George and Sharlee McNamee have a beautiful home, an ocean view and a bounty of children and grandchildren who invade their house every weekend. The breeze is fresh, the view is stunning and retired life in Corona Del Mar, Calif., is good.
But the McNamees wake up every morning fighting for their rights. In this case, the freedom to use a picnic table, shed and shower in their own backyard.
"We fight for two reasons, property rights and freedom," says George McNamee, a silver-haired former insurance salesman. "My wife and I decided a long time ago, those two things matter. Without that, there isn't much left."
For the last decade, the McNamees' backyard has been a battlefield. The retired couple has spent $250,000 in legal fees protecting amenities worth little more than $100.
Those numbers are shocking, but not to those who know the regulatory reach and zeal of the California Coastal Commission, which claims that items in the couple's backyard—the picnic table, a thatched palapa, a shower and barbecue—are illegal. Failure to remove them results in a fine—and that fine is $6,000 per day. . . .
For background on this horror story and on the tyrannical nature of the California Coastal Commission, read Paul Beard’s article “The California Coastal Commission: A Case Study in Governmental Assault on Property Rights,” which is now accessible for free. And please send these links to everyone you know who cares about property rights. Your property could be next.