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Visitors Often Abuse Malibu's Most Accessible Public Beaches

July 19, 2002

Steve Lopez seems to always conveniently leave out of his beach access columns that there is a beautiful stretch of sandy beach available to everyone, with ample parking; it is called Zuma ("A Concerted Effort to Free Malibu Beaches for the Rest of Us," July 17). There are also the Corral Canyon, Topanga and always-scenic Leo Carrillo beaches. Malibu Beach is great for everyone, and if one wanted to, one could walk at low tide for miles and park oneself on any patch of sand below the mean high-tide line.

I wonder if Lopez even knows what part of the Pacific Coast Highway he is talking about. It is very dangerous to cross the street by David Geffen's home, and there is little parking available. Does he really want moms and their kids in tow trying to cross a deadly highway with beach chairs, coolers and umbrellas?

While I can't speak for Geffen, I can say that it is people who do not live in Malibu who leave their filthy diapers, empty bottles, fast-food wrappers and used condoms all over the beaches. It is usually out-of-towners who make insane illegal U-turns or come to a dead stop in the middle of PCH to find a parking spot.

Yes, I live in Malibu, but I do not live on the beach, and my husband works hard for us to just scrape it together to live here. But may I suggest to Lopez: Instead of trying to get a tiny public beach access path in a dangerous area, why don't you instead write about how people can be more conscious of the environment and others' lives when they visit Malibu? Then bring your beach towel and chair down to Zuma to watch the dolphins and surfers; it is really quite lovely.

Alethea Guthrie



Re Malibu beaches: What's lacking is not public access but easy public access, and it is this lack of easy public access that makes these beaches desirable. Every beach in Malibu is accessible by any member of the public willing to walk, swim, row or sail for a short distance. Some people prefer a different beach experience, quieter and with fewer people around. We can get that experience by walking half a mile.

In Los Angeles, easy public access brings crowds of people, and the only thing that's different about Carbon Beach in Malibu is the lack of crowds.

Broad Beach is a perfect example of how providing easy public access diminishes the beach-going experience for everyone. There are several narrow public access ways provided along this beach. The residents have surveyed and posted the mean high-tide mark and hired private guards to patrol the beach on motorized vehicles to protect their legitimate property rights. A pleasant beach day has been transformed into a confrontational experience by well-meaning advocates of easy public access.

Access for All should devote its energies to improving the miles of existing beaches that provide easy public access. Places like Carbon Beach should be left alone so that those of us who are willing to walk a bit can have a different kind of beach experience.

Murray Levy

Pacific Palisades


Re "Not All Quiet on the Beachfront," July 12: Living in the western edge of Carpinteria, which abuts one of the most beautiful private beach areas in California, I am an ardent believer in public access, with this caveat: Clean up everything you bring; leave no wrappers, bottles, cans, dog doo-doo, etc. Leave it as beautiful and pristine as you found it.

B.L. "Bud" Fink


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