Give him the $380K that the land the access is on is supposed to be worth and seize it to be state property.
After years of negotiations, arbitration, pleas, and Supreme Court challenges, the US state of California has finally had enough of beach-blocking billionaire Vinod Khosla – and sued the Sun Microsystems co-founder. At issue is Martin's beach, south of San Francisco, where the only entryway exists on land that Khosla bought …
"Give him the $380K that the land the access is on is supposed to be worth and seize it to be state property."
He's spent years wasting public finances on court fees and public officials' time, and restricting public access to his land. Instead seize the land in question (compensation for the wasted time) and remove the gate, then open a class action suit for everyone who he's stopped from accessing the public beach, and compensate each failry out of his pocket.
There should have been bailiffs over with an enforcement notice and a bulldozer the second he put up a fence.
I don't know all the details, but presumably the law in the US means that as long as he has an appeal going, he can't be forced to give up his property. In general, I think that is correct - to make someone give up their property and then get it back sometime later if they win an appeal is wrong (not that it stops governments doing just that - c.f. HMRC Accelerated Payment Notices). The problem being that if you deprive someone of their property first, there is no way you can put that right after the fact in many cases - in the case of HMRC APN, people have had to sell their home in order to pay it, and HMRC can take as long as they like dealing with any appeals.
I suspect the outcome of this case will be that he'll lose - and then the state authorities can go in and use force if necessary to reopen the road.
They were not trying to get him to give up his property just stop obstructing the established public right of way. Since the public right of way is documented back to the 1800s and predates his purchase the right should be enforced until and unless he can get it invalidated in court.
If knowledge of the established right-of-way was hidden from him when purchasing, then he should be suing the previous owner or real-estate lawyers that handled the property transfer.
His ultimate goal is to create a private beach out of public land by cutting off access. He should be forced to compensate the public for the loss of use of the publicly owned beach for 10years.
Most properties in the US have an easement for roads, utilities, etc. The property owner "owns" all of their land often extending across the pavement or even to the middle of the road, but it's lined off for public access. I think it just made it easier to draw in the days of paper maps.
The State can just proclaim that there has been an implied easement for beach access if it can't be shown there was something in official plans/property deeds. The state could come in and construct some improvements, signage, etc and if this entitled PIA messed with that, it would be destruction of public property and subject to a fine and jail.
The last thing the state could do is foreclose under eminent domain and pay him a 'fair' price. Unbuildable land, environmental restrictions, blah, blah, here's your dollar. Oh by the way, your home doesn't look the same as the plans on file. We'll be sending the building department around to check that all of your construction is permitted.
This post has been deleted by a moderator
Some forms of reality are so horrible we refuse to face them, unless we are trapped into it by comedy.
To label any subject unsuitable for comedy is to admit defeat.
- Peter Sellers.
I did not see the original (now disappeared) comment however I stand by this quote. Funniness is a subjective experience.
There's a major problem in California with illegal occupation of beaches by landowners adjacent.
ALL beaches in California are public, but beachgoers have been confronted by armed guards ordering them off the beach in a number of locations, thanks to homeowners not wanting them on the strip between them and the ocean.
There have been a number of court cases on this, but what amazes me is that when these arseholes start employing weaponry and intimidation tactics, they're not arrested and held in jail pending charges being heard in court.
That's because in California only the rich (in general) can get permits and get armed protection.
The state legislature tries their best to disarm the populace, even though the Constitution says they can't.
Note: Celebrities, actors (even ones not American citizens), politicians, and the rich can get their permits, but regular citizens somehow or the other get their applications "lost".
Looking at the map on that link, i'm having a hard time trying to work out which bit he has blocked.
There seem to be a fair number of buildings down, very close to the beach, on what appears to be a public road.
If it was the house, up by the 'Martins Beach Parking Lot', and then that road led directly to the beach, i could see how their might be a problem. I just can't work out how any one of those many beach front properties would be able to block public access.
The usual comment is that this case is about "private property rights being trampled by the government".
But this is like an easement for sidewalks or power lines that the government enforces. In many places you own the land that the sidewalk is on. You paid for it and it is 'private' property. But you have no right to block it, you must allow the public to pass, and you must pay to repair it as needed. You might even be obligated to expeditiously clear it of snow and ice.
It's all part of the bargain of living in a society that has sidewalks.
Here he bought property that has the sole land access to a public beach, in a state where the public has affirmative access to those beaches. He knew that when he bought it. Yes, his property might be worth not quite as much because of it. But that easement was built into the purchase price, just as the cost and benefits of a sidewalk are part of the value of a regular non-$30M home.
My view is that he has effectively stolen a public beach for a decade. What is the value of that? I think it's pretty high, much higher than the $30M he paid for the property he legitimately bought. I believe that the fines should reflect that.
