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  1. #1
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    Billionaire wants 30M USD to allow beachgoers to cross his California property


    Five years ago, Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla closed a road on his $32.5 million California beachfront property, an 89-acre spread, that surfers had used for decades to get to the public beach. Now, after years of litigation, he is putting a price on reopening the road: $30 million.

    Mr. Khosla, one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems Inc. and a prominent venture capitalist, wants the money to pay for public bathrooms, employees and road maintenance at Martin’s Beach, according to a letter his lawyer sent to the California State Lands Commission, a public agency in charge of the state’s natural resources.

    Surfers and land access activists are fighting back, arguing that they have a right to get to the beach. The commission says the amount Mr. Khosla requested is inflated. California Governor Jerry Brown has threatened that eminent domain could be used to reopen the road, according to the commission.

    “This is a case of a person who thinks he’s bigger than the law because he has more money than anyone else,” says Rob “Birdlegs” Caughlan, a 72-year old surfer who has been riding the waves at Martin’s Beach since 1959. Mr. Khosla and his lawyer declined to comment.

    The battle for the beach near Half Moon Bay, Calif., a city known for its fishing and big-wave surfing tucked along the coast between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, has revealed anxiety about how extreme wealth is transforming the region.

    Oracle Corp.ORCL -0.49% co-founder Larry Ellison once sparred with his neighbors in San Francisco over redwood trees that obstructed his view, offering them $15 million to get them off the property. Also in San Francisco, Facebook Inc.FB -0.93% founder Mark Zuckerberg’s neighbors have complained that his security team hogs public parking spots along their block.

    Mr. Khosla made a name for himself as a green investor of sorts. His venture capital firm Khosla Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif., invests heavily in clean-tech companies in solar, wind and battery startups.

    Half Moon Bay is a sleepy community that feels far removed from the hustle of the tech industry, a short drive away. Still, there are splashes of wealth: a Ritz Carlton resort is located on the outskirts. Home prices rose 8.6% in Half Moon Bay during the past year, according to Zillow.

    Mr. Khosla’s property lies on Martin’s Beach, a cove and sandy beach protected by 75-foot tall cliffs at the northern and southern ends, and a sloping bluff in between. On a recent afternoon, sea lions and birds lounged on a steep, dramatic rock formation.

    It has been a “popular destination for fishing, picnicking, surfing and other recreational uses for almost a century,” according to the California State Lands Commission. The surfing is particularly popular among “goofy-footed surfers” – those who surf facing left – because the beach’s waves break to the left.

    About 40 small rental cabins dot the bluff above Martin’s Beach and are on Mr. Khosla’s land. He bought it in 2008 from the Deeney family, a local family that had owned it since the early 1900s. Mr. Khosla does not live there, and the cabin leases are set to expire in the next several years.

    Surfers say they believe Mr. Khosla wants to build a compound near the cabins. Mr. Khosla has not said in court what he plans to do with the land.

    During his first two years as landowner, Mr. Khosla allowed people to access the beach, like they had been able to do under the previous owner, who charged a small parking fee. Then in 2010, Mr. Khosla locked a gate on his land and occasionally hired security guards to turn people away. He also put up signs warning against trespassing.

    Two groups soon filed lawsuits, both of which are ongoing. All beaches in California are open to the public up to the average high-tide line, but the public’s right to access the beach is more complicated.

    “Simply because you have enough money to buy the property next to the coast doesn’t mean you can keep the public out of what the public owns,” said Eric Buescher, an attorney from Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy who represents the Surfrider Foundation, one of the groups to have filed a lawsuit.

    In 2015, the San Mateo County sheriff’s office released a statement that it will not be making arrests or issuing citations for trespass at Martin’s Beach, even though there are “No Trespassing” signs on the property.

    In 2014, Gov. Brown stepped in. He signed a bill that gave Mr. Khosla and the state lands commission until the end of 2015 to negotiate an agreement, otherwise the state is authorized to use eminent domain to allow public access to the beach.

    At the beginning of February, Mr. Khosla’s lawyer sent a letter to the commission saying it would cost the venture capitalist $30 million to open the road, which takes up about 6.5 acres. Reopening the road would involve expenses including $500,000 to provide bathrooms and $100,000 to $120,000 to pay employees, according to the letter.

    The lands commission conducted its own appraisal to determine the value of the passage, said Jennifer Lucchesi, the commission’s executive officer. It is “significantly less” than $30 million, but she would not reveal a specific amount.

    “We have not seen any supporting documentation or analysis that would support the $30 million,” Ms. Lucchesi said.

    Billionaire Vinod Khosla Seeks $30 Million to Let Beachgoers Cross His Property - Digits - WSJ

  2. #2
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    Someone should start a beach ferry service and leave Mr. India man high and dry with his useless road.
    Surely there are some surfers at the IRS who can take an interest in the road and Mr. Khosla's revenue stream?

  3. #3
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    just go and shit on his beach.

  4. #4
    Molecular Mixup
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    deport him and send his 3rd world values back where they came from.

    General Idi Amin had the right idea in Uganda 1972: he confiscated all the money the immigrants had extorted from the easy going locals , gave them £10 and kicked them out.

  5. #5
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    ^ and they ended up coming to Britain, and what do they do, they do as they do, fiddle the local population and take all their money.
    It's time to do the Idi Amin diplomacy trick again, their money could save the NHS

  6. #6
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    California has strong beach access laws and it's not like Thailand; he won't get very far with his greed.

  7. #7
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    Fuck all these hi-so cnuts who think their shit doesn't stink...How many has he screwed to get where he is today?...

    One thing: It must be so very hard for them to die...

  8. #8
    Fresh Seaman CaptainNemo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurgen View Post
    just go and shit on his beach.
    Donkeys will do that for you. Better still, elephant seals.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobR View Post
    California has strong beach access laws and it's not like Thailand; he won't get very far with his greed.
    Quite right. In 1978 I parked my automobile and spent a night on the beach at Half Moon Bay.
    Probably not the smartest thing to do with the 'Manson-mentality' (Charles) that could be found in and around the remote locations of California at that time.
    I wouldn't think about sleeping on a beach these days. Older ' n wiser ( hopefully).

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