Time to Negotiate a Solution to Martins Beach Access

August 12, 2014

San Francisco Chronicle
Op-Ed Guest Editorial
By Jerry Hill

It’s time for everyone involved with the Martins Beach public access issue to sit down and negotiate a solution. The public has been deprived of this natural treasure since 2010, and it could be several more years before the court battles get resolved.

Vinod Khosla’s Aug. 4 Open Forum focuses on secondary issues, such as complaining about California Coastal Commission and San Mateo County correspondence. The core issue in this debate is whether or not the public has a right to access the beach.

Khosla’s intent all along has been to resolve the public access issue through the courts. This is unfortunate because Californians deserve a timely solution.

That’s why I’m authoring Senate Bill 968 to force the State Lands Commission and Khosla to negotiate for the next year to restore public access.

Californians made it clear that all beaches are public when they approved the Coastal Act initiatives in the 1970s. Enshrined in our state’s Constitution is the notion that no individual or company can “exclude the right of way to such water.” State law tasks the State Lands Commission with acquiring the right of way to ensure public access.

All we are asking for is that the gate be opened. No one is asking Khosla to run a business at a loss. The county of San Mateo is even willing to help with beach access road maintenance to address Khosla’s complaints about operational costs.

While the gate remains locked, one positive thing people can do is share their memories and experiences at the beach over the past decades by participating in the California Coastal Commission’s Martins Beach survey. The Prescriptive Rights Survey is critical because it documents historic public use of the beach and the access road. If you or anyone you know has ever enjoyed Martins Beach please take a moment to fill out the survey at www.coastal.ca.gov.

Mr. Khosla: The state and the county stand ready to partner with you to restore public access to Martins Beach as soon as possible. Please stop prolonging the fight with your high-priced lawyers, lobbyists and public relations consultants and sit down at the table so all Californians can once again enjoy the beauty of Martins Beach.