I'd love for them to let the tide in, tornados, wolves/bears, and possibly a large cruise ship full of pirates onto the property, then see how much "private don't interfere" turns into "please help".
This person might be out to do over the rest of the world, but most of us live in a society with other people, so treating them fairly seems right. Public path and public space? How did he "purchase" the land if it's public though, seems problematic.
If that's true, that it's an unlawfully blocked public right of way, then rthe angle grinder solution is an appropriate one, and the state should be wielding it.
Maybe get a judge to issue an injunction preventing him from restricting access while the issue works its way through the courts?
My bad, it seems many think I'm against the surfer? I was commenting on how this private individual might change their tune should they need assistance from the community, such as in a natural disaster. Blocking off the community, from a route they use to use, is very antisocial.
You paid for it and it is 'private' property
An analogous situation is with public footpaths here in the UK - for time immemorial, the public have had the right to use those footpaths and bridleways *even* if they cross private land. Many, many people have tried to prevent this and, pretty much every time, have failed.
Which is a Good Thing (TM)
Even more specifically here in Scotland we have statutory access rights, which means any wilderness or land that is privately owned can not obstruct the right of people to traverse that land (exception exist for things like houses, buildings and sports fields mind). as a result if you are found to have built something that blocks access to public areas, or even you own privately owned wilderness, the council will destroy the obstruction and send a bill to the land owner.
-AC as I post here rarely >.>
Actually, no, and that's the rub. There is no documented easement. The beach is public. The path to is has never been. There is general right to access property--BUT the government is specifically constrained, via the takings clause, from acting as an individual can in this case.
The guys is an *******, but the State has been playing fast & loose. If they had condemned from the start, this would have been over in months, but instead they demanded that he grant them an easement. The State is at least as much at fault in this as he.
Do the US not have the same rules then as the UK regarding public footpaths - in the UK if there is a public footpath you're not allowed to build on it, or obstruct it in anyway - in fact there is a rather famous ex-Top Gear has-been (who got sacked from the show for hitting a member of staff - and has now come down to trying to flog amazonshitcarshow put the spaces where you want to on that!) that tried a similar thing in his luxury home on the Isle of Man.
In the UK if a public footpath runs through your property you have to make it available at all times to the public and are not allowed to build on it or obstruct it with anything. If you look at a map of Alton Towers there is a public footpath that runs through the back end of that, over near the hotels which goes down to Ina's Rock and Chester Zoo also has a similar public footpath too.
In some areas farmers do try and divert public footpaths and put warning of bulls in field, put locked gates in the way, crops in the way, etc - however there are many rambling groups who actively go out and ensure the public footpaths are kept open. We have a public footpath near us and a developer wanted to build houses on it - it was pointed to him that the back garden of one of the houses would have a public footpath running straight through the middle of it, and then through someone's living room - he tried to say the solution would be to move the public footpath - but it was pointed out to him that you actually can't do that and if that public footpath was there then the public would have every right to march through that persons back garden and straight through the living room. Consequently his planning application was denied, although the public footpath was the least of his problems.
I once upon a time discovered a carshow of British origin that covered much of my interests in the motoring scene. There was some humour to be found in the show also. I liked that very much. Besides the fact that I love British, uhm, things. Not long after actively watching the show, I seemed to discover that one of the presenter-dudes seemed to act like he knew it all, and would proceed to make fun of everything and everyone. He acted like a shithead to me and I found him to be a complete arsehole to ruin that elsewise perfectly brilliant British car show. I stopped watching the show. Nice to see/read that someone else points out some of the misconduct of this piece of garbage of a human being.
I am struggling to see the relevancy of your comment. Unless Vinod was the arsehole at the car show, or your point is that some people are twats, and some twats drive (and more often tinker) with British built machinery. But twats have been seen driving big 'Merican 4x4s and Priuses as well.
Presumably it was in reference to the "rather famous ex-Top Gear has-been" anecdote included in the parent post. That was slightly relevant; the follow-up launched itself off that tangent. Based on the number of votes, apparently a fair number of Reg readers are happy to engage with irrelevant rants about Jeremy Clarkson. Well, whatever starts your motor, I guess.
District Councils in the UK can move footpaths, so long as they go through the necessary statutory steps.
My father has a footpath that moved from a neighbours field onto his field access path. The first he knew was when the footpath signs were replaced. The Parish Council didn't know about the move, but apparently it was widely advertised. Funnily enough, when I asked to see proof from the District Council they rejected my FOI requests claiming I was being vexatious!
My county is changing democratic structure to get rid of the District Councils. Not particularly a good move in the views of the proletariat, but the council workers seem to love the idea, and I bet none of the scheming b'stards get the shove, instead getting 'golden hellos' into the new structures, protected pensions, etc. Local government seems institutionally corrupt (and don't get me started on their planning decisions!)
