MALIBU -- After years of legal battling, beachgoers Thursday finally got to take the direct route to the ocean in front of David Geffen's Malibu estate.
About 15 public-access advocates were on hand for Thursday's ceremonial opening of the walkway to the beach. They sipped champagne outside the record producer's property on Pacific Coast Highway as dolphins frolicked a few yards offshore.
"The ability to enjoy these dolphins and get in the sand is the right of everybody," said Sara Wan, a member of the state's Coastal Commission. "The public owns this beach. The public has a right to get to this beach."
Activists toasted the opening of a 9-foot-wide access easement at Geffen's sprawling Malibu beachfront enclave after he made good on a 22-year-old legal promise to let the public use it to reach "wet" sand.
The ceremony took place under the watchful eye of a video surveillance camera installed by Geffen.
Several times, a security guard appeared to warn visitors who stepped out of the beach easement area that they were trespassing on Geffen's property. Once he ordered someone to move a beach umbrella that was leaning onto the producer's beach area.
The 9-foot-wide easement, now enclosed by two sets of wooden gates, will allow the public to walk from Pacific Coast Highway to Carbon Beach.
The walkway will open to the public Monday, said Steve Hoye, head of Access for All, the nonprofit group that will oversee the access path. He said workers will be hired to monitor the walkway and the public's use of beach areas in front of Geffen's property. [...]