Bloomberg misses the whole point, which is that the road was an easement that had long existed before and into Khosla's ownership.
I was by there in early February and had planned to try and visit both, even if I had to jump the fence. But I was running late for a meetup later in the evening in SF and didn't make it.
I respect Khosla but if there was ever reason for risking a ticket for civil disobedience by visiting a public beach this is the place.
Its like someone ran a popular restaurant in town, and sold it, and the historical preservation commission told the new owner they had to keep running it as a restaurant until they got a permit to change the use.
EDIT: Ah, It's not really the beach being public that is in dispute. It's the extra "sandy beach" space above the high tide line and the parking lot as you explain here:
The press on this case has been horrible at explaining the actual dispute.
The press on this case has been horrible at explaining the actual dispute
This story does not make it at all clear that the suit isn't so much about a road, but also a parking lot and access to a sandy beach above the high tide mark.
The guys literally bourgeoisie taking public land
"Prior to appellants' purchase of the Martins Beach property, appellants were told by San Mateo County that '[t]here is existing parking [and] access to the beach at Martins Beach. This access [is] also memorialized [and] required to be preserved (no exceptions) by the Local Coastal Program' and 'the access is there & will have to remain.'"
If the county sends you a letter saying that they want you to operate a public park out of your back yard. And then you sell your house to someone who has notice of that letter. What does that mean? That the government gets to order the new owner to operate their back yard as a public park?
There is an easement here--it's the right of way that arises allowing the public to cross private property in order to get to the sea shore. If that was what the litigation was about, Khosla would definitely be in the wrong. But the state is going way beyond that--it's forcing him to keep open the parking lot, allow access to the beach above the mean high tide line, etc. That goes way beyond the easement that exists.
And the state admits that. There is no dispute in this case that the parking lot and sandy beach are not part of the easement. That's why the state had to go through a backdoor route: they're saying that he can't change the use of his undisputedly private property without getting a permit to do so.
> To be clear, all agree that petitioner owns the property in fee simple absolute. But the Coastal Commission and the County nonetheless declared the power not only to mandate that the property be kept open to the public unless petitioner obtains a permit to close it, but to dictate essential aspects of how petitioner must invite the public onto its private property—including the hours it must allow access, the absurdly low price ($2) it may charge, and even the extent of advertising alerting the public of its ability to access petitioner’s private property for a pittance.
He bought an asset, and is now trying to take value from the public to increase his own enjoyment of the asset and the value of that asset. An essentially private beach in California, and enforced by Supreme Court decision would be pretty cool, and insanely valuable.
He should have no control over the access and should be liable for any attempt he makes to hinder or hide access.
I’d totally make regular visits if I lived in the area.
That isn’t legal, as determined by the trial court, the appeals court, and the CA Supreme Court.
That’s why the case isn’t just about an easement. The county wants Khosla to keep operating it as a beach, not just to let people get to the water.
I didn’t find anything that said the county wouldn’t let him just open the access.
I found lots of references that said people used to have reasonable to access the beach, but he bought the property and locked the gate.
The agency forced him to not only allow access down the road, but keep running the existing parking lot. Nobody disputes the parking lot is private.
From that same document and everything else I've seen, he hasn't even applied for the permit to close it. If he applies, and if he's denied, then he can assert that allowing public access is a "taking" of his property rights, rather than just protecting the public's right of access.
But he has to apply for the permit before the commission can decide to allow or forbid it.
"[Surfrider has] kept it real simple,...It’s always been ‘Mr. Khosla, do you have a permit for that gate or don’t you?’”
In September, after this decision, the commission began an enforcement action, which could cost Khosla over $4 million per year, and Khosla opened the gate, in addition to filing his appeals. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/article/NE/20171004/NEWS/17...
It's also not an absurdly low price considering it only allows access to a public area.
