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David Mendez / Spectrum News 1

CA - Bill to return Bruce's Beach to owners' descendants sent to senate floor

A bill to return a scenic and valuable parcel of Manhattan Beach land to the descendants of a Black couple who once operated a beach resort there advanced to the Senate floor Monday.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A bill to return a scenic and valuable parcel of Manhattan Beach land to the descendants of a Black couple who once operated a beach resort there advanced to the Senate floor Monday.

Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, determined that SB 796 had no significant state costs and applied Senate Rule 28.8, sending it directly to the Senate floor for a second reading without a hearing in the committee.

What You Need To Know

  • A bill to return a scenic and valuable parcel of Manhattan Beach land to the descendants of a Black couple who once operated a beach resort there advanced to the Senate floor
  • Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, determined the bill had no significant state costs and sent it directly to the Senate floor for a second reading without a hearing in the committee
  • Willa and Charles Bruce purchased land in 1912 for $1,225 and eventually added some other parcels and created a beach resort catering to Black residents
  • The resort was eventually forced out of business, and the Bruces and other Black families ultimately lost their land in 1929

The bill by Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, passed the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water last month with unanimous support.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously April 20 to direct the county's CEO to come up with a plan to return the property to the family and to support the bill, whose passage is required to make the transfer possible.

"This was an injustice inflicted upon not just Willa and Charles Bruce — but generations of their descendants who almost certainly would have been millionaires if they had been able to keep this property and their successful business," Supervisor Janice Hahn, who introduced the motion, said in a statement following the motion's passage.

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