I often say that I love California the way only someone from New Jersey can love California—partly because I grew up spending summers at the Jersey shore. I forgive you if you’re smirking, but please forget the television show. Yes, much of the shore is heavily commercialized, but New Jersey has some very beautiful beaches, and like many Jerseyans, I fell in love with the ocean at a young age.
As you might imagine, as soon as I laid eyes on the pristine beaches of California, which happened along the stretch of Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz, I was smitten. And here’s the thing: When I was growing up, many of the most beautiful beaches in New Jersey were private and off-limits. That remained true until four years ago, when Gov. Phil Murphy, invoking the Public Trust Doctrine codified by the Roman Emperor Justinian around 500 CE, signed legislation ensuring that the public has access to New Jersey’s shorelines and tidal waters.
If as a Californian, the idea of a private beach appalls you, I want you to consider that the public beach did not happen by accident. The notion of a private beach is unfathomable here because in California, with enough effort, the government can often be made to work for the people. As you will see in Jon Vankin’s article below, it was citizen activism that created the California Coastal Commission, which has worked to ensure that all California beaches are open to the public—and that the California coast does not look like the Jersey shore.
And: What happens when a big clean-energy plan challenges our notions of a pristine coastline? We shall see.
• With Wildfires Growing, California Writes New Rules on Where to Plant Shrubs
California has long had the strongest defensible space rules in the country. Now, it's drafting rules that would make it the first state to limit the vegetation directly next to buildings.
(10/20/2023) → CapPublicRadio
• Lodi Council Sticks With Decision on Homeless Center Operator
Despite protests of some two dozen residents, the Salvation Army will still be operating Lodi’s permanent access center once it is complete.
(10/20/2023) → LodiNews
• Tracy’s Plans for Future Housing Up for Discussion Oct. 24
Over the next eight years the city of Tracy must add nearly 9,000 new homes and apartments, most of them for low and very-low-income residents, if the city is to comply with state expectations for regional housing needs.
(10/20/2023) → Tracy Press
• How Many Mountain Lions Live in California?
California biologists have long wondered: How many mountain lions live in the state? New research offers an answer.
(10/19/2023) → CapPublicRadio
• SJ County Supervisors Act to Protect Livestock During Disasters
The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a partnership between the Office of Emergency Services and Hold Your Horses to provide critical support during natural disasters and emergencies.
(10/19/2023) → LodiNews
• Amazon Showcases Air Delivery Service From Lockeford
Nine months after it launched its drone delivery service, Amazon Prime gave a glimpse of how its Lockeford facility prepares orders and gets packages to doorsteps.
(10/17/2023) → LodiNews
• Dell’Osso Family Farm Still Growing Memories with October-Themed Fun
As families entered the haunted house at Dell’Osso Family Farm in Lathrop, 11-year-old Sha’Day Danis ran back out the entrance with her mother after a big scare.
(10/17/2023) → Local News Matters Stockton
• Social Justice Organizer Learns to Listen and Have Tough Conversations
Toni McNeil recalls growing up on the south side of Stockton, where a sign outside the housing project where she lived read, “Stockton, Someplace Special.” She says, “Right under the sign folks were selling dope, smoking dope and banging.”
(10/16/2023) → The Sacramento Observer