Map by Bob AulSan Clemente-based Surfrider Foundation just issued its fourth annual State of the Beach report. Conclusion: privatization is the No. 1 threat to beach access nationwide. That got us looking at the OC coastline, where privatization has gone on for years, especially in Laguna Beach—where some ostensibly public coves are behind private gates. Residential growth along the coastline also makes taxpayer-funded beaches essentially private since there's no parking for anyone other than residents. We'll even speculate that privatization will eventually swallow up Huntington Beach's sun-splashed strand across Pacific Coast Highway from the imperial resorts—envision a day when those hotels erect cabanas on the city-owned beach, followed by cabana boys and the shooing away of riff-raff. This map shows where erosion, pollution and privatization make our beaches increasingly off limits.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.