Fundraiser Will Support Beach Access Activist
For Immediate Release Contacts: Ralph Coscia - 732-920-2824
T. Dillingham - 732-291-0055
Maureen Nevin 732-774-0779
The Public Trust Doctrine, which dates back to the Roman Emperor Justinian in 520 AD, declared that "By the law of nature these things are common to all mankind; the air, running water, the sea, and consequently the shores of the sea." The Doctrine is often applied in cases where people may own waterfront property and decide they own the rights to the water's edge also. However, because the Doctrine is common law and thereby open to interpretation, legal battles under this rule have resulted in legal costs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To respond to one such case, environmentalists, rights activists, a restaurant and a local radio show will sponsor a fundraiser Thursday, August 24th, from 6 -- 8 PM at Red Fusion restaurant in Asbury Park.
The recipient of the funds raised will be Sophie Bubis, a Loch Arbour resident who has fought to retain public access to a former public beach club property that is now privately owned. Over an 11 year period, arguments, discoveries, and continuations have stretched on, racking up a bill of over $200,000, $90,000 of which Mrs. Bubis still owes. The 83 year-old widow recently took a weekend job selling movie tickets to help with expenses, as she awaits yet another court date for a judge's summation on the access question. Meanwhile, the property's owner, and defendant in the case, has offered Mrs. Bubis use of his beach on an exclusive basis. "But this is not about me," says Mrs. Bubis. "The principal here is the public's right to access the beach. If no one fights for it, it will disappear."
The State Attorney General's Office apparently agrees; they have joined Mrs. Bubis' case as a friend of the court. Speakers will include Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of The Littoral Society, whose mission is to "empower people to care for the coast", and Ralph Coscia and Ed Sirchio, of Citizens Right to Access Beaches (C.R.A.B.), an activist group that has sponsored cases under the Doctrine. Part of the event will be broadcast live on Asbury Radio, a talk show on, 88.1 FM and web. Entertainment will be provided by Karen Lee, pianist, singer and composer.
See Attach: PDFs - Public Trust Doctrine
Star Ledger Article May 2006