sins of commission

 

 
 
about the film sins of commission

Archive for March, 2009

The California Coastal Commission wants YOUR home - part 1

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Treachery on the California Coast!

Dan and Denise Sterling's four children

Dan and Denise Sterling's four children

A family in El Granada filed suit against the California Coastal Commission Wednesday to retain a 143-acre piece of Coastside property without converting part of it to farmland.

Plaintiffs Dan and Denise Sterling sought to build a house on their land and, in applying for a building permit, hit a snag, according to the Pacific Legal Foundation. 

[T]he Coastal Commission will not grant them [Dan and Denise Sterling] a building permit unless they give the state an agricultural easement over most of their property - more than 140 acres - and pledge that it will be forever dedicated for farming or cattle grazing.”

“In essence, the commission is trying to force the family into the farming or ranching business - and trying to coerce them into turning their property into perpetual open space, without being compensated a penny,”

-Harold Johnson, Pacific Legal Foundation

The Sterlings have been living in a mobile home since buying the land, all the while attempting to secure a building permit for an approximately 6,000 square-foot home. They have continued to graze cattle. The homesite would not displace any land being farmed or used for grazing. In 2006, they finally acquired a permit from the County, but it was appealed to the Commission by the Commission.

Commission staff recommended a permit imposing an “affirmative” agricultural easement the Sterlings’ land

After substantial delay, the Commission finally held a hearing on the Sterlings’ proposal on February 5, 2009. At the hearing, the Commission staff recommended a permit condition requiring imposition of an “affirmative” agricultural easement on all of the Sterlings’ land outside their 10,000 square foot building area. The Commission approved it. The condition requires the Sterlings to dedicate an easement to a public or publicly approved trust group which requires the land to be farmed forever.

The condition allows the holder of the easement to come in on the Sterlings’ land…

The Sterlings object to the condition because it prevents them from ever subdividing their land, transfers their development rights to the public, and imposes an affirmative servitude on their land. They have requested PLF’s assistance in obtaining a judicial ruling striking down the easement condition.

(Source: Pacific Legal Foundation)

Coastal Commission Expose SINS OF COMMISSION Catches Fire!

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Oshen is no better than Michael Moore or Al Gore.

Comment on INSIDE HOLLLYWOOD EXAMINER by Francis Drouillard March 24, 3:03 PM

Cool. Where do I get this film?

  Comment on INSIDE HOLLLYWOOD EXAMINER by FILM GUY March 25, 11:58 PM  
The battle heats up in response to Ginger Liu’s review of SINS OF COMMISSION… and the film isn’t even out yet - Nor is it likely it will be anytime soon since no film festivals in the state of California will screen it - including the LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL and SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.

The “criminalisation” of general care of one’s own land certainly seems un-American…

Comment on INSIDE HOLLLYWOOD EXAMINER by FREEMAN  March 23, 5:21 PM

People in California must see this film. Sadly, it will take another catastrophic fire before Governor Schwarzenegger, the legislature, and the people take a serious look at the California Coastal Commission.

- Richard Oshen, Filmmaker, SINS OF COMMISSION

I am keenly interested, and intend to forward this to those who also make it their job to inform the public of such eye-opening situations. This is not some minor drab of a documentary, but one of great interest to all parties involved.   

Comment on INSIDE HOLLLYWOOD EXAMINER by BW  March 25, 7:56 AM

See how much fuss 144 words can create at INSIDE HOLLYWOOD EXAMINER

oshen is a wanted criminal; who is running from the law

Comment on INSIDE HOLLLYWOOD EXAMINER by LOPSIDED  March 23, 8:57 AM

That accuser is slanderous. Accountability is a door that should swing both ways. The accuser is the one actually crossing the line into the arena of criminal behavior. 

Comment on INSIDE HOLLLYWOOD EXAMINER by pG  March 23, 12:51 PM

By taking on the California Coastal Commission head on, this riveting and intelligent documentary from Richard Oshen exposes the archaic and unbending rules of power on the lives of ordinary homeowners.

