Fletcher Cove became the official name of the controversial "Pillbox Beach" on Monday by a 3-1 vote of the Solana Beach City Council despite opposition by Councilman Richard Hendlin.
Hendlin said the beach's new name, which will be posted on a sign, was inappropriate because Ed Fletcher, the man who formerly owned the land surrounding the beach and cleared bluffs to make it accessible to the public, had placed conditions on his property in 1928 that it not be sold or leased to non-whites.
"There was no overriding need for the council to act so quickly to give the beach a name that it's going to have for decades," Hendlin said. "There is already a plaque at the beach in honor of Fletcher. I don't see a need to honor him any more. He died in the '50s and played no significant role in the lives of Solana Beach residents."
"I'm living in a house right now on Granados Avenue that had that condition placed on it by Ed Fletcher," Hendlin said. "I was reminded of this when I heard the name Ed Fletcher, so I checked it out."
Hendlin, a deputy state attorney general, said he considered his colleagues' votes "repugnant to my sense of propriety, equality and civil rights."
The beach was nicknamed "Pillbox" sometime after it opened in the 1920s because its bunker shape with a man-made seawall resembled a military pillbox. Recently the council became concerned that the nickname connoted the use and availability of drugs at the beach, so they began to look for a new name to what was called Solana Beach County Park on the map.
Council members voting in favor of Fletcher Cove were Marian Dodson, Jack Moore and Celine Olson. Council member Margaret Schlesinger was absent.
Clinton Prowst, a Solana Beach resident who has read the memoirs of Ed Fletcher, submitted the name Fletcher Cove to a special committee.