San Mateo County Judge Takes Tour Of 'Martins Beach'

May 15, 2014
ABC 7 News

The judge in the case over the disputed access to the storied Martin's Beach surfing spot in Half Moon Bay got a guided tour of the area Thursday. The private Martin's Beach Road, right off Highway 1, has been gated by billionaire Vinod Khosla. The question -- did he break the law with that gate?

Normally, when you go to a court case, you go to courthouse, like the one in San Mateo County. You sit in a room with a judge and a jury, and it's very formal. On Thursday, things were very different as the case literally went to the beach.

Just like any other day in court, the judge and attorneys arrived on time. They drove past a disputed gate, down a controversial road to a private and very beautiful court exhibit by the sea.

"I would hope that once the judge saw this magnificent beach and this sole access, I would hope that would help her decide the issue before us," attorney Joe Cotchett told ABC7 News.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara Mallach wore neither robes nor beach attire as she looked around Martin's Beach. The 53-acre, $37.5 million property was purchased in 2008 by billionaire Vinod Khosla, who co-founded Sun Microsystems. 

The question is will the court allow him, a private landowner, to gate the road and close off coastal access without a permit, on land the general public has used for a century?

"This is a direct attack on the people of California and their right to enable themselves to enact laws that will give them access to public beaches," Cotchett said... (To read the entire article and view the clip, please click HERE)