Widely advertised - just means there was a typed A4 size notice nearby, a link buried in the council website to same and possibly a small copy in the local press notice section.
Council planning committee agenda & minutes are a public record - you should be able to go to the office and ask to see them (Door marked "Beware of the Leopard" springs to mind). Claiming you're vexatious is really only going to stick if you're in the habit of throwing FOI reqs at them every day for info that should be readily available via other means.
Your father could also ask a solicitor to investigate any duties and liabilities that have been placed on him without proper notice in respect to the moved footpath. I'm assuming here that the field access path is your fathers property and not just an easement allowing access.
Maybe it doesn't apply in this specific situation, but everywhere I've lived in the UK, if there's a planning application the local authority (or developer) has to place notices on lamp-posts and similar street furniture in the affected area, and nearby residents receive letters notifying them of the application.
If the council failed to post proper notifications prior to the decision, they're almost certainly in breach of their duties and the decision will have to be voided.
What really pisses me off is where busy A road and dual carriageways are built and to keep the costs down without blocking any footpaths, it is acceptable to just put a sign up showing pedestrians are crossing and a small offset gap in the Armco.
Who the would want to risk death and why you would even contemplate running across roads like the A43, A47 with busy traffic at high speed beats me.
To all intents the paths have been blocked.
“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”
"District Councils in the UK can move footpaths, so long as they go through the necessary statutory steps."
Our footpath was sensibly reworked to circumvent decayed embankment wooden steps - now with a smooth incline on a paved path about 15m away.
The old gap in the hedge was blocked with lightweight fencing. Over the years people repeatedly broke down the fencing and people used it as a short-cut to save the small extra walk. Someone complained that a few junior school children - with their parents - were running out of the gap and hypothetically into the road. They said the council should erect a pavement edge safety barrier - which would not block the gap.
The council looked to block the gap more permanently - then discovered they had failed to validate the closure's final legal step decades ago. On applying to rectify that omission they incurred the wrath of the Ramblers' Association - who threaten to fight all such closure notices. The latter said they would rebuild the decayed steps if the council desisted from closure and covered their costs.
Not wanting the legal hassle the council agreed - and built the requested pavement edge barrier. The Ramblers' Association have never rebuilt the steps - leaving a narrow muddy slope used as a convenience by late night pub-leavers.
The pavement barrier was built to legal standards - which means it stands back from the narrow pavement's kerb by a fair amount. The pavement is bounded by the embankment hedge - so there is now a very constricted pavement at that barrier point. Secondary school pupils travel in throngs along that pavement - and neatly divide into two streams along the barrier. One such walking on the road itself - with their backs to traffic in the evening.
In a case diametrically opposite to your house builder case, some houses were being built near me, when the builder surveyed the plans for the land he'd bought he discovered a footpath that the whole town had forgotten about, so he cleared the footpath and put up signs, ensuring the garden wall of the last house was well clear of the path.
It actually makes a nice shortcut down to the main road...
The builder was Richard Briers, and ICM5P
"Do the US not have the same rules then as the UK regarding public footpaths - in the UK if there is a public footpath you're not allowed to build on it, or obstruct it in anyway"
Wasn't there a bit of a fuss a couple of years ago when Eastbourne Borough Council tried to sell off part of the South Downs Way to private developers, who were going to build something like a gated light industrial park in what is still (despite EBC's efforts/lack of effort) one of the most beautiful parts of the country?
And Hastings Council sold off a footpath and the common land around it (used by locals for walking dogs & other recreational purposes for over 200 years!) so someone could build houses on it...
Our local authorities don't always follow the law either.
Our local authorities don't always follow the law either
I suspect that, in both of those cases, ignorance trumps malice.. (they probably didn't bother to do their due dilligence and didn't even know that the footpaths were there. Such things cost money and cause complications and are thus to be ignored).
TFL decided that a station (they had inherited when they took over the Silverlink Franchise) near where one of my relatives used to live should be gated. This would prevent people riding for free on the District and Overground lines. However to do so would remove access to a pedestrian bridge across the line. This has been used since I can remember so 30+ years by the local populace so considered a right of way by the councils involved. TFL lost and had to segregate the bridge between pedestrians and passengers. They built a portacabin style ticket office despite there already being a perfectly good one already there. Even worse they'd just done up the existing one so the new one was seen as a large waste of money.
An FOI request for the costs of the refurbishment and then the new one were rejected because they couldn't separate out the costs from other works going on. A TFL insider told me they wanted to rent out the old ticket office for retail but that it's been empty ever since it closed.
