The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, May 04, 2002  

Diminutive Brooklyn-Born Billionaire
Fights to Keep the Hoi-Polloi At Bay

"A tide of ordinary people is lapping at the secluded beaches of the rich and famous," USA Today reports, bringing to light an issue that has been simmering for years: The general public's lack of access to a 27-mile strip of coastline in Malibu, Calif.

Hollywood celebrities and executives with homes in Malibu, normally referred to as "the exclusive Malibu Colony," include Barbra Streisand, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Goldie Hawn, Pierce Brosnan, Ryan O'Neal, Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews, Frank Mancuso, and David Geffen, according to USA Today.

California officials are taking steps to undo the de facto segregation Malibu residents have enjoyed for decades.

The "locals," such as they are -- most of these people own at least two other residences -- are up in arms.

Particularly peeved is the peevish David Geffen.

Geffen's anger arises from the California Coast Commission's audacity to propose a corridor from the Pacific Coast Highway to the Malibu beach that would run adjacent to his property.

In an earlier, younger, and pre-surgical incarnation, Geffen's seaside experiences were likely limited to Coney Island and Brighton Beach. Yet now he is considering a legal challenge to keep the hoi polloi at bay, the paper reports. However, numerous other Malibu homeowners already have filed suit to block changes to the status quo.

Geffen's spokesman, Andy Spahn, says his boss's privacy concerns are justified given that he once came upon an intruder in his beach house.

USA Today reports that getting to the front door of chez Geffen requires "a 17-minute trudge through the dunes...from the nearest existing public path to the beach." That's quite a hike, 17 minutes; must be some spread. How, exactly, a public pathway built, let's say 9 minutes away from la maîson, would constitute an invasion of Geffen's privacy, Spahn did not explain.

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