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Beach Access Bill Clears State Senate, Advances to Assembly
Sacramento, Calif., May 28, 2014— A California state bill, Senate Bill 968 (Hill – San Mateo), which will restore public access to Martin’s Beach located minutes south of Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County, passed on the Senate floor with a vote of 22 to 11. It will now move on to the Assembly for consideration.
"The Surfrider Foundation is elated that SB 968 passed through the Senate," said Sarah Damron, Chapter Manager for Surfrider Foundation. "It shows that the majority of California Senators understand the immense value of protecting public beach access, which is valuable not only to the public but to local and state economies."
The process for acquiring an access easement to Martin's Beach, as outlined in the bill, represents a win-win for the public and for the owner. Damron goes on to say, "The bill would give the property owner the opportunity to negotiate the sale of an easement for public access, which is a means that even conservative property rights groups support, and gives the public a clear and reasonable timeframe within which they can expect to be able to access this special beach once again."
Indeed, SB 968 provides that the State Lands Commission would negotiate with the property owner to purchase a right of way easement from Highway 1 to Martin’s Beach and, if no such purchase is able to be negotiated by 2016, the Commission can exercise eminent domain to acquire the property, which would result in a payment to the property owner based on the value of the land.
The bill has enjoyed support from other organizations including Environment California, Sierra Club, Ocean Conservancy, WILDCOAST, Save the Waves Coalition, Black Surfers Collective, Azul, California Coastal Protection Network, Committee for Green Foothills, Coastside Beach Coalition, and West Marin Environmental Action Committee.
The bill has no recorded opposition, although last week it was reported that Martins Beach I and II, LLCs—behind which hides billionaire Vinod Khosla, who owns the property adjacent to Martin’s Beach—hired lobbying firm California Strategies, LLC to lobby against the bill. The firm includes former Coastal Commissioner Rusty Areias, former CalEPA Secretary Winston Hickox, and communications strategist Jason Kinney, who were fined last year for failure to register as lobbyists.
Citizens can take action to support the bill in the Assembly by writing a letter to their Assembly member here: http://tinyurl.com/support-sb968. Citizens are also encouraged to write their Senator in response to the Senator's vote for or against SB 968 and public beach access. You can find your State Senator here: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html, and can find your Senator’s vote on this bill here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/sen/sb_0951-1000/sb_968_vote_20140528_0442PM_sen_floor.html.
For more information on the campaign, please visit http://martinsbeach.blogspot.com
About Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 250,000 supporters, activists and members worldwide. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation, visit http://www.surfrider.org.