In the UK if a public footpath runs through your property you have to make it available at all times to the public and are not allowed to build on it or obstruct it with anything. If you look at a map of Alton Towers there is a public footpath that runs through the back end of that, over near the hotels which goes down to Ina's Rock and Chester Zoo also has a similar public footpath too.
Actually, you can get footpaths redirected, providing that you go through the right paperwork and demonstrate the public interest is not harmed. The back door into Alton Towers has been long since fenced off. You can still walk through the woods up around the back of the hotel but not into the Park itself as you once could (and which local kids took full advantage of).
Farmers putting up "Danger, Bull" signs are of course chancing their arm since it's illegal to put dangerous animals in a field containing a public RoW. They are entitled to post temporary routes if an area has been recently sprayed or sown although the public are of course entitled to tramp straight through it if they're feeling truculent/idiotic. Whilst the Ramblers do work to keep routes open, in general they also respect the business of farming and will go around a field to avoid tramping crops - because it would take a genuine knob to plough through "because they can" if faced with legitimate farming activity. So long as farmers aren't trying to block routes or barb-wire stiles then walkers should take temporary diversions in their stride when there is good reason for doing so.
Chester Zoo of course famously has the path running through its heart, fenced high to prevent illicit entry to the park.
The Ramblers ( UK ) will only follow marked footpaths and not wander around the edge of a field Reason: insurance policy - if a walk leader is "off route" and an attendee on a scheduled walk is injured or any property is damaged as a result of being "off route", the insurance wont cover any costs. Most farmers will mark out the route of a footpath across their fields to prevent people wandering off and destroying crops. Farmers have a statutory duty to mark out paths and to keep them clear of dangerous things or crops.
My (thankfully limited) dealings with the RA show that they are (collectively, at the top) a belligerent lot who have forgotten what they were originally founded for. That an organisation founded on the basis of ensuring "access for all" could then actively campaign on a basis of "access for us, but block them" shows that they don't understand their roots.
Echoing the bit about them not rebuilding the steps they promised to rebuild ...
In the past I have been actively involved in maintaining rights of ways - as in going out, getting my hands dirty, and repairing them. At first this was in small groups let by national park wardens. It was clear from what the wardens said that the RA would not countenance such activities - while we were out repairing tracks that needed repairing, the RA's only contribution to repairs would be complaining to the relevant authorities that repairs were needed.
We actually got to a stage where we could go out without the ranger - but "people found problems" to stop us because it didn't suit their agenda. In a sane world, you look for ways to work around a problem - but these people look for ways to not work around problems if they think it means they can exclude "the wrong sort of people" from "their" space.
It sounds like this Khosla chap would fit in well with the RA.
Yes, you can move a public footpath, the legal process is called a "diversion order" and the change is made to the "Definitive map" held by the responsible local authority ....just saying.
(I may, or may not, work for an organisation that had some dealings with this in the past)
Do the US not have the same rules then as the UK regarding public footpaths ...
Most of our state laws are based on English Common Law.
And then perhaps even codified in statutory laws.
And that's one of them. At least as far a I can remember from my Bus. Law classes 30+ years ago.
I believe you're wrong about this. While it's true that the US, at both the Federal and state levels, uses a common-law system adapted from the English, I'm not aware of any US jurisdiction which has laws regarding public rights-of-way that are even close to equivalent to the public-footpath laws in the various UK and Crown dependency (e.g. Isle of Man) jurisdictions.
Public-footpath governance in the UK is a specific area of the law, with a number of aspects (official footpath registration and mapping, etc) which have no direct equivalent in US law. In the US, public outdoor spaces include public parks and lands reserved to the public, such as the coastal area below the high-tide mark which many of the states1 make public.
Other public rights-of-way in the US are generally created as easements, so AIUI (IANAL) they fall under contract law.
1Besides California, mentioned in the article, I know Florida, Michigan, and Indiana all do this, for example. And in all these states their coastline exceptions have been tested in the state courts, and SCOTUS has either upheld or declined to review.
In England and Wales (not sure about Scotland and NI) you certainly can relocate a footpath. But you can't do it unilaterally.
A few years ago, the local council approached my siblings and I about moving a footpath on our land. They wanted to move it about 10m west of where it currently ran, so they could (re-)build a bridge (the previous bridge having collapsed about 50 years before).
Part of the process involved the council formally surrendering the old right of way and us formally granting the new one. No money changed hands (well, not to us: the bridge builder got paid). All we asked was that thought be given as to whether there was a way of impeding motorized traffic from crossing the bridge...
To add to the fun, our land is Access Land (so the fact that it's a footpath isn't really relevant to most users), an SSSI, and in an AONB.
"[...] he tried to say the solution would be to move the public footpath - but it was pointed out to him that you actually can't do that [...]"
