Tech VC Vinod Khosla owns the very tides, sea, beaches or so he claims


Brilliant claim. California Coastal Access laws are iron clad, a federal treaty might work. Very curious to hear a legal scholar’s opinion on his claim. As a Californian I hope he opens up the road and gives the people access, but the legal case is still interesting.


From what I’m understanding, the relevant part of the treaty was that the land Mexico was ceding to the US government came with a proviso stating that individuals who had been granted portions of that land by Mexico prior to the end of the war be allowed to retain ownership of it.

However, the effects of the treaty only extend to the exchange of land between Mexico and the US at the end of the war. Whatever changes to land ownership that occured after that fact supercede it, as do any changes that occured to the laws governing that land.

It just so happens that both the public trust doctrine in the California Constitution and the California Coastal Access laws were both enacted after the treaty as, and do in fact supercede it.

Jose Antonio Alviso may have retained private ownership of the land, but it was still (by virtue of the very treaty being cited) territory of the United States of America and subject to the laws and jursidiction thereof.

When that territory was incorporated into the State of California, the Constitution of said state came into effect and the land became suject to the laws set down therin, including the provision establishing public beach access.

Then in 1976, when the California Coastal Act was signed into law, the state of California empowered the California Coastal Commission with the means and authority to guarantee and enforce that public beach access.

Despite being privately owned, the land in question is still subject to these laws. Public beach access is legally required of the land holder, and the California Coastal Commission is legally empowered to enforce it.


You know, I was somewhat sympathetic to his desire to have a road on his property be private, but this? This? Christ, what an asshole.


a lawsuit claiming that Khosla needed a California Coastal Commission permit before he could close the road or make other improvements.

Closing a road is an improvement?

I’d say the obvious solution is to invade. Take over his land and negotiate a treaty to end the invasion on the condition that all of his assets are seized.


The upside to climate change and rising sea levels - this assclown’s house will end up underwater.

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Keep your ugly fucking gold-bricking ass out of my beach community!


So if California’s Coastal Act makes beaches public,isn’t it more than a little dim that it doesn’t also mandate a public right of way to each beach from a public highway?

While there are other likely other legal arguments your interpretation would run into, the Supremacy Clause says that federal law (including treaties) trumps state and local laws.

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Except all the treaty did was determine who owned the land.

Landowners in the US still have to abide by the laws of the state in which their land is located, and the state of California requires all private land holders to provide public beach access.

It doesn’t matter that the private ownership of the land was originally conferred by treaty. (Which it technically wasn’t - it was preserved by treaty, instead of the land being seized by the US government along with all the rest). Private ownership of land does not confer sovereignty over it, nor immunity from the laws of the state whose jurisdiction that land falls under.

Unfortunately for your Supremacy Clause argument, there is no confliction between the treaty and state law. The treaty merely dictated who would own the land Mexico ceded to the United States. California state law is not contesting who owns the land - it is merely requiring that the land be made publicly accessible by its owners.


There’s a couple ways to fix this, namely have a BEach-In Occupation. Get a bunch of people to basically commit to camping on the beach, civil resistance style, over the course of a few months. I would have a series of boats, with different owners, shine a powerful searchlight on his residence at night from offshore, which is sure to drive him nuts. I suppose he could counter protest and hire his own boat to flash the other boat, or try to secure a court order barring future boats, but, again, if this is civil disobedience, to hell with the courts. It was a stupid decision by the judge.


Load a quadcopter with putrescine (or equivalent) and crop-dust his yard.


Nuke it from orbit.

It’s the only way to be sure.


[quote=“Glitch, post:10, topic:33126”]
Except all the treaty did was determine who owned the land.
[/quote]No, the federal patent issued by the California Land Commission of 1851 determined who owned the land - and it made that determination in fulfillment of US obligations under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. But it is the federal patent that controls.

Yes, actually, it does. Read the court’s decision.

[quote=“Glitch, post:10, topic:33126”]
. Private ownership of land does not confer sovereignty over it, nor immunity from the laws of the state whose jurisdiction that land falls under.
[/quote]And no one’s claiming it does, least of all the Defendants.

No, actually, it doesn’t. It might be nice if California Coastal Access were that simple, but it isn’t.

Again - read the court’s decision.

But they don’t supercede the quitclaim that is part of the federal patent, which preceded them both - read the court’s decision.


And by the way - I don’t know how obvious this is to non-Californians (or non-historians), but the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is not some obscure, rarely-invoked legal technicality.

About half of the most valuable and interesting land titles in California - including major stretches of the coastline - descend from Spanish or Mexican land grants verified by the California Land Commission of 1851 and honored under the terms of the Treaty - just like this one.

But that doesn’t mean they’re all exempt from Coastal Access rules - it’s considerably more complicated than that. If that were true, there would be no coastal access in Malibu. (Indeed, a latter-day owner of the Malibu grant fought very hard against allowing a railroad, a road, or any other public access through Malibu. She beat the railroad, but lost to the US government on the road.)

The bazillionaire isn’t claiming to own ’ the very tides, sea, and beaches.’ He’s claiming to own the tidelands (between mean high tide and mean low tide) and the dry sand, and to have no obligation to provide and maintain a public-access roadway across his private land.

And the court, based on clear and pretty much indisputable US Supreme Court precedents, says he is correct.


I think I understand your suggestion.
We wait for the tide to drop below the ‘mean-low-tide’ level and hold a conga-line party in the sliver of beach afforded to us by law.

I may have met this tech VC or one of his cronies. One of my best friends from college owns a house in the little Martin’s Beach community. His family has owned the house for a generation or so, as have many of the folks who own small beach-shacks and houses at Martin’s Beach, it’s a really sweet sliver of Half Moon Bay. You can tell by the murals and things that many families have probably enjoyed happy memories there.

Back in 2010, we were hanging out on Martin’s beach and there was this group of MTV spring breaker looking people riding ATVs with built-in stereos, having a 15-person reality television-worthy BBQ beach party. My friend, having grown up spending summers there, introduced himself and was informed that some google millionaire (or something, can’t really remember) had purchased a bunch of land along the beach, maybe it was the tech VC in question, this was a few years ago so I’m not sure.

Flash forward! Now he wants to annex a bunch of other people’s property?

I’ve attached a link to google maps satellite of the area. You can see the road he bought and wants closed off, presumably “martin’s beach road.” The road leads to a bunch of houses that he does not own; the martin’s beach community. What a selfish, sniveling little shit.

I gotta say, I find it interesting that today’s tech magnates are basically transforming into the “yuppie villains” from all those movies in the “greed is good” era of the 80s.'s+beach+ca&hl=en&ll=37.375371,-122.40697&spn=0.004024,0.00802&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=64.36916,131.396484&hnear=Martins+Beach&t=h&z=18

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I’m not sure how he’s annexing anyone’s property. According to Surfrider, residents who live on Martin’s Bay are able to use the road via access cards that open the gates. What he has done is cut off public access.

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