Khosla’s Beach

Nellie Bowes writing for The New York Times about venture capitalist Vinod Khosla’s bizarre beach saga and its temporary resolution:

The Supreme Court’s action on Monday ends this peculiar saga, which has captivated Silicon Valley.

Well, it may end it. Mr. Khosla, who referred questions to Ms. Kilmer, must now apply for that permit to close the road to Martin’s Beach.

“If denied,” Ms. Kilmer said, “we will start this process over again.”

I first read about the Martin’s Beach drama a few weeks ago. As Nellie Bowles wrote in a previous article:

“Mr. Khosla says he does not even want to triumph. If I were to ever win in the Supreme Court, I’d be depressed about it,” he says. “I support the Coastal Act; I don’t want to weaken it by winning. But property rights are even more important.”

Further (emphasis added):

“Vinod is deeply principled, and therefore sometimes difficult to work with,” Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter and Square, wrote in an email. Mr. Khosla has been a mentor and adviser on both companies and is a frequent dining companion. (Mr. Dorsey also fasts until dinner.) “But that comes from a place of putting what he cares about above all else.”

The article points out that Khosla prefers “brutal honesty to hypocritical politeness”. I would summarise the story as follows:

  • Rich Principled guy buys village on the beach.
  • Rich Principled guy prevents public from accessing the beach.
  • Rich Principled guy is told he can’t prevent public from accessing the beach.
  • Rich Principled guy doesn’t like it. (…allegedly because on principle he cant even cover costs maintaining access)
  • Rich Principled guy is sued, he likes it even less.
  • Rich Principled guy sues back.
  • Legal. Legal. Legal. Law. Law. Law.
  • Rich Principled guy will go to the ends of the earth drag the entire Coastal Act down if he has to in order to get his way prove to others he is right the principle of the situation.
  • Rich Principled guy cares about his property rights the principle more than he cares about the public’s right to access a public beach (that apparently not that many people go to anyway).
  • Rich Principled guy is saying that he doesn’t really want to do it… but he can’t won’t drop it.
  • Rich Principled guy will only drop it when he finally gets his way, is proven right, everyone else is proven wrong, he can close the road to the beach, he does not spend time there, ever, is going to sell the place… principle.

Where I come from, what Mr Khosla is doing would not, honestly, be called principled. It would be called “being an [expletive]”.

Just being honest. Politely.