BILLIONAIRE VINOD KHOSLA WIPES OUT AS SUPREME COURT DECLINES CASE
Have you heard of Vinod Khosla? He’s a billionaire and the co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Khosla lives on the coastline of Martins Beach. But he really, really, really wanted to prevent the public from having any access to “his” coastline. Khosla was so serious that petitioned to have his position heard. It went all the way up to the Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal, which means Khosla wipes out, surfer style, in the courts. Khosla’s San Mateo County home is the only access point to the public beach. Note: public beach. The access is thru a gated entrance, which Khosla decided to padlock on his own recognizance. That outraged surfers and beachgoers. A judge ruled in 2014 that he needed a permit to do so. He didn’t.
SURFERS HEAVEN MARTINS BEACH WILL REMAIN OPEN TO PUBLIC
Khosla had a strange legal rationale in his claims. There is a law, the California Coastal Act, which since 1976 has protected the public’s access to the coastlines. Khosla claimed that the Act violated his constitutional rights. But Khosla tried to play innocent with his selfish move. He said, “If I were to ever win in the Supreme Court, I’d be depressed about it. I support the Coastal Act; I don’t want to weaken it by winning. But property rights are even more important.” But despite his bullshit niceties, he did in fact take that risk to get a private beach he doesn’t own.
HIS VICTORY WOULD HAVE UPENDED BEACH PUBLIC ACCESS NATIONWIDE
So it’s not hyperbole to say that if he had won it would have altered everything not just in California, but nationwide. Mark Massara is an attorney who represented a foundation fighting the billionaire’s efforts. He said, “The only way they can find for Vinod is to throw out the entire California coastal program. It’s hard to fathom what would happen to California’s beaches and all beach access in the United States.” So it’s no surprise that everyone but Khosla is relieved. Angel Howe is the legal director of the Surfrider Foundation. She minced no words. “This win helps to secure beach access for all people, as is enshrined in our laws. Surfrider Foundation will always fight to preserve the rights of the many from becoming the assets of the few.”
Khosla, for his part, will work within the system and apply for a permit to limit the hours that people like you and me can access Martins Beach. So surfers, pay attention! Everyone wipes out otherwise. So maybe we should all visit!