing their performance...oh okay yeah the film was inaccurate. Instead of just making a blanket statement please tell me how the film was inaccurate. 

    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com
    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com subscriber

    @shrkb8 @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @justin_a

    You are wrong, again.  It's about yours and others like you, who want to put people out of work.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Stay "focused" on the real issue, i.e., your efforts to hurt people's livelihood and families.  That is the one and only issue.   

    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com
    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com subscriber

    @bs88 @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @shrkb8 @justin_a

    Wrong, again, on two points.  One, you're hurting innocent people of San Diego by taking away their jobs.  Second, you are telling me what source I can cite and which one I can not?  Proof positive of your primary objective to silence anyone who disagrees with you.  Continue in the direction you are going, the public is awake, seeing clearly that your "cause" is a fraud.    

    bs88
    bs88 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @bs88 @shrkb8 @justin_a Blackfish is getting blamed for all problems SW has created, no links here coming from Blackfish..so would not be right if the ONLY info you give is from a very one sided Seaword now would it...so that is why I say other than sw where are there documents links to the science they are claiming they have collected in 50 years...is that hard to do? 


    And NO the only ones hurting the people/whales are SW, no one wants them to close down.  They are the ones that want to keep going as they are, they know its coming to an end..they are the ones that held out so long the stocks went down, people lost their jobs...so instead of holding out until they have to close down..change things, I for one would love to see the whales, not like they are.

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    Quibblng, but you've only spelled out the singular Latin name. The referenced statement was plural.

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    Wrong again. My objective is humane treatment of cetaceans. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    You keep saying I am wrong, yet you fail to point out any statements I've made that are inaccurate. It is you who are wrong about my motives and objective.....my only issue is humane treatment of cetaceans. It is SeaWorld who puts those jobs at risk by ignoring public sentiment.

    bs88
    bs88 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @CCTS SMH with all the links and information you were given here...THIS is your answer? How is all this information misleading..did you not read these post? People's jobs should NOT be at the expense of another.. That is your one bit of science I have seen...the scientific name...I will agree Seaworlds bottom line analogy is misleading...had been for 50 years..nothing has changed in 50 years when it come to "they want to make money"..that's how it started that is what it is now...the little things they do to look good doesn't take away from the bad they are doing.

    justin_a
    justin_a subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @justin_a How was the film flawed? The truth is right there, 3 deaths, whales in tiny tanks, the drugs they pump them with. It doesn't take a film to know what SeaWorld does is wrong. 

    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com
    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com subscriber

    @shrkb8

    Misinformation, from you and others, has done great harm to our city and the public.  Your inability to accept responsibility is unfortunate.  

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @shrkb8 You can stick your head in the sand and non-concur all you like.  It doesn't change the fact that my objective is purely the welfare of the cetaceans.  

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @shrkb8 What a nonsensical post.  Please point out where my statements are inaccurate.  


    You haven't yet, because you can't.  You have nothing to back your opinion.


    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @shrkb8 Please provide evidence of where my position is false.   You can't because you have nothing to back your attacks.


    Space per orca is about 0.05 acres.  


    Circuses retire their performing animals.  SeaWorld does not.


    Average lifespan of a SeaWorld orca is in the teens.  Wild male orcas average 31 year lifespan.  Average wild female orca lifespan is 46 years.


    Nationwide poll on orca captivity... over 50% oppose it.  Only  1 in 4 support it.  24% strongly oppose it.  Only 8% strongly support it.  Results supported by SeaWorld financial reports on drops in attendance and revenues while other entertainment parks grew in both.


    SeaWorld's refusal to adapt to the changes in public sentiment are the root cause for the layoffs.  Blackfish may have been a catalyst for action, but the underlying groundswell had been growing for quite some time.  


    You seem in denial Mr. Farmer.  But feel free to post some evidence to the contrary.

    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com
    thomas.farmer46@gmail.com subscriber

    @shrkb8 @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com

    Wrong again.   Not denial but disagreement.  Which appears to make you feel very uneasy.  It's my impression, baaed on your previous replies and illogical comments you do not like to be told your are wrong.  So, one more time for the record:  You and others like you are responsible for putting people out of work, causing them financial hardship, and adding additional stress to an already weak economy.  This is not the way to win the hearts and minds of people.   Come down from your condescending tower and realize that the good, hard working people of San Diego are not buying into your story line.  Put more people out of work and see what it gets you.  Take care.  I've wasted enough time with you.

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @shrkb8 Not uneasy at all.  You just repeatedly say my position is based on false information yet you fail to state what is false.  You have wasted everyone's time by just repeating we were wrong without providing one shred of evidence discrediting our position.


    I am not going to support a company that is inhumane to its animals.  If SeaWorld cleans up its act, maybe people will support it again.  But times have changed as has public sentiment toward animals used in entertainment.  Zoo's, circuses, TV and movie industries adapted decades ago.  Any loss of jobs is on the backs of the SeaWorld executives who refused to heed the warnings and migrate to more humane tanks and treatment of their animals or to a new business model.  You should be writing to the new CEO of SeaWorld rather than attacking people opposed to animal cruelty.   SeaWorld is going to continue to spiral down if they do not do something differently fast.  The clock is ticking and they continue to squander valuable time.

    shrkb8
    shrkb8 subscriber

    @thomas.farmer46@gmail.com @bs88 @shrkb8 @justin_a


    Flawed logic.  Opposing orca cruelty may in the end cost people jobs.  But that hardly means that is the objective.  


    The objective is to stop the cruelty.  Plain and simple.  SeaWorld execs ignoring that sentiment is what is the root cause of job losses.  The longer SeaWorld execs ignore this sea change in public sentiment the more people will be out of jobs at SeaWorld.