By John Davis
If you are a citizen of the United States, you do. Each individual citizen is sovereign.
Instead of a single ruler or king there are millions of us. However, if you do not know or understand the power you wield, such great power is meaningless. In such a system all public officials are your paid servants. Long ago the Roman Emperor Justinian did something good that sticks with us today. It is called the Doctrine of Public Trust.
That is to say that no single person can own the waters of a river or the sea and that every person has the right to navigate such waters or walk on the beach. This is known as the Public Trust.
When Venice was a city, the State of California Legislature granted to it control of its Public Tidelands. The Constitution of the State of California guaranties access to such tidelands to each and every person. This grant occurred on the July 27, 1927.
Upon annexation the grant was transferred by the State Legislature to the City of Los Angeles. On the 18th of July 1945. The grant holds conditions to which the City by law, must adhere.
The last condition of the contract reads as follows: “Reserving , however, in the people of the State of California the absolute right to fish in the waters ….with the right of convenient access to said waters over said lands for said purpose.” The terms of grant also spell out that the City use must be consistent with the trusts upon which said lands are held by the State of California.
Access to Public Trust Lands are also enshrined in the State Constitution and protected by the California Coastal Commission which implements federal law, the U.S. Coastal Zone Management Act of the United States.