In England there is a legal process to divert a public path - although approval is not guaranteed. Our estate was built in a field with a muddy path across it. After the houses were built - the right of way was re-established following a similar route along paved footpaths.
A major part of the diversion doubles as a back access for a short row of houses. People taking their small kids to school no longer have to negotiate a stile and a set of embankment steps. The latter being circumvented by a slightly longer smooth incline.
> So why continue on insisting too block access.
That's trivially easy to explain: as long as he doesn't capitulate in court, he can basically sell a property with a 99.99% private beach attached to some other rich arsehole who has the same morals and anti-social ideas that he does -- his property value is enormous. On the other hand, if he loses and the gate is torn down, no future owner can fight the case and his property value is decimated.
US law is what you can make it, its a constant process of pushing and pushing back boundaries. What this person did is no different from the kinds of tricks used in Malibu to block beach access from Pacific Coast Highway. You have the money, you chance your arm because you can out lawyer the other side. Its the American Way.
Unfortuantely, as the Malibu residents found out, the might eventually get called. What happened in Malibu is that with the arrival of smartphones with GPS the access paths -- blocked, built over, whatever -- were made freely available to the public and the public started to use them. At that point people started to notice the encroachment of private property onto the public beach -- illegal sea walls, fencing and so on.
FWIW -- The rules in California state that all the beach up to the high tide mark is public property, everyone has the right to be there.
"FWIW -- The rules in California state that all the beach up to the high tide mark is public property, everyone has the right to be there."
I take it that means anything above the high tide mark can be privately owned and therefore fenced/walled off and thus cause subsequent hilarity when the tide comes in and there are only certain access points? You need to check the tide times before visiting the beach just in case there's no public beach when you get there?
Do left cunts actually exist? Not come across one of those; they're usually unbiased. Unless you mean Corbyn? :-)
Joking aside, he seems to have manipulated his control over a piece of land to deny the public access to and become the dog-in-a-manger of something utterly priceless: An area of the coastline. I'd say he fits your pithy description quite well.
Were some 19th century Duke to forbid access by the common people the American rabble, Congress, and Yellow Press would have howled like blue blazes of aristocratic wickedness and loathsome undemocratic greed.
When it comes to the oligarch by wealth, he mostly gets away with it.
Not that I ever understand how a human --- temporary as the blink of God's Eye --- can own land, which lasts pretty much forever as far as our puny human lives can tell.
ahhh..no. not in the Peoples Republic of California. Finding an endangered species on your land is a very bad thing that means you will likely never, ever be allowed to develop the land without extremely expensive mitigation.
I live just a bit north of Martins, and San Francisco Garter Snakes, Red Legged Frogs and Snowy Plovers have all teamed up with the local Granola chewers to ensure that nothing gets built on the coast...
If living in California with free public access to all of its wonders (which you no doubt take advantage of as a citizen too) offends your delicate libertarian views, perhaps you should consider living elsewhere.
Californian's has a long history of protected it's natural beauty and resources from exploitation by people like Kosla. But if you think private property rights trump the public good, I'd say your living in the wrong place.
Californian's [sic] has a long history of protected [sic] it's [sic] natural beauty and resources from exploitation
As long as those "resources" don't involve potable or irrigation water.
Insofar as California can be said to have "a long history" at all (Spanish colonization didn't begin until the late 18th century, and the indigenous inhabitants, despite their many other cultural achievements, didn't keep much of a written record), it's mostly of pumping water out of the aquifer (at a rate far greater than replenishment) or diverting it from elsewhere.
Among the states, California reigns supreme at exploiting water.
It would seem to me that, once the gate blocking the public path had been found, the Mayor of the town concerned should have just sent 'round a demolition crew to remove it, and sent the bill for removal to that utter dick.
I wouldn't have waited 10 years to do that.
Its not in a town. It's unincorporated county land, and the State itself has jurisdiction of the actual beach and right-of-way. He has essentially hired the correct lawyers to create a legal clusterfuck over who has right to access, how, and when.
And remember, removing the property of somebody else without permission is itself a crime ... even if that property is itself illegal. So no, it's not as simple as just removing the gate. From what I heard, one guy hauled his tanks and a cutting torch over & tried to burn the gate down. The folks in the court room tried to convince the judge that what he was arrested for WAS community service, and I suspect the judge was on their side ... He got 1 hour of community service. He voluntarily served 100.
I guess the asshole just feels a need to be universally hated by his neighbors. Not that the asshole is ever "home", of course. Yes, you heard me right, he doesn't even reside there. This whole thing is about power, and has nothing to do with privacy.
This sort of wrangle is actually quite common in the UK as well. Usually when a building development goes up covering an established (although maybe an informal) path.