"In most states, all land below the mean high tide line belongs to the state and citizens have the right to unrestricted access to that land. Intuition would indicate that this “line” is where the sand changes from wet to dry during high tide. This, however, is not always the case. The mean high tide line is actually the arithmetic average of high-water heights observed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over an 18.6-year Metonic cycle. It is the line that is formed by the intersection of the tidal plane of the mean high tide with the shore. It is not an easy line to determine, and it is an even harder one to see. From standing on the beach watching the waves, there is no way of knowing exactly where the mean high tide line falls, or where public land begins and ends, making enforcement a difficult and controversial task. "
http://www.beachapedia.org/Beach_Access (From Surfrider, a party to the lawsuits)
The rules exist because otherwise people act in bad faith
I think the more likely possibility is that he's just rich and his views come from that, rather than the country he's from.
Edit: there are plenty of born-and-raised Americans who think it's fine to take public property, too. Just look at the "Occupy Bird Sanctuary" people and their kin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_the_Malheur_Nati...) So the whole origin thing seems completely irrelevant to the discussion.
Khosla is an immigrant who has applied for and been granted citizenship, but generally for less well to do immigrants, we hold them to high standards if they wish to retain citizenship (even though that results in us creating stateless people). Why is Khosla special?
If this is the case, then my sympathies have switched to Khosla.
If there is no dispute about the existence of the easement then this case could be closed immediately and people would have access to the beach.
It would be fun if a group got together with boats and had a huge party every week or more at low tide, being right in his conceptual face regularly. Bonus points for immaculate cleanup after every time.
> “This is about unfairness, and I don't tolerate unfairness.”
> “I decide what's fair,” he says. “They can do it or not. I don't go back and forth six times.”
> So I'm pessimistic that we can solve the issue in a more pleasant manner.
Oh, I'm quite sure we can't. The peaceful dissolution of the USSR has been a miracle, although that story isn't really over yet. The U.S., at least, will not have a pitchfork moment so anywhere near so quietly.
The question of 'how bad does it have to get' is quite relevant to those of us who have enough money to be planning for retirement, but not enough for his'n'her's yachts - what are the odds that we should maybe start scoping retirement-nations with the best combinations of freedom, opportunity and tolerance for refugees from a place famously losing tolerance for refugees?
I would argue that dissolution didn't really level anything. It just gave a few oligarchs an opportunity to grab vast fortunes for cheap.
I was talking more about the dissolution of a major nation-state, but mixed that in with book discussion, so I wasn't being clear.
Also, when a lot of people die, there are a lot of inheritances and open jobs, so makes the task of distribution even easier :/
This is one of the reasons that the Bubonic Plague is cited as a catalyst for the development economically and scientifically of Europe...
AKA roll back prop 13 but make it progressive. 1% on the first $250,000 worth of land, 2% on the next $250,000 to $1,000,000 worth and then 3% for anything over $1M.
Not by parcel, total.
Simply individuals and businesses with real estate holdings over a $1M gets the nominal 2-3% property tax rate everyone outside of California enjoys.
Difference between mortgage interest in a world of global finance and property taxes is property taxes pay for local services, where mortgage interest ends up who knows where. But it isn't paying for your communities roads, transit parks or schools, police and fire.
If I were ultra rich, I would be paranoidly obsessive about when, why and how this trend stops, and put significant resources into seeing that the trend stops peacefully. Why? If the trend takes too long, I would be almost surely dropped from the ultra rich category. And if the trend does stop early, but not peacefully, I run into very high risk of losing a lot (up to losing life).
Now, as most ultra rich do not seem to be obsessed about this, I consider this as quite strong evidence that majority of ultra rich share one thing with the majority of us mere mortals - i.e. being dumb as f#ck...
> There has been no permit or other final decision requiring Petitioners to charge visitors $2 or any amount for vehicle access, or to advertise any message on its property
So Khosla's claims that he is being forced to charge $2 and operate a business are lies. Obviously he looked in to restricting access by charging an exorbitant fee but found that he could charge no more than $2 and only if he applied for a permit that would likely be denied.
