State Parks a bully?

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Have I misunderstood one of the major issues connected with each of the state’s purchases (Topanga Beach in the 1970s and the rest of Lower Topanga in 2001)?

A number of people from Lower Topanga’s several former neighborhoods have told me that, despite a protracted struggle, they were forced to leave after each of the state’s purchases. By their own account, there was some degree of financial compensation paid out, but I’m puzzled to read that Lynette Brody, Topanga general plan superintendent, “emphasized” at this month’s public meeting that business and homeowners “fled” the area and “were not forced or ejected.”

I realize there are still a handful of Lower Topanga businesses operating, but conversations with former residents as well as news archives from the time period present a picture out of alignment with Brody’s description. I thought I had the facts straight but maybe somebody can set me straight. In contrast to Brody’s words, Paul Sisolak’s article did use the words “forced to move” and “evicted” in several places, so it seems both sides were represented.

Hilary Smith