Tech billionaire, ordered to reopen public beach, appeals to Supreme Court

A ruling against Vinod Khosla over Martin’s Beach, above, ‘will throw private property rights in California into disarray’, say Khosla’s lawyers. /Photograph- Marcin Wichary/Flickr

Investor Vinod Khosla has battled regulators for years over Martin’s Beach, which can only be reached by road on his property

The Guardian

A Silicon Valley billionaire who was ordered by California courts to restore public access to a popular surfing beach is seeking to take his case to the U.S. Supreme court.

The case could entirely upend public access to beaches in a state with more than 1,000 miles of shoreline.

Vinod Khosla, the influential technology investor and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has been battling California regulators and environmental advocates for years over access to Martin’s Beach, a picturesque cove about 30 miles south of San Francisco that can only be reached by a private road across Khosla’s property.

Khosla has consistently lost his legal fight, thanks to California state law that regulates access to the coastline – and prioritizes public access to beaches. In August 2017, a California appeals court ordered him to restore access by unlocking the gate to the road, an order with which he has only intermittently complied.

In a petition to the Supreme Court, Khosla’s attorneys argued that the state law regulating California’s coastline is “Orwellian,” and the state court’s interpretation of the law in Khosla’s case “crosses a constitutional line.”

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