People in the new development don't want dog walkers etc tramping through "their land" and start the fight by blocking access. You then get the bloodyminded who will then deliberately try to use the blocked "right of way" (no such thing in Scotland btw) to cause an argument. And what you get in the end is normally an expensive legal stand off which usually results in the path being restablished or rerouted but at great expense and with everyone on both sides pissed off.
The nutjobs will then start stringing wires across paths ant it get nasty.
The developer has usually pocked the cash and fucked off washing their hands of it ,or they'll try to sell the land that covers the access path to greedy gullible neighbouring properties. Happened to a neighbour of mine, was convinced by the developer that he'd get cheap land if he bought the path that he could then sell as a building plot after 7yr for big £$£ . What he got was land he couldn't close off and a path with 40 mature trees he was now legally responsible to maintain for the public good. He needs to carry public liability insurance for the trees now. Plus he'd paid £20k for the privilege of owning this millstone round his neck.
There's a developer near where I live who's been trying to build on Green Belt land for years, so far unsuccessfully. One of his scams was to sell off "building plots" to the general public, without mentioning that they wouldn't be able to get planning permission to do anything. As a result, his large parcel of land now has several chunks out of the middle, the owners of which hate his guts!
The question is though, "is it a public path". It was never officially designated a public path, but people have been using it for years.
His argument is that previous owners have made a business decision to allow access to the beach over their private property, so they could make money from parking, beach shop, ice creams, etc. However it's private property and the new owner can decide to block access. The state continues to own the beach, and people can access it by sea.
The state's argument seems to be that there's always been free access there so surely that must continue.
Personally, from what I've read I think he's in the right; I believe the courts have twisted the law to try to come up with the answer that's "best for the public", and to cover for the fact that the state has screwed up. If the state wants access, it can use Eminent Domain to buy the land from him at a reasonable price. However, a "reasonable price" will be quite a lot - he's built a mansion with a mostly-private beach, having loads of people using the beach will significantly devalue the mansion, and according to the Eminent Domain rules the state has to pay compensation for that as well as the price of the land. If the state had chosen to buy the land earlier, before the mansion was built, it wouldn't have had to pay so much. That's the difference between the $380,000 that the land has been valued at (which excludes the devaluation of the mansion) and the $10m that his lawyers offered to sell for.
(And now I get to be downvoted to oblivion for having an unpopular opinion...)
'The question is though, "is it a public path". It was never officially designated a public path, but people have been using it for years.... ...The state's argument seems to be that there's always been free access there so surely that must continue...'
It's common law. Essentially if something has been going on for so long that it's normal, then it's normal.
The beach is public property. The path is the only access to the beach. The state needs to act to claim the path as a state easement for the purpose of beach access.
While that's going on, what we need is a few persistent souls with angle grinders. Let's see who is more persistent. My money's on the surfer dudes and dudettes.
It's explained in the article. The former owners had never charged for the use of the road (that would've been illegal due to right of pass) but for parking. That still allowed the public to use the beach for free, by walking instead of driving there. There was also evidence of public use of the pathway from the 19th century.
Not just an unpopular opinion but a legally unsupportable opinion.
The previous owners allowing access via a "path" have created a defacto easement, legally recognizable after 7 years, at which time it becomes an ~actual~ easement, by custom and statute.
In addition, since this pathway is the only landside access to the Public Beach, By Law [in California], uncontested and unblocked access must be granted.
The guy's lucky he doesn't show up very often. If he did I can guarantee that some testosterone fueled hothead would "sort him out" in short order, no matter how much armament his security force has available.
This is a perfect opportunity for a boat owner to start a successful business!
This is a public beach, that means you can access it any time from the water, legally.
So, a boat owner could start a new transport business. Departing from the nearest public beach and arriving at this "private" public beach.
You could run a boat back and forth all day during the warm summer months. Every half hour or so, just like a bus. Charge say $5 a head, say carrying 5 people per trip, that's a decent bit of money if you make that trip several times per day every half hour.
And the beach is public again!
Here is the thing: this has nothing to do with the government seizing private property because the beach and the access path were available to all before he bought the property, not after. The law making beaches public existed before he bought the property, not after. The only person seizing property is this douchenozzle by blocking access to public land. Communism has nothing to do with this because he knew -- and if he didn't know, it is his own fault for not surveying the entire property -- of the situation before he bought the property.
The state of California owns everything up to the high water line. Everything. Been in the constitution since 1849. There are a couple of other sections in the constitution added later that specify the states right to control the foreshore and the states right to gain and control public access to all state owned coastal property. There is literally a shed load of case law over the last 150 years that supports these constitutional rights and the states interpretation of them. Since the 1970's the Coastal Commission, fully empowered by power given it by the constitution, has prevailed every single time in these lawsuits.
