Property wrongs


Regarding Mark Massara’s letter concerning Marshall Grossman and the Trancas Beach Property Owners Association, let me assure Mr. Massara that the property owners are solidly with Mr. Grossman. Mrs. Wan’s animus toward some people in Malibu and on Broad Beach has never been a secret. Whether or not this has affected her actions in regard to Broad Beach, I can only guess, although I was present at one of her theatrical visits to the beach, and if Mrs. Wan’s intention was to inform the public about beach access, it’s no wonder the public is confused about the issues.

Mr. Massara, judged by his letter, doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp of the issues, either. As far as I know, it is neither illegal nor immoral to own property on the beach. And yet several years ago I was also present when Peter Douglas, staff director of the Coastal Commission, visited Broad Beach and like some grand poobah scanned the landscape and announced that he intended to take beach property away from private owners and give it to the public. And that is what he has been trying to do through the dubious method of requiring a homeowner to give up an easement as a quid pro quo for the Commission’s approval of a building permit, a practice that has already been denounced by the U.S. Supreme Court as “extortion.” And as much as Mr. Douglas may claim that these swaps were “voluntary,” I have yet to hear of a homeowner who didn’t feel that he or she had no choice in the matter. If Mr. Massara believes that it is fair to take private property without compensation then let him argue his case on that basis.

It is exasperating to the homeowners to be falsely accused of blocking public access to the beach. There are two public access ways to Broad Beach, and every year thousands of people -most of whom don’t seem to give a hoot about Mr. Douglas’s or Mrs. Wan’s private agenda -park their cars (for free) along Broad Beach Road and come through these entry ways to walk on the beach, bird watch, swim, dive, surf, windsail and generally enjoy the view. The homeowners maintain the dunes and keep the beach (and their own property) clean of trash left by the public so that it will continue to be a lovely place to visit. At the same time, the homeowners have the right that every other property owner in the country takes for granted, that is to protect themselves from unwanted trespassers.

Nobody is in favor of blocking coastal access, Mr. Massara’s wild fulminations and Mrs. Wan’s theatrics to the contrary, but it does seem reasonable to ask people to try to reach a rational understanding of the issues based on the facts and not on emotions.

Marshall Lumsden