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Photo: Anne Cusack | Los Angeles Times

Photo: Anne Cusack | Los Angeles Times

The Inertia

Unlawful fees and locks be damned, surfers fought the good fight against Paradise Cove in Malibu and won. These public access fights are beginning to invoke that Robin Hood shtick: take from the rich and give to the poor (or, in the case of Malibu, the not so rich). Except the rich in this case didn’t have the support of the sheriff and it was legal action (not bow-point thievery) that led to the victory. According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, referencing an announcement issued by the California Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission, the owner of the shishi Beach Cafe agreed “to stop charging a $20 walk-in fee [which was not legal to begin with], remove all signs banning surfing and unlock a gate to the beach’s pier.”

Apparently the agencies (commission mentioned above) threatened to impose daily fines in the neighborhood of $11,250… that’d make me change my stripes as well. This proposed fine stems from a bill authored by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, which grants the authority to levy fines in these sorts of situations.

Robin Hood schtick aside, Steven F. Dahlberg, president of Paradise Cove Land, cooperated — and that is a good thing for everyone involved. Charles Lester, executive director of the coastal panel, said it best, telling the Times: “It saves everyone time and money to resolve these situations voluntarily. And, most importantly, it’s the quickest way to restore the public’s ability to enjoy the beach.”

“This is a triumph for public access and proof that the threat of fines is a very effective enforcement tool,” Coastal Commission Chairman Steve Kinsey added. “We’ve never seen a violation of this magnitude resolved so quickly. Christmas came early for the coast this year.”

Ultimately the resolution ends the dispute with cafe operators Kissel Co. The only non-victory for the surfers was that under the agreement, the company is allowed to continue charing the $40 parking fee.

This was a big win for surfers, who avoided a long, drawn-out lawsuit similar to that which involved Martin’s Beach.

Photo; Anne Cusack | Los Angeles Times

Photo; Anne Cusack | Los Angeles Times

Read the entire story on LATimes.com.


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