My name is Chris Alexander, and I want to let the student population know about a protest to stop the barricading of our beach access as a means to prevent Floatopia. The California Coastal Commission has annual meetings next Wednesday and Thursday at 9 a.m. in the board of supervisors’ chambers at 105 E Anapamu St. I will be presenting our case as to why such closures are in direct defiance of our state constitution, and are more or less completely unreasonable. I recently e-mailed our board of supervisors and parks directors, imploring them to rethink their ridiculous policy that discriminates against all I.V. and UCSB residents. Below is the letter I sent. The Coastal Commission is already very interested in our case and has a call in to the parks department. I ask for your help in raising awareness of this issue.
Dear Supervisors and Parks Directors:
I am e-mailing you in regards to Floatopia and your beach closures of the past two years. I and the other residents of Isla Vista see this as a blatant and egregious violation of our state constitutional rights, pursuant to Article 10, Section 4 of the California State Constitution, as well as our right to access the water pursuant to Section 30001.5(c) of the California Coastal Act, which state:
ARTICLE 10 WATER, SEC. 4.
“No individual, partnership, or corporation, claiming or possessing the frontage or tidal lands of a harbor, bay, inlet, estuary, or other navigable water in this State, shall be permitted to exclude the right of way to such water whenever it is required for any public purpose, nor to destroy or obstruct the free navigation of such water; and the Legislature shall enact such laws as will give the most liberal construction to this provision, so that access to the navigable waters of this State shall be always attainable for the people thereof.”
“Maximize public access to and along the coast and maximize public recreational opportunities in the coastal zone consistent with sound resources conservation principles and constitutionally protected rights of private property owners.”
I understand your safety concerns pertaining to past events, and I understand that the coastal act provides for such restrictions in Section 30210 and Section 30005(b), which state:
“In carrying out the requirement of Section 4 of Article X of the California Constitution, maximum access, which shall be conspiculously posted, and recreational opportunities shall be provided for all the people consistent with public safety needs and the need to protect public rights, rights of private property owners and natural resource areas from overuse.”
“On the power of any city or county or city and county to declare, prohibit, and abate nuisances.”
However, with the current alcohol ban on the beach, the potential for mixing the beach and alcohol is at a minimum, thus the potential unsafe nature of the event is no more so than a day at the beach in any other coastal city. As for the nuisance factor, far more people flock to the beaches of Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties than in Isla Vista. The residents that live on those beaches have to contend with hundreds of thousands of people invading the areas directly surrounding their homes, causing traffic, parking issues, litter and noise. Yet, for their residents, closing these beaches would be unthinkable, and I would wager that if a similar ban was put in place it would be met with widespread public outrage and be promptly overturned. Since our relative population in Isla Vista is so small, you think that it is within your right to invoke the aforementioned provisions to block what is, without alcohol, nothing more than just a very busy day at the beach. Simply put, this is wrong, and despite our size, we will not accept this decision.
If you are all so concerned about the safety level of the beach, you would inform the sheriffs department to do a better job enforcing the laws currently on the books. Being drunk in public is against the law already, as is littering and damaging county property. Furthermore, we live in a country where people are not judged on the basis of crimes they have yet to commit. Preemptively closing our beaches when there are adequate laws in place to protect our residents is not just ridiculous, but also a violation of the coastal act and state constitution. Therefore, I ask you to cease and desist from such future actions, apologize to the Isla Vista and Goleta residents whose rights you have violated over the past three years, and if our safety is of such a demanding concern to you, find a better way to handle these situations without violating our rights. The Coastal Commission has been informed of your actions, and calls have been put in to the ACLU and Pacific Legal Fund. I sincerely hope that you will rethink this ridiculous policy to avoid an embarrassing and costly legal battle. Thank you for your time. I hope you make the right decision.