California Assemblywoman Wants to Make Beaches and Coast More Accessible

by on February 8, 2017 · 20 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, San Diego

From East County Today

California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) announced on Feb. 3rd a push for more affordable overnight accommodations along the California coast to help ensure that the state’s  iconic beaches and shores are affordable and accessible for low- and middle-income residents to visit.

Under Assembly Bill 250, which the Assemblywoman introduced last week, the state agency in charge of preserving the Golden State’s 840 miles of coastline would be required to develop a Low Cost Overnight Accommodations Program in an effort to reverse a troubling trend in which visiting on the coast has become prohibitively expensive for many Californians.

“Our beaches and coasts belong to all Californians, regardless of income,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher said. “We have some work to do to make these public assets accessible and affordable for everyone.”

Gonzalez Fletcher pointed to a recent joint study by UCLA and San Francisco State University researchers that highlighted the near total lack of economy lodgings along California’s coast, while illustrating a long-term trend towards luxury resorts that leave millions of Californians unable to afford visiting the coastline their tax dollars go towards preserving and maintaining.

The UCLA/SFSU report, titled Access for All: A New Generation’s Challenges on the California Coast, contains a number of findings revealing how low- and medium-income Californians have effectively been priced out of coastal areas when it comes to the cost of lodgings, transportation, parking and other expenses.

The report details a decades-long trend away from affordable, economical lodgings in favor of luxury resorts and hotels. In the last three decades, nearly 25,000 economy rooms have been eliminated, and today fewer than 5 percent of coastal accommodations can be considered economy.

According to the survey, 62 percent of Californians found lack of affordable access to the coast to be a problem, with 78 percent identifying the cost of parking and 75 percent identifying the costs of lodgings as causes of concern. Additionally, respondents identified the cost of traveling and the lack of easily accessible public transportation to beaches and coastal areas as barriers as well.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher introduced AB 250 to combat these trends that exclude a significant portion of California’s population from enjoying our coastlines and beaches. The legislation will require the California Coastal Conservancy to survey and assess the current availability of affordable overnight accommodations, while also implementing a pilot program to enter into public-private partnerships with coastal landowners to develop new, lower-cost accommodations and to protect existing facilities.

The legislation also requires the Coastal Conservancy to develop strategies for increasing the availability of economy lodgings along the coast, and to regularly review and update the Low Cost Overnight Accommodations program to increase its effectiveness.

“This is part of the California experience, and we’re shortchanging ourselves by making beaches too expensive for families and working people to visit,” Gonzalez Fletcher said. “This isn’t just about protecting access to the coastline for everyone, it’s about giving the next generation the same experiences we had so they will protect and treasure the coastline in the future.”

AB 250 was introduced on Jan. 30. It will be eligible to be taken up for consideration by policy committee beginning in March.

For more information on AB 250 or to interview Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher, contact John Vigna at (916) 319-2080 or (916) 212-0657.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents California’s 80th Assembly District, located in southern San Diego County, including the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, and National City. She serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, and Vice Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. For more information on Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher visit

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

RB February 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

Let’s start by ending a charge for parking at Torrey Pines State Park. Let’s allow tent camping on the Silver Strand. How about overnite parking at Mission Bay? Let’s stop collecting at all state parks………..


Tom Davis February 13, 2017 at 7:18 pm

You must be kidding. This is not what you were elected for. News flash: Going to the beach is free! Are you telling me that businesses like hotels and motels must cater to those who can’t afford their rates? How are they going to do that? Are they to verify a customer’s annual income and give them a discount? Are the customers supposed to produce a tax statement, or are the businesses supposed to take their word for it? This is the most insane thing I have ever heard of. You are not representing your constituents with this legislation. You are pandering to special interests.


Derek February 19, 2017 at 4:20 am

I don’t know if you are serious or just being facetious Tom? Of course it wouldn’t require looking at different rates for different income levels, it’s about allowing affordable rates for middle class and lower class families. Economy accommodations would be the same regardless of income level.

And I guess the special interest you are referring to is middle class and lower economic class folks… Seems like a large part of her constituency to me!


Tom Davis February 13, 2017 at 7:23 pm

And you cite the cost of parking as an impediment to beach access? Give me a break!


South OB Girl February 15, 2017 at 10:29 am

People should keep in mind that many state decisions in the next few months may be preemptive measures to what policy changes could occur at the national level.


South OB Girl February 15, 2017 at 10:32 am

And absolutely people pay for parking — the lots for paid parking are often full when the weather is nice, at Cable and Santa Monica and Newport Ave by US Bank.


South OB Girl February 15, 2017 at 10:33 am

Correction, Bacon and Santa Monica, at Sunset Garage


Christo February 15, 2017 at 12:13 pm

You want to make it easier for more people to visit the coast?

Get the rolling meth labs that sit there all day and most of the night out of the beach parking lots.


South OB Girl February 15, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Excellent point Christo…. From what I have heard the oversized vehicle ordinance has helped to some degree with campers … but no doubt many a rolling meth lab as you call them remain… 


rick callejon February 15, 2017 at 2:31 pm

I’m more concerned with the 5 million people who voted illegally.


South OB Girl February 15, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Which 5 million Rick?? The votes due to Russian hacking?


rick callejon February 15, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Trump says 5M voted illegally.

Christo says we have rolling math labs at the beach.

alternative facts


Christo February 16, 2017 at 8:03 am

Okay- replace “Rolling Meth Lab” with “Motor Home inhabited by drug addicts”.

Go to the lot at Tower 2. Walk by them. Take a whiff. Tell me I’m wrong.


rick callejon February 16, 2017 at 10:31 am

Police surveillance cameras have undoubtedly recorded such lawlessness.


Christo February 19, 2017 at 8:00 am

I’m well aware of what marijuana smells like and that’s not the issue.


Derek February 19, 2017 at 4:23 am

Because someone smokes marijuana they are a drug addict or have a rolling meth lab!?

That’s quite an assumption on your part… I guess if I were to do the same I would assume you were a right wing zealot… But I refrain from casting labels on folks because of a simple perception.


Christo February 19, 2017 at 8:02 am

I’m well aware of what marijuana smells like and that’s not the issue. And I am hardly right wing. Don’t confuse liberal with apathetic.


South OB Girl February 16, 2017 at 9:18 am

Oh good old OB Rag comments, we aim to steer clear of the use of alternative facts at The Rag…


nostalgic February 16, 2017 at 8:22 am

I love the idea of rolling math labs at the beach. Can children really add and subtract any more? This might be the solution. On to fractions!


John February 20, 2017 at 3:01 am

This is a truly bizarre proposal of layers of unworkable bureaucracy.
But hey nothing weird about wanting a cheap beachfront flop house.
What makes this misguided is if you have them they will be the kind of places nobody would bring a family to.


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