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Free the Beach! Affordable overnight visits for all LA Times

Robert Garcia, the founding director of the City Project, has long worked on equal access to California’s parks and recreational facilities. He praised the bill and offered to work with Gonzalez to make her legislation as strong as possible.

The measure by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-Chula Vista) calls on the California State Coastal Conservancy to create a program that would preserve and add to the number of low-cost hotels, motels and hostels in coastal areas, particularly on parkland.

The bill would require the conservancy to work with the California Department of Parks and Recreation and to develop a separate pilot program to explore the development, maintenance and operation of affordable accommodations by the private sector and nonprofit organizations. . . .

Equitable access to coastline has emerged as a major concern of organizations that represent low-income people of color and the California Coastal Commission, which is responsible for protecting public access to the state’s beaches.

According to the commission, a room at a budget hotel in beach areas costs between $135 and $260 a night during the summer — an expense that many low-income families cannot afford.

The commission also reports that since 1989, about 24,720 economy rooms have been lost along the coast because of hotel and motel closures and remodels. Such affordable accommodations now make up only 5% of the rooms available in coastal areas.

Recent polling by UCLA and San Francisco State University indicates that the expense of travel, parking and overnight accommodations is becoming too much for many potential visitors, making the coast inaccessible to ordinary people, especially low-income families that live inland. . . .

Robert Garcia, the founding director of the City Project, has long worked on equal access to California’s parks and recreational facilities. He praised the bill and offered to work with Gonzalez to make her legislation as strong as possible.

“We do agree with the thrust of this bill and the steps that are suggested,” he said. “But we think the devil is in the details.”

Garcia said the measure does not address people of color or minorities specifically, and the bill needs to stress compliance with state civil rights laws, including equal justice provisions recently added to the California Coastal Act, which is enforced by the Coastal Commission.

“If you use a euphemism, such as under-served communities or low-income communities, it is not effective,” he said. “People of color can be left behind.”

Read the rest of this story by Dan Weikel in the L.A. Times [link added].

Free the Beach! Stop action video Sam García ’18