Thursday, March 25, 2100

Welcome.


The Surfrider Foundation San Mateo County Chapter has been engaged in an effort to reestablish public access to Martin's Beach, and to preserve access and the beach for future generations to enjoy. This blog is a place to keep posted on campaign efforts, learn more, share your love for Martin's, and get involved.
Photo credit Richard Yelland

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Judge to Khosla: "The Gate Across Martins Beach Rd Must Be Unlocked and Open" NOW

As reported on the Surfrider Foundation Coastal Blog, on Friday, December 5, San Mateo County Superior Court judge Barbara J Mallach provided clarity to her final ruling issued November 12, in which she ruled that Khosla's changes to the property--including permanently locking the gate across Martins Beach Rd--constituted development and therefore require a permit from the California Coastal Commission.  Clarification came in the form of a Final Order from the court, which amongst other things orders Khosla to open the gate and restore access to what it was when he bought the property

For those who have been wondering when the gate would be required to be reopened, the time has come.  We have arrived.  Open, Sesame!


But Khosla has yet to comply.

Following on the heels of this order, the California Coastal Commission sent its own clarifying message to Khosla, via the property manager Steven Baugher.  In case the threat of law is not motivation enough to comply, the Commission sent a seven page letter stating that the property owner is in violation of the Coastal Act for unpermitted development including but not limited to the locking of the gate to bar public access, use of security guards, pursuit of trespassing enforcement against visitors, and placement of signs to deter access, AND that these violations are subject to various fines, including a fine of up to $11,250 per day per violation and $15,000 per day per violation, respectively.  AND the Commission notes that the fines are cumulative from the notice of violation, which was sent in 2011.  Although Khosla is a billionaire, fines racking up to potentially tens of millions of dollars would probably not go unnoticed. 

In the Commission letter, the Commission gave Baugher until Dec. 22 to respond and work to resolve this violation amicably. 

Stay tuned!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Two Years Ago, Five Intrepid Surfers...

...took a ride south of town to Martin's Beach to go surfing. Not an extraordinary thing, except for the fact that the road to Martin's Beach had been closed off to the public and it was unclear whether or not they would be welcomed in their attempt to access and recreate at this local beach.

Not to be deterred, they read up on their rights to access the beach and decided to exercise them.

At 10am on Sunday, October 21, Jonathan Bremer, Kyle Foley, Austin Murison, David Pringle, and Tyler Schmid were ticketed for trespassing at Martin's Beach. This set off an effort to defend their actions and seek a determination from a county judge that these gents were, in fact, not trespassing.

On February 7, 2013, the county judge dismissed the charges based on insufficient evidence to support the allegations of trespassing. (original story here) From that date forward to present time, this decision has allowed the public to visit Martin's Beach without being charged with trespassing.

Thank you, Jonathan, Kyle, Austin, David, and Tyler for blazing the trail down to the beach for the rest of us while we await for a permanent access solution! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SB 968 - SIGNED!

Tuesday afternoon, on the last day for the Governor to take action on bills, Governor Jerry Brown put pen to paper and inked him name on SB 968, a bill authored by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), which outlined a timeline and process for the State Lands Commission to acquire public access to Martin's Beach.  The bill directs the Commission to enter into negotiations for a period of one year, and if at the end of that year negotiations have not been fruitful, State Lands may opt to use other mechanisms to acquire and facilitate access. 

The bill was fortunate to enjoy bipartisan support in the Senate and Assembly, but even into the final hours its was unclear whether the Governor would sign the bill or not.

Needless to day, we at the Surfrider Foundation are elated that the Governor chose to sign SB 968, and we greatly appreciate that the bill has been given the opportunity to go into effect.  We could not have achieved this action without the leadership of Senator Jerry Hill, co-authors Asm. Mark Stone and Asm. Kevin Mullin, and Speaker Toni Atkins, nor could this have been accomplished without the support of many, including Platinum Advisors; supporting organizations Environment California, California Coastal Protection Network, Sierra Club, Ocean Conservancy, WILDCOAST, Black Surfers Collective, The City Project, Committee for Green Foothills, Save the Waves, Azul, West Marin Environmental Action Committee; outstanding individuals such as former U.S. Rep Pete McCloskey, Rob Caughlan, Warner Chabot, Mark Massara, Christine Craft; our Surfrider Foundation team; and all of you who took the time to write and call your legislators and the Governor to ask for their support.  THANK YOU!!!

We will look forward to engaging with the State Lands Commission in a public process to permanently restore public access to Martin’s Beach.

Supporters can act now by signing the petition to the State Lands Commission supporting this process.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Victory for Beach Goers!

Today, the San Mateo County Superior Court issued its ruling on Surfrider Foundation v. Martins Beach I and II, LLCs.  Honorable Judge Barbara J. Mallach ruled that the permanent closure of the gate across Martins Beach Rd. does, indeed, constitute development, and that Mr. Khosla will need to seek a permit for this development.  Although this ruling does not immediately restore access, it would allow the California Coastal Commission to rightfully pursue enforcement action against Mr. Khosla if he does not apply for a permit for the access closure.  If Mr. Khosla does apply for a permit, the public will have the opportunity to participate in the permitting processes of the County and Coastal Commission and ask that these entities require that a permit to close off access be denied. 

In short, wooooooohoooooooo!!!!!!!!!  We are one very large step closer to restoring public access to Martins Beach, which is great news for the people who cherish it and for future visitors. 

A press release on the win can be found here and our latest entry on the Coastal Blog discusses the bigger picture of this victory.

The full court decision can be found here

This victory is credited to our amazing legal team, led by top trial attorney Joe Cotchett of Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy, LLP, Eric Buescher, Pete McCloskey, and Mark Massara, in consultation with Angela Howe, Legal Director of Surfrider Foundation.  Of course our case could not have been established without testimony from our witnesses, Lennie Roberts, Bernie Leal, Rob Caughlan, Terry Louwerens, and Surfrider Foundation representatives. 

In another prong of the Open Martin's Beach campaign, Surfrider Foundation is advocating for the State Lands Commission to negotiate a right of way easement to the beach. Add your voice to the fight and ask the state agency to open access here.

If you are inclined to join us and support this effort for the long haul, please visit our donation page.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Show Your Support

Our friends at Represent.com put together this limited edition tee to support the cause.  Get yours today and show your support for beach access and for restored access to Martin's Beach.  100% of proceeds benefit the campaign.  Limited time offer...expires at 1pm on Friday, Sept. 5th!!

On to the Governor!

Senate Bill 968, which outlines a process and timeframe for the State Lands Commission to lead efforts to restore access to Martin's Beach, has made its way through the state legislature and is headed for its (hopefully) last stop before being signed into law: the Governor's desk.  (More on that here.)  The majority of state legislators agrees with the importance of protecting coastal access to the public an has seen fit to help restore access to this special beach, which we very much appreciate.

The Governor has until September 20th to sign the bill, and we need to make sure he hears from YOU!  Please take a quick minute to click and send a letter to Governor Brown.