The back story of the celebrated Boys’ Night Out at John’s Grill

 

By Bruce B. Brugmann (Scroll down for photo id and to see Ex- Marine Pete McCloskey jump the barricade and storm Martin’s Beach) 

Boys’ Night Out, a creation of press agent Lee Houskeeper, was held recently at John’s Grill, home of Dashiell Hammett and the Maltese Falcon.   Houskeeper turned the falcon on its side, which meant that all of the news and gossip turned up by his newsworthy guests was privileged and could not be repeated to the outside world.

Nonetheless, the timing was perfect because the next day came the welcome news that a San Mateo Superior Court judge had ruled for the public and against a  billionaire coastal landowner to open up a valuable chunk of privately held San Mateo coastline. The Surfrider case was handled by  Attorneys Joe Cotchett and Pete McCloskey, both of whom were at the dinner.

Houskeeper, who does publicity work for Cotchett,  explained the back story to me after the dinner. He said that the Surfrider forces started “the public brouhaha” two years ago when the “Blackwater type security goons were arresting surfers who dared jump his locked Martin’s Beach gate fence.”  Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, had acquired the 53-acre parcel near Half Moon Bay in 2008. Houskeeper asked McCloskey, a Korean War veteran,  if he would risk arrest, jump the gate, and lead the surfers a half mile to “free” the beach.

“The former Marine (Silver Star, Bronze Star, Navy Cross and two Purple Hearts did just that at 85 years old,” Houskeeper said. 

“Six sheriff cop cars showed up and decided to protect Pete’s right to march to the beach. That action effectively stopped Khosla from arresting any more surfers.” And it was yet another victory for McCloskey, an environmenrtal hero as a fighting attorney, 16 year peninsula congressman, and the politician who beat Shirley Temple for Congress and then ran against Nixon in the Republican primary for president.  McCloskey was 87 on Sept.29. 

In the above photo, Cotchett is in the middle in the back row. McCloskey is sitting in the second row in suit and tie on the right between Houskeeper and Ron Turner.  Others in the picture in no particular order are listed below.  The photo was taken by Robert Altman, official photographer at  Boys’ Night Out events. b3

Ex-Marine Pete McCloskey jumps the barricade…

…and leads the charge of surfers to free Martin’s Beach. This was the key assault in the winning battle to save the beach.  Photos by San Francisco Stories 

Wavy Gravy, Joe Garrity, Greg Corrales, Joe Cotchett, Pete McCloskey, Mark Leno, Ron Turner, Bruce Brugmann, Don Sanchez, Al Saracevic, Bob Sarlatte, Michael Finney, Don Sanchez, Peter Albin, Kevin Fagan, Joe Rosato Jr., Alex Clemens, Gene Schoenfeld, Mark Matthews, Jonathan Bloom, Herb Gold, Tony Ribera, Rich Corriea, J.C. Juanis, John Marshal, Tomas Roman, Paul Wells, Phil Gregory, Paul Alvarado, Larry Kamer, Fred Pardini, David Ebarle, Jim Huntington, Marc Vogel, Rob Caughlan, Rod Glaubman, Robert Altman, Eric Christensen, Michael Taylor and Jack Balentine