Posted: Sep 9, 2009
A naturist group is asking beach-goers to ditch their clothes and bring signs this weekend to San Onofre's Trail 6 to protest the state's crackdown on public nudity at the state beach.
The announcement comes a day after officials with the state Department of Parks and Recreation said they would begin citing nude sunbathers at the traditionally clothing-optional beach.
"Really it kind of comes down to that the state has better things to spend their money on than running after naked people on the beach," said Allen Baylis, a Huntington Beach attorney who is a leader of the Naturist Action Committee.
State parks spokesman Roy Stearns questioned Sunday's protest.
"You know forcing a confrontation doesn't solve this problem and just makes the lack of civility in this issue worse," Stearns said. "They're entitled to have a rally but what's the purpose of the rally I would ask."
State rangers didn't issue any citations on Tuesday -- the first day of enforcement. Stearns said officials have the authority to cite nudists at the 1,000-foot stretch of beach.
That nudist group contends the state would violate California law by issuing citations. They say a Superior Court ruling that sides with the naturists will stand until the state's Supreme Court decides to hear an appeal.
"The California code of Civil Procedure says that while an appeal is pending the original order stands," said Elva P. Kopacz, the Naturist Action Committee's attorney.
The original order came from Orange County Superior Court Judge Sheila Fell about a year ago. She ruled that state officials violated procedure when they adopted the nudity ban in May of last year without first seeking public feedback.
In June, however, a Santa Ana appellate court ruled that the Cahill Policy, which addressed nudity at state beaches, is invalid, allowing the state to proceed with the nudity ban at the beach. The ruling was published about a month later, setting a state-wide precedent.
Kopacz appealed to the Supreme Court, which has until about November to decide whether to hear the case. Until then, she contends state rangers cannot cite nudists at the beach.
Stearns disagreed. The state Attorney General's office says rangers are within their rights to start writing citations, Stearns said.
Still, he said, park rangers will attempt to seek voluntary compliance before handing out citations at the beach, which has a more than 20-year tradition of nudity.
The rally is scheduled to take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the sound end of Trail 6 beach.
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