When A.R. “Babe” Schwartz lost his reelection bid in 1980, he had been in several battles during his previous term that contributed to his end as the senior senator in Texas.
Being Babe, he was standing up for the people and opposing lobbyists who were seeking legislation that did not favor the public.
He wrote the 1959 Texas Open Beach laws, then fought and refought many times to maintain the sanctity of our beaches.
Now we are faced with a popular senator, who I have voted for many times, trying to end the right of Texas to keep our beaches open to the public. He has been silent about why he wishes to end the public’s right to the beach.
I am sure Babe Schwartz would comment that there are no statues in Austin for people who ended our people’s right for beach access if he were alive to make that comment. He was a great orator.
When you live in the coastal environment as we do in Galveston, you cannot help but see that people from all over Texas go to the beach.
It’s a cheap mini-vacation; kids get to play on the beach and swim, parents can lay on the sand and relax, get sunburned and people love it.
I have experienced coastal environments in states that do not have open beach laws. What happens is that the spaces that are available to the public quickly become overcrowded, provide inadequate parking and too many people.
Resorts are allowed to rope off their beach areas, and beach-front property owners can make beach access impossible.
Please join us in opposing Senate Bill 434. Contact your state senators and representatives.
The new version does basically the same thing as SB 434 in that it removes the determination of the public easement from the commissioner with this section:
“(c) The determination of the location of the line of vegetation by the commissioner as provided by Section 61.0171 does not constitute prima facie evidence of the landward boundary of the area subject to the public easement.”
We do not need Mayes Middleton messing with our public right to access the beaches, period!
GREAT guest commentary Mr. Merritt, it's the best yet on this subject. I remember Mr. Schwartz from campaign parties and especially the County Fair when I was growing up He had a big personality and my Dad liked him, there was always a sign in our yard or a sticker on his truck. He had a BIG personality, that's a given. What would he say, I think in a real loud voice: What the hell is going on here ?.
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