Vinod Khosla doesn’t want to share. That’s not exactly breaking news – we’re all plenty familiar with the Surfrider Foundation’s battle against a billionaire over access to Martin’s Beach – but Khosla’s definitive rejection of two years’ worth of negotiation efforts by California’s State Lands Commission (SLC) means the agency will now consider using eminent domain on the public’s behalf. In short, victory could be very close at hand. The matter of Martin’s Beach will be heard Tuesday, Dec. 6 at the SLC’s Sacramento meeting.
This is a big deal. The access supporting public has a meaningful opportunity to ask the Commission to pursue eminent domain and uphold our rights as guaranteed under California’s Coastal Act. Senator Jerry Hill, who successfully put forth legislation on this very issue in 2014, will be attending to voice his support for eminent domain, and we hope to rally a solid contingent of support to echo his request.
Because the SLC has never before resorted to eminent domain, we need to get as much support as possible to urge the Commission to take this step. As the San Jose Mercury News reported, “The agency, which oversees thousands of miles of so-called tidal lands in California, has never used that authority in its 78-year history, and could simply decide to walk away from the controversy.“
You see, this isn’t just about a small, beautiful cove in San Mateo County. This is a battle between those who believe money entitles them to privatize public resources and those who defend beach access for all. Similar battles occur up and down the state – and the next one may be in your backyard.
What can you do to help?
1. If you can, show up and be heard at the meeting. The State Lands Commission meets Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Capitol Events Center, 1020 11th St, Sacramento. You can RSVP here and coordinate a ride as well.
2. Send an email to the SLC with the subject line “Item 65 Martin’s Beach“. Tell the Commissioners that given the history of access to Martin’s Beach and the lack of interest by Khosla in good faith negotiating, eminent domain must be employed to protect the public’s rights to our coast.
3. Sign Surfrider’s petition, which will be presented to the Commission. We already have over 3,600 signatures.
For even more info, see Surfrider’s Open Martin’s Beach campaign page.
Finally, the L.A. Times has a story this morning here.