San Clemente removes controversial beach fencing amid pressure from O.C. sheriff

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Families practice social distancing while playing in the water and sand near the San Clemente Pier on May 18.(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)

Families practice social distancing while playing in the water and sand near the San Clemente Pier on May 18.(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)

Access will be a little easier for beachgoers visiting San Clemente this week after city leaders voted to reopen parking lots and remove fencing that prompted community outcry and a stern rebuke from the county’s top law enforcement official.

The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to reopen parking lots at 50% capacity and immediately remove the controversial fencing that triggered a protest last week and resulted in a letter from Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes threatening to terminate the agency’s contract with the city.

Last week, about 200 protesters converged near the pier to demand that city officials remove the fence, which some residents and officials contend had become a symbol of the restrictions placed on local communities by Sacramento amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Eight people, including 55-year-old Alan Hostetter, a former La Habra police chief and sheriff’s deputy who organized the protest, were arrested on suspicion of unlawful activity.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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