Khosla position has zero legal standing. None. Zilch. Nada. Never had. Never will have. And unless his very expensive lawyers have been lying to him from the very beginning then Khosla knew this all along. So one must infer that he is just a profoundly arrogant rich prick. To such an extreme degree he makes Larry Ellison look like Mother Teresa.
It is becoming very obvious that Khosla really did not understand the oath he took when he became a US citizen as he seems to have a such profound contempt for the constitution by his actions. So maybe he should just hand in his renouncement declaration and f*ck off back to India where his BJP buddies would most certainly organize things more to his satisfaction. For it seems that Khosla by his legal actions over the years considers the rest of us citizens of Californian as little more than dalits. To be treated with disdain and contempt.
Maybe its because I also took that oath too, but unlike Khosla I have only the greatest respect for my fellow citizens, that I think that it is becoming obvious that Khosla really does not understand even the most basic obligations and duties of being the citizen of the country and the state that made him very very rich and has given him such a very very comfortable life.
I can think of at least several dozen tech billionaires. Only a small minority are arrogant pricks. A small handful. I'll be quiet happy with my eight figure sum, when I cash out. Envy of the sort you allude too is purely a European vice.
I must assume that you are not in the US so as a result dont even begin to understand just how citizenship works in the US. The only country in Europe that even starts to come close is Switzerland. US politics is such a loud noisy argumentative process because by default power devolves to the lowest possible level. In European countries (bar Switzerland ) you just get whatever little crumbs of power the state deigns to give you. So for average Americans the power pyramid is inverted. In the UK local elections are pretty much irrelevant. And only occasionally do national elections matter. Like the last one. In the US, the local is the really important one, the state level next, the federal far less so. What happens in City Hall and in Sacramento is far more important to my day to day life than what happens in DC. Very much the equivalent of the European Parliament in the EU. Its only real power is to cause mischief.
So thats why I take the oath and its responsibilities seriously. As do my fellow citizens. Because we are asked important questions ever election. When was the last time you had a direct say by vote on taxes, finance, laws, etc . In the UK? Three times (maybe) in the last 50 years. We get about 10 / 15 pages worth every two years. And more every 4 years. So just like in Switzerland everyone has a stake in the system. And everyone has an opinion. And everyone has very specific obligations as citizens. Which Khosla, at least in my opinion, show very little understanding of.
If Khosla does nt like the constitution then he can try to get the signatures to propose and then the votes to pass a proposition amending the law he does not like. Not going to happen because around 98% plus of the electorate are quite happy with the status quo. Both he and his lawyers know this.
"Like the last one. In the US, the local is the really important one, the state level next, the federal far less so. What happens in City Hall and in Sacramento is far more important to my day to day life than what happens in DC. Very much the equivalent of the European Parliament in the EU. Its only real power is to cause mischief."
FWIW, you just pretty much showed how US and various EU country elections work. In most EU countries, local elections are important to most people. The national elections, equivalent your state elections, are the next most important or the most important, depending on country. At the "top" is the EU Parliament elections, as you say, equivalent to US fed elections and, to most people, least important.
Having said that, based on media coverage, from the outside it looks like the US presidential election is the only one that matters, especially to the party faithful. Although I hope Trump is watching the UK very very closely. Heartland Labour areas went Tory in significant numbers last time around. The lesson to learn is that if you piss off your core supporters enough they will change sides, even if as a protest, despite generations of faith.
In the three non anglophone EU countries I know best, France, Italy and Germany, the three tiers of election are of varying importance but none come close to the relative power profile importance of town / region (state) / national in the US. In Germany its State/ Federal / local. In France its National / Commune / Regional. In Italy its National / local / Regional. And in none of the countries I know the politics of, including Scandinavia, has anything like the "Home Rule" city legal philosophy of most US states. For example a Chartered City / County in California has far more de jure sovereign authority than even a German Lander. The strongest non Federal / National government unit in the EU.
As I said, only Switzerland comes close With the relative important of Commune, Canton and Confederation. In that order.
Outsiders obsess with US Federal politics because thats the only one that kind of maps onto their political world in Europe. And due to foreign affairs the only one that might have an impact on their lives. But to the locals here, the idiots two thousand miles away in DC can cause much mischief but it the complete idiots in City Hall and in the State Capitol who can really mess up your day to day life. And we have more than enough of those to worry about at the moment.
Looks to me somebody should do the same to him, just buy a strip of land just outside his, all the way around and block his access to his property. Of course there will have to be a path to the public access path to the beach, but I am quite sure there is a way to forbid this unmentionable from using it.
