Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Restore Access by Taking This Survey

Photo courtesy of Judy Allen
The California Coastal Commission has made available a public access survey to gather data on when and how the public accessed Martin's Beach over past decades.  This survey is part of an investigation to determine whether any public rights of access to and/or use of the area exist by reason of past public use.  The data collected could be used to support restoration of public access to the beach in the future.  If you ever visited Martin's Beach before it was owned by Mr. Khosla, please take this survey!

Direct link to PDF file of survey:  http://www.coastal.ca.gov/legal/Martins-PRS-Final.pdf
Do you lack a printer or tech capabilities?  Contact us and we'll send you a printed survey in the mail.

Please be sure to:
  • print out the blank survey and complete it - document your visits to the best of your ability,
  • SIGN and DATE the document on pages 4 AND 15,
  • provide any supplementary documentation (i.e. copies of old photos, videos), 
  • make a copy of everything (for your records), and 
  • send the original signed document to the Coastal Commission 
  • **ask everyone you know that used to visit Martin's Beach to please take the survey!** Send them the link above.

Surveys can be sent to the Coastal Commission the following ways:
  • California Coastal Commission
    ATTN: Peter Allen
    45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
    San Francisco, CA 94105-2219
  • Fax signed copy to (415) 904-5400

You can read more about the survey and the Commission's action here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Setting the Record Straight

In recent media interviews, Vinod Khosla has alleged, amongst other things, that Surfrider Foundation has not been willing to negotiate.  This same allegation has been leveled in court and in the state legislature.  Like the other allegations, this allegation is not only untrue but unwise, as we have documented our every step in the effort to restore access to Martin's Beach.

For a timeline of events associated with the campaign to Open Martin's Beach, please see here.

The timeline also includes links to correspondence that show Surfrider's, the County's, and the beach-going community's efforts to communicate with Mr. Khosla to preserve and restore access by means other than litigation.  Ironically, a letter from Khosla's attorney in 2011 makes clear that it is Mr. Khosla who has been unwilling to negotiate and who has sought litigation from the outset. 

Surfrider Foundation is disheartened that Mr. Khosla is using his energy and resources in such a negative way to broadcast false accusations, instead of taking the very easy and positive step of reaching out to begin a community dialogue about restoring public access to Martin's Beach.  Again, we beseech him to consider this opportunity to move forward in a positive and mutually beneficial way.

An Op Ed from Surfrider Foundation CEO Jim Moriarty on this subject ran here last Friday.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Closing Arguments Made in the Surfrider Foundation Lawsuit to Open Martin’s Beach

Video from outside the court, after the trial

Attorneys for the Surfrider Foundation made final remarks during closing arguments of the Martin’s Beach trial today before San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Mallach.  It is now up to Judge Mallach to consider the evidence presented and render her decision. The Foundation expects a ruling from the court by mid-September.

“We delivered a very strong closing argument today,” says Angela Howe, Legal Director for the Surfrider Foundation.  “Surfrider brought this litigation to protect the public’s right of beach access, which is of the utmost importance for this precious spot on the San Mateo County coast and for all of California’s 1,100-mile coastline."

Mark Massara, longtime surfer and counsel for the Surfrider Foundation in this matter, was present today for the closing remarks with Eric Buescher and Joseph Cotchett of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, who also represented Surfrider in the case before Judge Mallach.

“Let’s be crystal clear: even if one were to believe the tall tales that Vinod Khosla’s lawyers told today, and assume that everything they said about how the U.S. Government and Coastal Commission cannot be trusted, it would not change the fact that Khosla still has to apply for a permit,” declares Massara.

The Surfrider Foundation, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, waves and beaches, challenged that the property owner, billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, violated the California Coastal Act when he closed the only public access road to Martin's Beach by putting up a gate and posted signage to deter visitors. (Complete timeline here)

Although an affirmative decision by the court would not restore public access directly, it would require the property owner to seek a permit for the development that has occurred and begin a public process to consider the changes to the property and beach access.  A decision in favor of Surfrider might also require the property owner to pay hefty fines of up to $15,000 per day into the state Coastal Conservancy coffers,. 

“We believe the judge will make a very informed, reasonable judgment.  It is clear that Mr. Khosla refused to go to the Coastal Commission and we are asking the court to order him to do so,” added Joseph Cotchett, counsel for the Surfrider Foundation.

Meanwhile, in the state legislature, a bill is still in play that also seeks to restore public access to Martins Beach.  SB 968 (Hill – San Mateo) would direct the State Lands Commission to work to negotiate purchase of an easement or right-of-way to facilitate public access to the beach.  If no such purchase is negotiated by 2016, the Commission could opt to exercise eminent domain to acquire the easement.  The bill will be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee when the legislature reconvenes in August.

Post-trial press coverage can be found on our Press page here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mark Massara on Martin's Beach, Beach Access

Watch an interview with Surfrider Foundation co-counsel Mark Massara from last night on KSCO's Off The Lip Radio Show streamed on TheSurfChannel.com and learn more about the battle of private property rights vs. public beach access at Martin’s Beach. 

Video: www.thesurfchannel.com/news/20140714/martins-beach-billionaire-surfrider-foundation/

Monday, July 14, 2014

Trial Information - UPDATED

UPDATED AS OF 7/14/14:
Hall of Justice & Records


Surfrider Foundation v. Martins Beach I, LLC and Martins Beach II, LLC


*Closing Arguments* - 9:30am on Wednesday, July 16

San Mateo County Superior Court, 400 County Center, Redwood City
Department 22, Courtroom 8A
Photo credit Rob Caughlan

Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Mallach presiding

If you attend, please show your support by wearing blue!  

If you opt to quietly tweet from the trial, please use #martinsbeach and feel free to mention @Surfrider and @vkhosla.