Ginger Liu INSIDE HOLLYWOOD EXAMINER

 

California Coastal Commission documentary gets first review

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

SINS OF COMMISSION got its first review today. Getting a review from a film critic would normally be a proud moment shared with friends and loved ones. A time to crack open a bottle of champagne and celebrate. But for me, it is a joyless solitary moment filled with torment as I toss and turn to reconcile within why someone in the “comments” section would call me a “criminal” who is supposedly “on the lam from justice” for making a film.

What crime did I commit? What charges are against me? And who is my my accuser that hides in the shadows of anonymity? Come forward and be seen.

Let he who is without sin among you, cast the first stone…

SINS OF COMMISSION is a film I never wanted to make, never intended to make, but felt compelled to make.  Why did I do it? Beacuse, for me, and hopefully for you,  once a truth is known, it cannot be unknown. One person sent an e-mail today and simply said, “thank you.” 

My husband and I have been battling the CCC for 13 years…My husband had a heart attack in 1998 from all of the stress from dealing with them and their lies and craziness -

Kathleen Kenny died from colon cancer one year after I interviewed her. Other people,  people you may know or possibly neighbors you have have heard about, suffered the slings and arrows of persecution thrown at them with impunity by commissioners appointed by the highest officials in our state - simply because they audaciously wanted to live on land they purchased. This should not stand. We must do better.

Something is rotten in the state of California but by suppressing SINS OF COMMISSION, that dirty dark secret will not be brought out into the sunlight of truth for all of us to see, to debate, to comment upon, to ponder, to talk amongst ourselves, and do such things as we do in a democracy. We must do better.

If you are an independent documentary filmmaker in a country in which independent journalism is seen as a danger to those in power, you are talking a risk. But preserving democracy for all means risks must be taken. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

At stake is more than just freedom of expression.  We Americans live in a country built on the principle of separation of powers - where power is separated into three distinct branches of government that are supposed to check and balance each other so there can never be an accumulation of absolute power in any one branch. This is not a Conservative principle, this is not a Liberal principal, it is not a Democratic principle, it is not a Republican principle…it is an American principle- and we must do better.

Any agency of any state or regulatory commission that embraces all 3 branches of government, in direct opposition of our principle of the separation of powers - even for the “noblest of intentions” - needs to be reevaluated.  Unfettered power still corrupts - and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Sins of Commission exposes Southern California’s law makers

Ginger Liu
Inside Hollywood Examiner
California Bush Fire

By taking on the California Coastal Commission head on, this riveting and intelligent documentary from Richard Oshen exposes the archaic and unbending rules of power on the lives of ordinary homeowners

The story unfolds naturally as we first sympathize with the rule makers in preventing the destruction of habitat by homeowners until the CCC quite remarkably shoot themselves in the foot as dogmatic rules and corruption unfold. The film shows all sides with interviews from couples that have fought the CCC for years, ex CCC staff that believe in the Commission but not their strict laws, and the Commissioners themselves who are absolute and unwavering.  

No one is denying the purpose of a commission that protects Southern California’s rich landscape. Oshen’s film dares to question authority and in doing so ignites the kind of investigative journalism that has been sadly missing during Bush years.

A link to Ginger’s article and comment stream Inside Hollywood Examiner

The Edge of Reality

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

THE EDGE BUYS LAND IN MALIBU

When I first read “The Edge of Destruction” by CRAIG STEPHENS in LA WEEKLY, the first thing that hit me was the provocative headline.  Mr. Stephens knows how to sell a story. He knows if the headline read: Malibu Welcomes The Edge or The Edge Brings Much Needed Jobs To Community or The Edge Contributes Handsomely To Property Taxes In Malibu - no one would notice.

But Mr. Stephen’s headline identifies a huge problem in Coastal California and the rest of America. One that I call DA-IS-NA-ID. Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

The other thing I noticed is that the people complaining already live there, and obviously built something themselves or moved into a house someone else built.

