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AS ADVOCATES PREPARE TO SUE, COASTAL COMMISSION ISSUES CEASE AND DESIST ORDER AGAINST MALIBU HOMEOWNERS

NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

Los Angeles State Historic ParkThe California Coastal Commission issued a Cease and Desist Order against the Trancas Property Owners Association in Broad Beach, Malibu, in August 2005, to prevent the continued use of illegal “private property” and “no trespassing” signs, fencing, and private security guards on all-terrain vehicles that harass and prevent the public from reaching the public beach. The Cease and Desist Order is long overdue, given the Broad Beach property owners’ long history of fighting public access on Broad Beach. In June 2005, property owners in Broad Beach took the utterly astonishing step of using heavy equipment to remove sand from public land and pile it onto their property.
In a letter to the Coastal Commission concerned California residents Bernard Bruce, Carol Jacques, and Edwin Rosales, along with The City Project, Environmental Law Foundation, and the private law firms of Hadsell & Stormer, Inc., and Kecker Van Nest, LLP, announced plans to file a lawsuit to enforce the public’s rights under the California Coastal Act, the California Constitution, and other California state laws if the Commission failed to issue the Cease and Desist Order to stop illegal signs, fencing, ATVs, and public harassment.

Bernard Bruce is the grandson of the original owners and developers of Bruces’ Beach in Manhattan Beach, the only beach resort in Southern California that allowed African Americans at a time when most parks, pools, hotels, and other recreation facilities were off-limits to people of color. As coastal land became more valuable and the Black population in Los Angeles increased – bringing more African Americans to Bruces’ Beach – so did White opposition to the Black beach. City officials pressured the Bruces to sell at prices below fair market value and prevailed through condemnation proceedings in the 1930s. Mr. Bruce has made a life-long commitment to ensure equal access to the beach.

Carol Jacques was a child when her family was forcibly evicted from Chavez Ravine, a bucolic Latino community near downtown Los Angeles through the 1950s. The City of Los Angeles forcibly evicted the residents of Chavez Ravine and destroyed their homes and way of life with promises of affordable housing. The City then broke its promises and sold the land to the Dodgers, who drowned Chavez Ravine in a sea of asphalt to build Dodger Stadium and 50,000 places for cars to park with not a single place for children to play. Ms. Jacques opposes the privatization of public space and is committed to equal access to public beaches for all.

Edwin Morales is a youth soccer coach with the Anahuak Youth Soccer Association. Every Friday evening or Saturday afternoon, Mr. Morales takes his ten 14 year-olds to the beach to exercise, train, and enjoy the ocean breezes and views. According to Mr. Morales, the children who live in Koreatown, Pico-Union, and other inner city communities did better in school, developed important leadership and interpersonal skills, and exhibited less behavioral problems once they began participating in organized sports. The weekly visits to the beach—which encourage the youths to have fun while they train— contribute to the students’ improved performance on and off the soccer field. Mr. Morales is committed to protecting the right of the children he coaches and others to public beaches for recreation, education, and fun.