On my travels i've seen the following attempts:
"Alternative walker routes" signposted next to the foot path (often with flowers, sculptures and other things to entice the rambler from tramping though gardens) I actually don't mind this too much)
Footpaths left to grow impassable
Ploughed under paths
Ones where the landowner has removed the stiles, even from drystone walls
A bloody tunnel (many tunnels)
Always having shoots so that people are kept away for their own safety
So much barbed wire
Locked gates over bridges
My favourite is private security guards who literally walk next to you from the second you set foot on the path to when you leave. (3x times all very local to each other, owners are Swiss, Russian and Saudi respectively)
It seems there's a certain class of person who buys land but doesn't want any of the duties and hates the fact that you exist and wants you to know they hate you.
Think of what this does to the value of startups funded by Khosla Ventures now that Vinod Khosla is spending enormous amounts of money being a public asshole and wasting taxpayer money. He could have created a new trail, or even moved his houses, for much less money than he's prepared to spend on lawyers. He could have even done like the previous owner and sold beach-front parking spaces.
> the US Constitution precludes the government from simply taking private property and giving it to the public
-- The Shill
> ... nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
-- The Fifth Amendment
I guess he forgot about that last bit. They do have to pay for it, though.
But the taking is being done by Mr. Fecal Brain.
It's a pre-existing right of way, of demonstrable long standing from literally decades before he had any interest in this property.
He's just lucky it's in Californiastan because in other parts of the country the locals would have organized an "attitude adjustment party" and his paid security would have been "persuaded" to look the other way while certain "adjustments" were made, more in line with the community ambiance.
If it didn't work the first time, the next time would see an improved "path" made by grading a road made with the largest available Cat Crawler Tractor, all the way to the beach. Immediately followed with as large a Beach Party Cookout could be arranged.
As I mentioned above the Federal Constitution has no standing in this case , the California Constitution covers the relevant law in an exceptionally thorough manner. There is about 150 years of heavy duty case law on the subject. The railroads tried for decades to grab shoreline real estate in the late 19'th century and later big oil companies.
By this stage Khosla is probably well into vexatious lawsuit territory but because he is one of the biggest political donors in the Valley, mostly Democrat, none of the local pols are willing to set the dogs on him. Which would have happened long ago if anyone else tried this very blatant attempt to subvert the law of the state.
"By this stage Khosla is probably well into vexatious lawsuit territory but because he is one of the biggest political donors in the Valley, mostly Democrat, none of the local pols are willing to set the dogs on him."
Hence why elected and /or politically appointed judges can be a bad idea.
Not at all. Its not the judges who are the problem. Its the pols and their various facilitators.
On the whole the local county / city judges are fine. The state level ones can be iffy. Its the people on the Board of Supervisors, the State Assembly members and especially the various senor state officials in Sacramento who tend to be the problem. A quick dig into Khoslas political contribution pattern would soon show up just who he is paying off to make things not happen. Which is the situation here. In this case I would look to the outer circle of Jerry Browns entourage. He is the major conduit of the various political influence funds from these sources for the last decade or so.
So I would look in Sacramento rather than San Mateo County for just how Khosla has distributed his funds to buy influence over the years. I dont see him pissing away his political contribution money ineffectually the way Steyer, Zuckerberg or Reed Hastings have. Although Steyer probably made a very good ROI on the money he spent to the whole anti-fracking scam. For someone who made his money from coal etc plays in his earlier hedge funds his later hedge funds were remarkably tight lipped on investment strategy when it came to sell side research. Very odd for that particular kind of hedge fund.
Since the property was purchased by our client, the state, and small activist groups, have endeavored to seize our client’s private property without compensation. While such tactics are commonplace in communist systems, they have never been tolerated in the American system where the US Constitution precludes the government from simply taking private property and giving it to the public.
Did he seriously manage to say this with a straight face? It'd take an awfully ignorant lawyer to not know how ancient easement is.
Where I live in the U.S. I've seen my access to A LOT of land out in "farm country" come to an end.
Either after it was "condemned/re-purposed" by city/state entities, and/or was purchased by individuals (often urban residents unfamiliar with locals/practices ).
On the other hand, I have experienced an odd emotion when I've seen people walking across land that I considered "mine".
It's almost like a primal greed or hostility, maybe my "lizard" brain is kicking in?
It is not too hard to imagine myself putting up a fence even though I know it isn't really a good idea.
And I kind of understand why a few disputes turn nasty - even though this one seems a bit extreme.
I laugh when I watch these house hunter shows where they say you own that part of the beach. Sorry, but it is a matter of federal law that a beach is a public resource and has delegated management of said resource to the states. People have had charges filed against them for trespassing even though it has been shown that there is a defacto public right of way that is being illegally blocked. These usually just get thrown out of court. Now that the CCC has filed suit, the judge can force him to remove the gate or face prison time for defying a court order.
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