Billionaire told he can't block access to public beach


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When you’re a billionaire there’s very little incentive to avoid breaking any laws that won’t land you in jail—fines only work if they’re big enough for the subject to notice the loss. The judge’s ruling is a good step, but what really needs to happen is for Mr. Moneybags to spend a few days in a small and uncomfortable cell.


It’s like you can read my mind.


Who can comment on the laws surrounding interaction with hired security guards? If they say stop and you say hi and keep walking, what happens, legally and practically? If they lay hands on you, is that legal or are they committing assault and battery? Can they do anything other than take your picture and call for police?


I remain baffled that property-owners in California don’t have the right to determine who can go onto the property that they own. It’s not like the government is going to compensate him for the Taking of the land that they’re not allowing him to exercise control over.


This is not property that he owns. This is public land, and he (presumably) knew that upon receiving the title disclosures prior to purchasing the land. He just chose to be an asshole about it.


I can tell you that if you are carrying a lot of cash and you’re a bit jumpy and you overreact to being suddenly accosted from behind and you knock a private cop unconscious, the real cops find this highly amusing.

Uhmmm, or, that’s what my friend said, um, yah. My friend did that! Definitely not me.

Probably doesn’t turn out so well if there’s more than one. Could get ugly.


Security guards are civilians. They have no authority whatsoever.


They don’t own the beach.


I think what @DerekBalling is referring to as the “property owners” are the people of California who, if I remember correctly, are the owners of the beach and access to it under the California constitution. If you read @DerekBallings comments with that understanding, it’s a completely different, and rather enlightening perspective.

Then again if @DerekBalling was under the misapprehension that somehow an individual could own the beach and access to it under California law, well of course that would be a pretty stupid comment.


I believe the protocol for beachfront property is that your property goes down to the mean tide line; meaning halfway between the usual high tide line and the usual low tide line. So any random beachgoer should be able to casually saunter twixt the waves and your house at low tide without trespassing on your land or getting their tootsies unnecessarily soaked. Anything seaward of the mean tide line is public land.


I apologize for going off topic, but: at first I could only see the top half of the first image, and was totally convinced those were a woman’s eyes. Made it take a lot longer for my brain to decode the rebus.


I think that this guy’s original argument was that his property is covered by an old native treaty that makes it exempt from CA law. I’ll do a search when I get home…v
@glenblank has it below - Spanish land grant (not native treaty)

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Also, make fines be marginal to the net wealth of the violator.

You have a billion dollars in liquid assets, and were going 80mph in a 20mph schoolzone? That’ll be $120,000,000.


Its a little more nuanced than that. The land in question isn’t the beach itself, which no one disputes is public, but the land between the highway and the beach, which everyone agrees belongs to Vinod. But according to the California Coastal Act, if there’s been a history of public access to that beach, the access has to remain forever. In other words, Vinod has to let people walk through his land.

Vinod was arguing that since the previous owners always charged money for that access ($5), it was never public access to begin with, and so he had a legal right to close it.

As a landless pleeb living in California I’m endlessly grateful to the Coastal Commission for preserving public access to the glorious Pacific Ocean. That gratitude is reaffirmed whenever I’m on the east coast, trying to get a peek at the Atlantic through all the No Trespassing signs and security gates. But I could sure see being at odds with the Coastal Commission if I owned a piece of that Pacific coast…

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if youre baffled, please look up access easements. its a public resource, and he has the responsibility to not interfere with public access.

so says the law.


i support a 20 foot tall neon orange plastic fence crossing this mans property, to demarcate the public access


Definitely agreed, but its interesting to note that when a billionaire or high profile person breaks the law their punishment is more in the public shaming. Personally I’d rather pay a few $$$ than have my fuck ups made public.

But that’s the crux of it. It’s not public land. It’s private land that he actually holds the deed to that – because previous owners have allowed folks to cut through – he’s now being forced to continue to allow them that access.

The ownership of the land in question was NEVER a matter of factual debate. Solely whether or not he had to allow people to cross over that land.