I wonder if they were subject to the same kind of scrutiny and contempt they so freely demonstrate for The Edge. Their home affected the environment too. So what is the underlying issue? An Archery Range?

Had a lot of fun at Malibu Mountain Archery Range. Put a bunch of holes in the paper targets. Liked to see all the Boy Scouts out there camping on a weekend. All the kids learning how to use a bow and arrow, cook, camp out and hike. Glad someone is exposing the no good x&%!@ that would throw out a charity

There is plenty of land already preserved in the State of California. Out of California’s 99,882.700 Acres 42,288,380 is already owned by the state or the feds for a total of 42. 36% 

That’s a lot of acres of public land available for archery, not to mention the Archery club could potentially find a better spot somewhere else in the huge, already well preserved, Santa Monica Mountains. (Source: www.nrcm.org/documents/publiclandownership.pdf).  What is the real issue with The Edge’s new home? What It really boils down to is old-fashioned American prejudice.

 DA-IS-NA-ID

I read down the list of comments. One after another, people just grumble, spout and spew, but one thing is for certain…they are pissed! So pissed,  they threaten not to buy the latest U2 album. 

Reminds me of frothing folk who burned their John Lennon records way back when for saying ” the Beatles were bigger than Jesus.”  The times, they have have sure changed.

People now refuse to buy a record because someone wants to build home in their neighborhood.

This has nothing to do with whether these projects/Obama are good or bad, it has to do with U2’s hypocrisy. So am I stunned to find out that they don’t live up to the same environmental standards that they demand from the little guy? Nope! We are supposed walk to work; they ride in private his and her jets

How did Obama get into this? Is he moving in too? Please tell me which U2 record is calling people e to walk to work? Also please tell me whose environmental standards are we supposed to live up to? Yours? 

Are we all now socialist workers of the world?

Have we hung up our American individuality to don identical black burkas and lock step to work? Are we now supposed to look over our shoulders or peer out from behind dark curtains to see what the other is doing, rather than pay attention to ourselves? 

In the 1950’s we had a RED SCARE in this country. Many of you probably remember Senator Joe McCarthy. Many people were accused of being UN-AMERICAN and black listed.

The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigated communist organizations. The HUAC came into being because they wanted to prove that a lot of actors and writers were communists.

Is this where we are going? Are we witnessing the beginning of a GREEN SCARE?  Someone not living like us, doing something different from us?  

A few folks raised the issue why that land wasn’t purchased by others - or even the conservancy? Good question.

I am sorely confused. Was land purchased by David Evans, or not? If he has the money to buy a swath, why shouldn’t he? He worked hard; he earned it. If he wants to build a house for every member of his family, why can’t he? 

Other people even had the gall to mention the biggest bugaboo of all …property rights. Two words that are as evil as a rapist, baby killer, or mass- murderer judging by one fellow’s comments:

Have property rights? Yes, and within the law you can be be immoral, teach your kids to be racists and never deal with ethics or fairness. You may be as greedy and uncaring as the law allows. You may do what you want with your property and never consider your neighbors, your community, your city or the planet. Under the law in other countries you can torture and kill your wife.

Whew…I guess in his world, wife killing and property rights go hand in hand. But this fellow did say the magic words “Under the law in other countries…” Let’s read them again, shall we, Under the law in other countries…

What the respondent seems to have forgotten is that we are in AMERICA, and under American law, The Edge has constitutional rights - just like him, or any of the other folk who wrote in. But why talk about the constitution, say you, that’s a right-wing issue, isn’t it?  Says who - and since when?

Constitutional rights and Environmental protection are not mutually exclusive of each other. Both need great care and our due diligence to insure we have freedom and an healthy environment for future generations. So what is the solution?

Here is a novel concept: Why not welcome The Edge into the community and thank him for the bread he will be putting on the tables of the many who will be employed building whatever he builds.

The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, and tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery, and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.

Most Puritans were a strict, unfeeling, and unforgiving lot. Hester was scorned by women who felt  she deserved a larger punishment than she actually received.

