Nixon and Haldeman. Chris Christie and his Bridgegate aides. Darth Vader and Admiral Ozzel. There's a long tradition of powerful men hiring toadies that they can use as human shields when the need arises. It looks like it's time to add another pair to the list: Beach-blocking billionaire Vinod Khosla (whom we profiled here) and his property manager Steven Baugher.
At the ongoing trial brought by nonprofit Surfrider Foundation over whether Khosla's closure of access to the popular Martin's Beach near Half Moon Bay should be subject to regulatory scrutiny, the property manager took the stand, and according to the Chron, claimed responsibility for the decision to cut off the beach from the public. Baugher said that although he had "consulted with his legal team" prior to blocking the access gate, that he also "didn't fully understand the order" when the county informed him that he would need a development permit to lock an access gate, paint over a welcome sign, hire private security guards, and put up keep out notices.
Baugher's testimony corroborated what Khosla told the court yesterday, when the Sun Microsystems co-founder said that he had not discussed the blockage with the property manager, nor his specific plans for the property.
Discussing better times on Martin's Beach yesterday was former Congressman Pete McClosky, who testified that he had been going there since the 40s, never noticing a gate or paying a fee. Most prominent of those visits was his first trip to the beach in 1948—he would have been around 21 at the time—when he met his future wife at a keg party there.