Who Does Has Access to the Beach? Recent San Diego Commentaries

by on May 14, 2020 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Who does have access to the beach and the coast? What’s with the protests to reopen our sandy parks?

Here are some recent commentaries from local San Diego media.

You couldn’t go to the beach? People of color have had access issues for centuries.

By  Anela Akiona & Kayla Wilson / San Diego Union-Tribune / May 14, 2020

As Southern California beaches have opened and closed at various points in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, there have been widespread protests by members of predominantly white, affluent coastal communities like Encinitas, Pacific Beach and Huntington Beach; however, a key topic missing from the coverage of these protests is Southern California’s legacy of denying people of color and indigenous citizens their right to coastal access.

Though the Kumeyaay people are the original inhabitants of the region’s coastal areas, they have repeatedly had their rights to coastal access stripped away. Despite more than 12,000 years of Kumeyaay presence in coastal San Diego, European colonists seized all coastal land by 1822 and forced the Kumeyaay onto a reservation 60 miles inland through the unratified treaty of Santa Ysabel in 1852.

This coverage of the coronavirus pandemic is part of your subscription to The San Diego Union-Tribune. We also provide free coverage as a service to our community.
This legacy of colonialism continues today; while San Diego County has the highest number of Native American reservations in the United States, none of them occupy coastal lands. Structural inequities still prohibit coastal access for these communities, and often their reconnection with ancestral lands is only facilitated through indigenous youth programs.

Similarly, California has a history of removing people of color from the coast through a combination of powerful legal and social forces. Our state has a history of housing discrimination — including redlining and restrictive covenants — that made it nearly impossible for black residents to own property in desirable coastal areas for much of the 20th century.

For the balance of this article, go here.

Reopened Beaches Remain Out of Reach for San Diego’s Poor

By MacKenzie Elmer / Voice of San Diego / May 12, 2020

Early in the pandemic, officials debated when and how to close beaches. Weeks later, Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down Orange County beaches citing unsafe behavior, leading to concern San Diego’s beaches would close just 48 hours after reopening.

Conversations on beach access have focused largely on the demands of people who surf and communities within walking distance of the water. But for large segments of San Diego, beaches were out of reach long before the pandemic — and the novel coronavirus is likely to make the disparity worse.

The virus killed ElevateSD, an effort by the Metropolitan Transit Authority to raise billions for expanded public transit, including to the beach, via a November sales tax measure. It’s unclear when another tax measure for transportation will go before voters. The region’s planning agency, SANDAG, could include these initiatives in its 30-year transportation plan slated for release in the coming months.

But the agency does not analyze beach access by community. SANDAG’s federally mandated transportation plan from 2019 instead considers beach access in the context of connecting tourists to destinations like Coronado and Solana Beach by rapid bus lines.

For the balance of this article, go here.

Coverage of anti-lockdown protests in San Diego is ignoring one glaring fact

By Andrew Matschiner / San Diego Union-Tribune / May 13, 2020

Cries to reopen beaches, public spaces and businesses continue to spark protests nationally, including in San Diego, and protests in Downtown and in Encinitas have drawn many responses. Some point to the double standard of citing San Diegans in cars protesting conditions at Otay Mesa Detention Center while not doing the same for far larger groups protesting stay-at-home orders Downtown and in Encinitas. Others point to the increasing economic and social toll people and businesses are experiencing.

Yet coverage has not addressed a key piece of these protests. To put it plainly, these protests attract predominately white San Diegans. Videos on social media and news coverage show groups are overwhelmingly white. The fact that these protests draw overwhelmingly white groups is significant and will remain so even after all beaches, parks and businesses have reopened.

Many of these white San Diegans invoke freedom or our freedoms in posts and interviews. On one hand, it’s true that the freedom to protest and exercise individual liberty is an important American right. On the other hand, many white Americans have historically appealed to the same freedom from government intervention to fight against integrating neighborhoods and schools and to curtail the sharing of public resources.

See here for the balance of this article.

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