Eat the rich.
The public’s right to beach access in California is as Californian as the Kardashians. As state funded plastic surgery. That golden sand, those cool blue waves belong to us all, not the wealthy few, and this California fact is regularly challenged but also regularly upheld.
Take the most recent case featuring wealthy Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Warren Lent and his lovely wife Henny. The Lents purchased a beachfront Malibu home in 2002 that had been built in the 1980s under a permit that required a five-foot public easement. The first owner didn’t care and built a deck over the space and a gate blocking it.
California’s Costal Commission warned the Lents that the gate must be removed or they would face fines upwards of $11,000 per day.
The Lents didn’t care and said their gate was necessary for “safety” maybe guarding against their new homeless neighbors. They also rented the house out for $9,000 a week and advertised it as having a “private beach.”
California’s Costal Commission became angry and levied a fine of $4.185 million, an amount that the Lents decried as “unconstitutional” and “excessive.”
The case wound its way up and down the courts until, yesterday, the appeals court concluded that “substantial evidence supported the Commission’s decision to issue the cease-and-desist order. We also conclude the Commission did not violate the Lents’ due process rights by imposing a $4,185,000 penalty.”
The heftiness is seen as a shot across other wealthy homeowners’ bows, particularly co-founder of Sun Microsystems Vinod Kholsa and his blocking of a beach south of Half Moon Bay.
Very un-Mavericks of him.