Instead of only being made to stand on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest, they suggest that she have it branded on her forehead or even be put to death.

 

It is to the credit of human nature, that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates.  Hatred, by a gradual and quiet process, will even be transformed to love, unless the change be impeded by a continually new irritation of the original feeling of hostility.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chapter XIII

Shall we do the same to The Edge?

Of Mice and Men

Monday, March 16th, 2009


I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads . . . every damn one of ‘em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of ‘em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’.

I read plenty of books out here.

Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.

 

 

- John Steinbek, “Of Mice and Men”

 

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger started a campaign last Thursday to drum up voter support for a series of budget-related propositions he wants to pass in May.

Schwarzenegger also threw his support behind efforts to hold a constitutional convention, an idea which is showing some signs of support around California. The Bay Area Council, a business-backed policy group headquartered in San Francisco, is spearheading efforts to hold a convention to redo parts of the state’s basic framework.

“I think eventually the state of California needs to look at a constitutional convention,” Schwarzenegger said during a question-and-answer session following his speech. “There’s things that ought to be looked at and debated.”

The governor did not specify which areas of the state constitution were most in need of change.

(Source: San Francisco Business Times)

Don’t know about you, but I get very concerned when any govenor decides he “needs to look at a constitutional convention,” especially when a self-interest group of any stripe is leading the charge… because you know who gets clobbered in the end - WE do!

Tinkering is what you do with a clock or a motor….a radio, guitar, maybe even a computer - not a constitution!  

But I do agree with the govenor’s observation - something is rotten in the state of California.

Michael Chrichton, of Jurassic Park fame, gave a speech at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2003 - the same place the govenor gave his last week.

Mr. Chrichton brought up many worthy points then, that ring true for our time.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems.

-Michael Crichton 

We don’t have to tinker with anything constitutional in order to take a good hard look at what is working - and what is not.  It’s kinda easy given this last budget fiasco…I don’t think there’s a whole lot of things working in the State of California.

Amendments aren’t necessary to get the Coastal Commission to work better.  For the last 30 years, the Triple-C has been the state’s poster boy for unfettered government run amok. We need to stop that. This is no time for anything in California to be running amok.

Could Peter Douglas, Executive-Director-for-life of the California Coastal Commission be using the commission to advance his personal agenda or is he just the towel-boy for some very wealthy people and some powerful corporations…yes, wealthy people and powerful corporations. (501 c3 Non-profits are corporations.) 

Whose agenda is Pete and the boys really advancing under the guise of environmental protection? Non-for-profit and for profit corporations might be dropping millions of dollars on the Triple C and we’d never know who they are because it is a secret.  They don’t have to tell. By law. California law.

The same law that allows the commission to initiate an appeal of a coastal development permit with the action of any two members of the commission. California State Sen. Denise Ducheny, of San Diego, introduced Senate Bill 1295 Februray 19, 2008 to try and restore fairness to the commission.

It just doesn’t seem right that the people who make the appeal also decide the appeal,”

-Sen. Denise Ducheny

(Source:  North County Times, March 13, 2008)

Predictably, SB 1295 was defeated.

How come the names of all individuals and corporations who contribute to the CCC are not public information?  I’d sure like to know who is pulling their strings, and the public ought to know too. Everyone who makes a contribution for federal political means are reported on the web. Why not here too? 

OK, mistakes happen. BUT, let’s look real carefully at the money flow into the commission and the data that comes out.  The commission uses this data, however it wants to and for whatever purpose it dreams up - and refuses to acknowledge anything contrary to its’ own findings. 

If the data is manipulated who whould know? And what ever they present in court…the courts back them up…so truthful and accurate data is critical for all parties, not just to be used as a means to an end.

 

Where does the data come from? Their own sources - or - Independent, outside experts? Where is the oath that accompanies the data that they submit that says the information is deemed correct under penalty of perjury?  Those three words alone are gonna clean up some stuff PDQ because now the so-called experts will be legally bound to tell the truth. 

