Coastal justice along the California beach and coastal zone is at stake at Hollister Ranch. Failure to provide access disproportionately harms people who are of color, Native American, low income, disabled, or older, in violation of equal access, environmental justice, antidiscrimination, and democratic participation protections under state law. Our Free the Beach! report below analyzes coastal justice for all.
As Spencer Robins writes, “A developing body of research shows that access to open space is a vital part of human health and wellbeing. And it’s not evenly distributed; the people most often denied the benefits of forests and mountains and beaches are [. . . ] already marginalized and oppressed. Increasingly, coastal experts and advocates are arguing that planning in cases like Hollister needs to account for the economic, social, and practical barriers that prevent so many people from being able to enjoy their right to the beach [ . . . ] Robert García is an environmental and civil rights lawyer, director of The City Project, and advocate for what he calls ‘coastal justice’: a coastal movement recognizing ‘access to the coastal zone is about equal justice and human dignity and freedom,’ in García’s words. Coastal justice addresses the history of racial and economic oppression behind the unequal coastal access we see today. [The Gaviota Coastal Trail Alliance] includes in its legal briefs arguments based on environmental justice principles — arguments that coastal advocates have not typically used, despite a 2016 requirement for the Coastal Commission to consider environmental justice in its decisions [ . . . ] The Alliance’s most recent brief in the case describes the ‘legacy and pattern of discriminatory public and private beach, land use, and housing policies’ that have prevented low-income people and people of color from sharing in the benefits of a public coast.” Read The Long Battle over Coastal Justice at Hollister Ranch (KCET/Link 2018).
The 2004 National Parks Service study of the Gaviota Coast (2004) provides fair, fiscally responsible, and environmentally and economically sound alternatives for access.
Read our report Free the Beach! Coastal Access, Equal Justice, and Hollister Ranch (2018) by California LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), GreenLatinos, Robert Bracamontes, and The City Project, and our public comments to the California Coastal Commission (Dec. 13, 2018).
California LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens
Robert Bracamontes (Bob Black Crow, Yu-va’-tal ‘A’lla-mal, Acjachemen Nation, Juaneno Tribe) &
The City Project