« Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 6 NFP) | Main | Courts - "Same-sex marriage cases are now in progress in five federal appeals courts" »

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Law - "It’s Privacy vs. the People in the Battle for Martin’s Beach"

We've recently had our own beach lakefront access/ownership disputes in Indiana. Here is a lengthy story from Adam Nagourney of the NY Times on June 15th, about a dispute involving a Pacific beachfront property. A few quotes:

California is a state with many beautiful beaches and almost as many millionaires who want their own beachfront homes, and this is hardly the first fight to be fought over an ocean view. But by every measure, this one has taken on added resonance, taking place against the backdrop of tensions in San Francisco caused by the influx of high-paid Silicon Valley executives and embodied by the Google buses that take them to work each day.
Continue reading the main story

The lawsuit being fought at the San Mateo County Courthouse — a decision is expected in the summer — signals the latest stage in a five-year flurry of litigation, protests, civil disobedience, indignation and arrests, aimed at forcing Mr. Khosla, who does not live on the property, to let people back on the beach (which is variously called Martin’s Beach and Martins Beach). His opponents contend he is defying the State Constitution, state law and the mind-set of “the beach belongs to everyone” that is fundamental to many Californians.

Compelled by a judge to testify, Mr. Khosla [Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who is best known as a co-founder of Sun Microsystems] said on the stand: “If you’re asking me why any gate is locked, it’s to restrict public access. That’s a general statement about gates.” * * *

An earlier court challenge to Mr. Khosla failed when a San Mateo judge ruled that the Constitution, which declares that all property below the mean tide line is public, and a 1976 law mandating that property owners provide access to these beaches were superseded by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty ended the Mexican-American War by requiring that the United States recognize Mexican land grants, including one that awarded rights to this plot well before the Constitution was adopted.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 17, 2014 11:40 AM
Posted to General Law Related