Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

What is the sound of one beach closing?

Since the News-Press has long since given up running the disclaimer that they should be running every time they talk about the Coastal Commission, BlogaBarbara will:

While reading this editorial, please keep in mind that News-Press owner Wendy McCaw lost a series of bitter and expensive (even by mega millionaire standards) legal battles with the Coastal Commission when she tried to privatize the beach adjacent to her sprawling 25 acre Hope Ranch estate. The News-Press respects its readers enough to provide them with this information, so that they can decide for themselves as to whether our suggestion that Clearly Evil Coastal Commissioners should have their budgets slashed and then be put in stocks on De La Guerra Plaza and pummeled with fresh local abalone is really motivated by our clear-eyed defense of the public interest, or by, you know, something else.

It's really 25 acres, according to a 2002 piece in the New Yawk Times. A couple of city blocks, all to herself! The line they always take is that access doesn't matter. The little people can pack themselves onto the downtown beaches, right?

Fooey! I'm sure there are some wonderful writings out there about the importance of access, the importance to the human soul of being able to go places. John Muir must've written about this. But it's just plain common sense: people are just plain more likely to value and want permanent protections for a resource they have access to than one that's behind a gate that they don't have the keys to. Anyway, who cares? We're talking about people going for walks at sunset and maybe the occasional dip in the ocean, not drive-by SUVs, giant bonfires, herds of drunk city college kids or setting up oil drilling gear.

In other words, if a beach closes on the coastline but there's no one there to visit it, does it matter?


Blogger David Pritchett said...

Yes, it matters. Funny thing about coastal access, the enviro-planning wonks distinguish between HORIZONTAL access and VERTICAL access.

So I doubt much if any vertical access from the inland side ever will happen with keg-toting drunks displaced from Butterfly Beach looking for beach access via the Billionairess private estate in Hopeless Ranch, but plenty of the public should maintain their legal right to horizontal access for walking along the beach during low tide, an option that would have been blocked if Windee prevailed in Court.

The April 5th article in News-Press was surprisingly candid about the history of its corporate owner and this coastal access issue, perhaps a good indication that the News is still separate from the Opinion of that publication.

4/07/2005 10:52 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I haven't read the editorial yet -- cause I can't!!! I must dig through coffee house dustbins to find the N-P.

Well, someday....

4/07/2005 9:18 PM  

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