Rich people must allow access to a public beach

Originally published at: Rich people must allow access to a public beach | Boing Boing


But when that beach erodes and their house goes tumbling down, all of a sudden they demand compensation from the government. uh huh…


Babs could not be reached for comment, as her address was removed from public records.



I think at least some of these homeowners know there’s no basis in law for excluding the public but they can afford to keep dragging their feet on access or take active measures to shoo people away because the fines and court costs are inconsequential to the super-rich.

When a security guard walks up to a family enjoying a day at the beach and says “this is a private beach, you have to go” then most people will pack up and leave rather than stay and fight. Even if they know they’re legally entitled to be there, nobody goes to the beach to get in a screaming match about property rights with some ‘roided up rent-a-cop.


The fight has been ongoing since the 1940s,

Since the 1980s, yes? The CCC was founded in the 1970s.

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Laws forbidding private ownership of beaches in California predate the CCC.


Yes but from the article:

Reaching Escondido Beach has historically been difficult, after its former homeowners put in place obscured access ways, starting in the 1980s.

Legal action ensued for decades. As outlined in a staff report from the commission, the previous landowners — Marilyn and Roger Wolk and Ken and Jeannette Chiate — were first cited after wrongly recording the location of the easement with the commission more than 40 years ago.

Obscuring began in the 1980s, legal action ensued for decades. 40 years. Seemed like a transposition error. 1980s, then 40 years of fighting became 1940s. The Constitution was ratified, with this part of it, in the 1870s, but the fight with the CCC couldn’t have predated the CCC.

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I took it to mean that property owners have been employing various tactics to keep the public away from their “private” beaches ever since the Malibu coastline was built up as an enclave for the rich in the 1940s. This particular 40-year fight was just one protracted battle in that ongoing effort.


Actually, does it pre-date the 1970s? The section 94090 (1964) is the earliest reference I could find. I thought it was in the California Constitution, but I don’t see it where I thought it would be.

The CA constitution guarantees the public right to use the shore up to the mean high tide mark.

State of the Beach/State Reports/CA/Beach Access - Beachapedia.

There are all sorts of laws and liabilities that come about trying to enforce a title owner’s right to restrict access above the mean high tide line, and calculating/proving that line is not really easy.


So, 1976, then.


Screenshot 2023-06-12 at 1.13.58 PM

The Doonesbury comics had an ongoing storyline following the legal fights with David Geffen over providing public access to the beach next to his property. When he eventually lost those battles one of the public access walkways became known as the “Zonker Harris Access Way.”



Massachusetts deeds in some cases give ownership down to the LOW tide mark. That means if your feet aren’t in the water, you’re trespassing. I hate private beaches. Some Massachusetts shore towns have such restrictive parking rules around the public beaches that it may as well be private. Good for these Californians to fight for their rights.


lisa simpson bulldozer GIF

Time to bring in the heavy equipment and make this beach easy to access.


Incidentally, there’s an app for that.


Ha ha ha, I say, Ha!


Came to post the same!

Jenny is a local hero. She actually photographed all the access gates that rich people try to lock illegally to keep you out, or let hedges grow over them so you can’t see them, stairs that they pile rocks in front of so you can’t climb them etc. Rich people will stop at nothing to break the law.


Nonsense! No normal beach-goer does that. Seems like the kind of thing you could rustle up thousands of Californians for every day, though! Just stage a constant lounge-in, only the protesters are the ones who get to call the police when they get harassed.


It’d be interesting to look at assessor maps to confirm these arguments.
Beachfront homeowners have a right to keep people off their properties. Plenty of places for us ‘middle classers’ to enjoy surf, sun, and sand.

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