Billionaire’s Fight to Close Path to a California Beach Comes to a Dead End

first_imgIt was a happy day for Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla: He lost his battle.On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Khosla’s appeal to overturn a ruling that the beach access path cutting through a coastal village he owns near Half Moon Bay, California, must stay open.Now Khosla, a billionaire who founded Sun Microsystems and helped lay the foundations of the consumer internet, has to apply for a permit to close the narrow road down to a popular surfing spot known as Martin’s Beach. That’s it.But over nearly a decade in the courts, the battle became deeply symbolic to Khosla, who has said he was fighting on principle to stop a violation of property rights. So why was he likely to be happy he lost? He has said he never wanted to win.As the case wound its way up to the Supreme Court, it threatened to gut California’s Coastal Act of 1976, which enshrines public access to beaches as a right.“If I were to ever win in the Supreme Court, I’d be depressed about it,” he told The New York Times this year. “I support the Coastal Act; I don’t want to weaken it by winning. But property rights are even more important.”The situation began shortly after 2008 when Khosla bought a 53-acre hillside on the Northern California coast. It had about 47 cottages on it and was known as Martin’s Beach. While the previous owners had largely left the gate to the beach open and charged for parking, Khosla decided not to do the same. He tried to close the road, immediately sparking a controversy.Over the years, the battle grew increasingly contentious. At one point, Khosla, who owns the land through a holding company, hired guards to stand at the top of the road. In 2012, five surfers were arrested and became known as the Martin’s Five.The Surfrider Foundation, which led the fight to keep the road open, hailed the Supreme Court’s decision as one that saves the coast from being slowly privatized by wealthy landowners.“Whether you have to drive an hour to the coast and picnic or whether you can spend $32 million and buy property adjacent to the coast, the beach belongs to everybody,” said Eric Buescher, an attorney working on the case for the Surfrider Foundation. “The Coastal Act survives the whims of a billionaire and continues to protect the people of California.”If the Supreme Court had heard the case and ultimately ruled in favor of Khosla, the ruling could have not only reshaped the laws that govern 1,100 miles of California shoreline but also affected public access to beaches, lakes and waterways in 22 states, according to the Surfrider Foundation.“This case reaffirms that you cannot make a unilateral decision to shut down a beach that has provided generations of families with memories,” Lisa Haage, chief of enforcement at the California Coastal Commission, said in a statement.For Khosla, this means the state is forcing him to keep open a money-losing business. The beach, he had argued, is not as popular as it used to be, and charging for parking no longer covers the cost of an attendant and maintenance of public facilities.“No owner of private business should be forced to obtain a permit from the government before deciding who it wants to invite onto its property,” Khosla’s lawyer Dori Yob Kilmer said in a statement. “No business owner should be forced to obtain a permit from the government to shut down a private business, to change prices from those that existed in 1972 (as the state has demanded) or to change hours of operation.”The Supreme Court’s action Monday ends this peculiar saga, which has captivated Silicon Valley.Well, it might end it. Khosla, who referred questions to Kilmer, must now apply for that permit to close the road to Martin’s Beach.“If denied,” Kilmer said, “we will start this process over again.”© 2018 New York Times Related Itemslast_img read more

Rivers defends state drycleaning charges

first_imgState Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, said Wednesday that out of several reimbursements she’s allowed to charge to the state, she only asks to be reimbursed for her mileage and her dry cleaning during the session.She tops the Associated Press’ list of lawmakers charging dry-cleaning expenses since the start of 2011. Rivers, who was a House member until appointed to the Senate last summer, charged $519 for dry cleaning. Despite those charges, Rivers said, “you’ll always find money left in my expense account.”Legislators may be reimbursed for several job-related expenses, including in-state airfare, shipping, conventions related to the Legislature, office supplies, meals and lodging.“We’re expected to wear a suit every day,” Rivers said. “After a while the dry cleaning piles up. … You should look nice and you should smell nice and you should be doing the work of the people.”Rivers also pointed out that in 2011, she took a voluntary, 3 percent pay cut in her legislative salary. Legislative salaries are $42,106 a year.last_img read more

Maranello – Reported by Elite Traveler the privat

first_imgMaranello – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineUsain Bolt, world-record holder and gold medal winner at the Olympic Games over 100 and 200 meters, experienced a special day in Maranello, where he tested a 458 Italia and 599 GTB Fiorano on the circuit of the Prancing Horse. The sprinter was excited in the cars as a passenger next to the test-drivers Dario Benuzzi and Raffaele De Simone, while later on he completed some laps himself behind the wheel. At the end of the day he couldn’t hide his love for the 458 Italia. “It’s a little bit like me, very reactive and determined!”Later on Bolt joked about the high heartbeat provoked by test-driver Dario Benuzzi, who showed him how to control the car on a wet track. “I was really scared, but it was a good scare. I’m excited like a child.”“Today,” Bolt added, “I feel very close to the team. I am sorry for yesterday’s result, but that’s sport, I know what I’m talking about. There are ups and downs, but it’s important to know how to get back on the track and I’m convinced that Ferrari knows how to do that.” read more