Beach Curfew Fight Coming to a Head

By John Davis

Last August several people filed complaints with the California Coastal Commission that the City Council of Los Angeles passed a curfew preventing the public from accessing and using their public beaches at night. The Coastal Commission then sent advisory letters to the City Attorney and copied Councilpersons Rosendahl and Hahn, whose districts were affected. The Commission agreed that the Curfew violated the California Constitution and the California Coastal Act by preventing people from using the beaches they own, at any time.

The City Attorney responded by claiming the Coastal Commission did not have jurisdiction in the Coastal Zone, and failed to address the violation of the Constitution.

Peter Douglas, the Executive Director of the Coastal Commission, sent a final letter which required the City Council to respond and apply for Coastal Development Permits if the Council wanted to close the beaches to the public. The approval for permits would stand a slim chance of survival. The letter required the City Council to respond by last.

A request for the response was recently sent to the Coastal Commission. The Commission letter stated there is no public record of response by the City.

Councilman Rosendahl of CD 11, which includes Venice Beach, has made several remarks deploring the State Commission for enforcing the Coastal Act in Venice and ignores the State Constitution protections against such closures. In fact he recently advocated for establishment of private parking permits for residents of Playa del Rey. The Plan was denied by the Commission which voted unanimously to keep the beaches open to the people.

The Coastal Commission only has one move left. The Executive Director can now issue a temporary Cease and Desist Order, and a Restoration Order to force the City Council to withdraw. Once that is done then the Commission at a public meeting can make it germinate.

The problem is that the Coastal Commission moves far slower than a constipated elephant. The fact that Councilperson Rosendahl refuses to acknowledge the rule of law, the California Coastal Act passed by the State Legislature (which implements the U.S. Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 passed by the Congress), and the State Constitution itself is saddening.

Bill is simply pandering to real estate owners who really want the beach all to themselves. This would drive up their property values while all others fall. To do so, he is willing to spit in the face of the State Legislature, the U. S. Congress, and to trample the State Constitution, with due process of law, into the ground.

The Councilperson need only to place a resolution before the Council to remove the curfew, but he apparently does not have the balls. He seems to prefer forcing the State to spend its precious funds on a legal fight which Bill knows the City will lose. The State holds four aces and Bill can only throw down four jokers.


Categories: Environment, Surfing