He’s hired one of the leading Supreme Court advocates in the country, and there is some compelling “overstep of regulatory authority” optics to the case. Getting cert on any case is a slim chance, but this seems at least interesting enough to grab someone’s attention.
There was an existing regulation upon the property, Khosla purchased it and now is subject to the regulation. Ignorance of the law is no defense, especially when one is as fortunate and well-equipped as Khosla is.
"In support of a different argument that the trial court's injunction forced them to operate a parking business at a net loss, appellants point to testimony from the manager of Martins Beach that improvements, including a new bathroom, would cost over
$500,000, and annual costs would exceed $100,000. However, the injunction does not obligate appellants to provide staff or any amenities. Instead, it requires, 'The gate across Martins Beach Road must be unlocked and open to the same extent that it was
unlocked and open at the time [appellants] purchased the property.'"
This is like Khosla digging up the sewage line feeding his neighbours house, because he doesn't like the idea of somebody else's poop flowing under the surface of his land.
He signed the contract which explicitly bound him to the easement, demanding public access through his land, to the beach. How much simpler can it get?
If this part of the contract can be nullified because he doesn't want to smell poor people, then I think the USA is heading to a bigger problem than beach access. Thousands of properties across the states have easements. Nullifying them without consideration of the public interest would be horrific.
Fortunately for everyone, self-righteousness does not magically make property rights go away.
You are of course right regarding the easement issue, and I had misread the writeups assuming they had an easement he was seeking to sunder, not seeking an easement for a seventy year access which it turns out was fee'd and so conditional.
In many jurisdictions, seventy years alone would have knocked this out: as few as ten can secure adverse possession, public right of way in the UK is established by twenty years continuity of access (with defenses such as closing it off one day a year) and Scotland has instances of crofters rights which lay dormant but reawoke unexpectedly.
Maybe you're happy to be reductionist on this being invasion of his property. I've been the beneficiary of public rights to access, and I do value them more highly than simple property rights. This is not some trivium of argument around anyone's home being walked through, it's a property which he bought with a road and facilities already there, and a long period of continuous access he chose to break for his own private benefit.
If he always intended alienation of access or if he just changed his mind, he interfered with communal benefits. That's pretty shitty behaviour legal or not.
Due to the way the legal system works, much of this ambiguity is unavoidable, so the reasonable thing to do is to not escalate the situation physically. But then this creates an incentive for one party to act in bad faith and misinform the others, so that they can benefit in the meantime or even discourage the question from being investigated.
What a great idea. Maybe we could call it an https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easement
Seems like he doesn't want anyone on the beach and it's as simple as that.
Stealing a beach from the public domain is illegal, and Cali seems to have serious enforcement problems. No property owner has a right to steal public beaches
You can't own the beach. And you can't de facto own the beach by buying all the land around it and then restricting access. These were both well-understood when Khosla bought the land. He knew exactly how California interpreted land rights in this particular case.
Land purchases regularly come with both private (contractual) and public (statutory) limitations/restrictions on use.
Landowners are not kings, and private properties are not sovereign borders.
> But then, the state should not have allowed the sale, right?
I guess that's one way the state could react to these sorts of lawsuits. That would be unfortunate, because it'd probably end up meaning that one asshole prevented a whole bunch of reasonable people from buying beachfront views with their hard-earned money.
I don't understand this point. You don't have to purchase the road leading to the beach to own beachfront property.
If the only way to get people to behave reasonably is to not issue building permits, then everyone loses. What you're suggesting is that California should choose the defect/defect quadrant of a game. But there's a more optimal solution -- just tell people like Khosla they're not allowed to defect on this question.
In other words, why should I be prohibited from owning certain types of land or having the chance to purchase into certain types of developments just because Khosla's being an ass about restrictions he knew about when he bought the property? What you're proposing is the "if I can't have it then burn it all down" solution. Which I guess is a way to vindicate Khosla in a sort of pyrrhic way, but everyone else loses.