And, while we’re on the subject of truth, who protects the people from the meglo-maniacal commission? No, not the A.G. The Attorney General is too busy covering the CCC’s butt. Who is watching out for Jane & John Q. Public to be sure their rights are protected?

I want it perfectly clear that I believe it is incumbent on us to conduct our lives in a way that takes into account all the consequences of our actions, including the consequences to other people, and the consequences to the environment.  

-Michael Crichton 

How much of the state’s budget does the CCC spend on lawsuits in a year?  In a decade? Over 3 decades?

I bet that number equals the cost of one if not more of these super-duper-tankers we (the people)  lease each year to drop tons of retardant on flaming brush as a result of the coastal commission’s (and other agencies) prohibition from allowing modification of the vegetation?

Once it dawns on folks that if we modify the vegetation, fires won’t be as gigantic, do you think they’ll be pissed?

How many billions did last years fire’s cost? What % of budget was that? I’m not saying get a lawnmower - but I am suggesting we need to do something - RIGHT NOW!

In 90 to 120 days from right now fire season starts.

What new techniques are in place since the last round of catastrophic fires, that cost the state billions of dollars, and helped drive us into the financial toilet?    

Speaking of toilets… 

I heard there is a movement in the Santa Monica Mountains to allow overnight camping in a zone the fire department calls “extremely hazardous”.  Bad idea, no?

I thought we are trying to prevent fires…not start them. They have a lot of money behind them…they’ll probably get their way. Burn the people out who live there, huh?

While we’re doing our fact-finding, let’s not miss an opportunity to look at the California Conservancy and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

The reason I ask is back in 2004, there was a big brouhaha…do you remember?

The Office of State Audits and Evaluations, which examined the conservancy’s spending through June 2003, accused the conservancy of applying $4.2 million in bond money toward planning, education and facilities renovations instead of using it for parkland purchases. The conservancy charged for operating expenses such as phones, cellular phones, Internet service, access pagers, postage, conferences, vehicle costs and other items as direct grant expenses); and using more than $1 million in bond money to pay for legal fees. The audit questioned possible double billing as well.

According to a written response to the audit from Michael Berger, chairman of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, the conservancy’s land-management arm, “(The MRCA governing board) recognizes that constant improvement is essential to being an effective and responsive instrument for the people we serve.

(Source: The Acorn)

How they doing? Any better?

We honestly appreciate the efforts of the Office of State Audits and Evaluations, and where they have been constructive in their criticisms, such recommendations have—in conjunction with our own internal review—led to the changes in organizational structure and procedures.

(Source: The Acorn)

Honestly appreciate?  The state audit also criticized the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for its relationship with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority…. That was no compliment.

How is that going?

There’s the appearance that the conservancy is, in effect, awarding grants to itself, and that the authority’s project managers are monitoring themselves.

(Source: The Acorn)

Perhaps, at the same time we can also look into why previous attempts to restore balance into the CCC have fallen flat? I don’t bet, but if I did, I’d say that it probably has something to do with PAC money.

Why, why, why? So many whys.

In his later years, Mr. Crichton turned his attention towards public policy and became extremely skeptical of archly ideological environmentalism. In the speech he delivered at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club in 2003, he argued that environmentalism is essentially a religion, a belief system based on faith, not fact. (Check out his site: http://www.crichton-official.com/speech-environmentalismaseligion.html)

Is the environmental debate today, including global warming, and other issues, based on science or politics?  Are government policies wasting limited resources, crippling human rights and addressing true dangers - or inviting tyranny?

“The lawyers made a very strong point,” [Joe] Edmiston said, and you don’t need a lawyer to point this out—we don’t wake up in the morning, throw a dart at the map of the Santa Monica Mountains and say, ‘Okay, where the dart landed, that’s the property that we’re going to try and acquire.’ There’s a full planning process that goes into that.” 

(Source: The Acorn)

Planning, I bet there is…. 

 



 
 
Subscribe for Updates
First name
E-mail
 
facebook international documentary association imdb youtube