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Securing Coastal Access to Public Beaches

January 03, 2002

Re "Making Waves in Malibu" and "'Lifelines' to Sea May Wither, Die," Dec. 30: The coastline from Topanga Canyon north to Zuma Beach and beyond boasts few homes of architectural splendor. Many are stark, white, overblown beach homes among the meandering border of weathered wooden boxes, with the nooks and crannies of the canyons providing noteworthy exceptions. These properties fetch millions for one reason only: our public beaches.

There are no true liberals in Malibu. They want no outsiders--in this case, inner-city minorities--to obstruct their treasured lifestyles. Issues pertaining to security, such as noise, litter, urination and theft, exist the world over, and the residents of Malibu are in need of a reality check to get in touch with the recipients of those tax-deductible checks they've donated to their pet causes. The checks they write to help the homeless, or perhaps pediatric AIDS patients, are appreciated; however, are those recipients welcome to "their backyard," which happens to be "our backyard" as well?

Rollin Dexter

Toluca Lake

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Your articles made it sound as if only liberals are interested in opening beach access. Let me tell you, there are plenty of conservatives who are hopping mad about beach access not being opened to the public. The fact that this hasn't been done is just another example of how this has to be the worst-run state in the country.

How much could it possibly cost to maintain those access paths? I'm willing to bet that one full-time person with a pickup truck, a toolbox and a broom could maintain every path in Malibu. California, with a $104-billion budget, can't afford that? Give me a break! Yet here is California, waiting for a handout from nonprofit groups to maintain those paths. If the handouts don't come, the alternative is forfeiture of property worth millions of dollars and the public being shut out from beaches forever. This is not acceptable.

Michael Adams

Pacific Palisades

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You quote Ellen Stern Harris (cited as the "mother" of the Coastal Act) as saying, "I continue to pray for a tsunami, so we can get a fresh start."

Is the good "mother," as she seeks divine intervention and the utilization of a destructive force of nature for her cause, asking only for houses on the beach to be washed away or is she praying for a total wipeout that will take the occupants with it? In either case, it's a warm and heartfelt way to start a new year.

Allan Manings

Malibu

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As an alumnus of Pepperdine University--and consequently a former Malibu resident--I have been troubled and saddened for years by the existence of the town's private beaches. Now I am stunned to read about the president of the exclusive La Costa Beach Homeowners Assn. Jodi Siegler's fears concerning "safety, trash and sanitation on beaches without lifeguards or public toilets."

How can a woman who represents Eli Broad, David Geffen and Nancy Daly Riordan complain about a lack of public services on the beaches in Malibu? Any municipality that claims such citizens as these can undoubtedly afford to pay lifeguards the going rate of $12 an hour.

Let's be honest--these people are being selfish, snobby and elitist. I hope the Coastal Commission will enforce California's coastal access law. The residents of Malibu will still be the luckiest homeowners in Southern California.

Jonathan Talberg

Long Beach

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