No Beach Access: The California Coastal Commission and the Parking Lot Shysters of Paradise Cove in Malibu

by Owen James Burke


(Photo: Anne Cusack, Los Angeles Times)

Oren Dothan (above) was barred from surfing at Paradise Cove after he and a friend reluctantly paid a parking attendant unlawful commission for parking and beach access to Paradise Cove. Then, on their way into the water, the attendant stopped them and told them he would have their car towed if they brought their surfboards across the sand.

It’s hard enough to find a parking space and a relatively clean, uncrowded surfing beach in Los Angeles, and it’s shysters like the Paradise Cove Land Co. who are barring beach-goers from the precious spit of public sand and making it damn near impossible.


(Photo: Anne Cusack, Los Angeles Times)

“It’s shocking that a private party would have the audacity to require payment for surfing in state waters,” a Coastal Commission official told the LA Times.

Oren Dothan, an architect from Israel who has lived in Los Angeles for 15 years, told the Los Angeles Times that after already having paid an illegitimate parking fee, he and a friend were hassled by a parking lot attendant — whose occupation, according to the land’s lease, is illegal — for attempting to bring their surfboards to the beach. The two were chased into the water by lifeguards, who gave up on them after about 10 or 15 minutes. When they got out of the water, the local police were their. Outside of their own jurisdiction, and the laws they purport to protect, an officer notified the surfing duo that if they didn’t cough up an extra $20 each, they would be arrested.

Kissel Co., also operating under Paradise Cove Land Co., does hold a 10-year lease to the property, the terms of that lease state that “the lessee shall take no action to discourage reasonable use by the general public of this access.” Furthermore, according to the Los Angeles Times, the California State Lands Commission and Kissel Co.’s lease state that the lessee must allow access “to and through the leased area for the general public, including non-paying visitors.”

Meanwhile, some surfers are making a 40-minute paddle to the cove from neighboring beaches like Escondido and Point Dume because “sometimes it’s worth it,” says co-president of the Black Surfers Collective Jeff Williams, who has also filed grievances with the Coastal Commission.


(Graphics: LA Times)

Read more at the LA Times — OB

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