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Archive for April, 2010

California Coastal Commission - Why It Is Time For A Change

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

The Sterling Family

The Sterling Family

Dan Sterling has been locked in a decade-long battle to get a permit to build a home on land he purchased in 1997.

No one should ever have to do that.

This is not environmental protection, this is not politics  - this is EXTORTION, state run, government sanctioned - and its time for it to stop in California.

Mr. Sterling went on to say,” it took seven years to get a county permit to construct a 6,456-square-foot home on the land.”

Then the Coastal Commission took his plan under review and ultimately required he agree to turn over all but 10,000 square feet of the property for an agricultural easement, meaning use of the property surrounding his new home would be limited.

Last Friday, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge George Miram ruled the Coastal Commission acted inappropriately. (HMBReview.com)

“While the (Coastal) Commission may have jurisdiction to impose an affirmative agricultural easement under the Local Coastal Plan, the imposition of the easement here constitutes an unconstitutional taking…

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge George Miram

It was clear that the Coastal Commission was violating the Constitution. The Fifth Amendment prohibition on ‘takings’ forbids government from using the building permit process to extort property from the permit applicant. That’s exactly what the commission was trying to do. “It was exploiting the permit process as a chance to try to confiscate property from the Sterlings,”

J. David Breemer, Pacific Legal Foundation

The Sterling Family Children

There will no doubt be an unnecessary, lengthy. time consuming, and costly appeal processes as there was with another famous case Marine Forest Society.

In the spring of 2001, a superior court judge found the Coastal Commission to be unconstitutional under California’s separation-of-powers doctrine.

The judgment was then affirmed unanimously on appeal, with the appellate court finding a separation of powers violation. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 79:281]

The problem with the California Coastal Commission is that the issue of the separation of powers still exists, the problem of no term limits still exists, and the appointment process still exists.

Even though the California Coastal Commission was Jerry-rigged at the last minute to pass muster by the state Supreme Court, until such time as the legislature changes what the California Coastal Commission does and how it does it - the California Coastal Commission will continue its end-run policy around constitutional law.

Quasi-judicial organizations like the California Coastal Commission create serious separation-of-powers concerns, and that those concerns are heightened by the scope of the Coastal Commission’s authority and jurisdiction,along with the powerful interests it regulates and has been demonstrated to promote cronyism and out right extortion.

It is not clear, however, that the appointment structure has actually insulated commissioners from political influence, and in fact, the appointment process has been called the Commission’s greatest flaw. It is precisely in a situation like this that courts should be wary of political self-interest leading legislators to diverge from the procedures that promote good law and help protect individuals from arbitrary policy-making.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 79:281]

Dan Sterling's children wait

The Sterling Family wait their fate

Until the structural mechanics of the California Coastal Commission is brought under reform, the commission will continue to abuse its power.

It is unfortunate for all the people of California that the California Coastal Commission does not care about the pain it inflicts on California coastal families.

Perhaps this is the best example of why it it important the  California Coastal Commission foots its own legal bills as proposed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Maybe then, and only then, we will see the end to the California Coastal Commission’s abuse of their authority, stop their over reach of jurisdiction, and end years of ruining people’s lives…for what? A “dedication” of property.

 

Still got a few - and I mean a few - of these stylin’ SINS OF COMMISSION hats, and I will send you one FREE as a personal thank-you gift with any donation over $110.00.  ($10 is Shipping + Handling). You receive both a tax deduction and a hat when you click the donate now button on the upper right.

California Conservation Groups At It Again

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

In yet another example of “what good for me is what is good for the environment…”

What’s wrong with this picture?

Conservation groups last Wednesday unveiled a new version of their lobbying efforts for an oil company’s expansion of drilling off the coast of California in exchange for definite end dates to its local petroleum operations.

The project could inadvertently open up the entire California coastline to new drilling, ending a 40-year moratorium. (Associated Press)

I guess the wholesale sellout and degradation of California’s resources only makes sense if it is done by and for the benefit of environmental groups- whether on our waters or on our land. 

We Won’t Get Fooled Again

Funny, it is those same groups that say developers can’t build, homeowners can’t expand, and ranchers and farmers can’t do their thing - but - as long as they are the recipient of an oil company bribe, I mean donation - it’s OK to degrade the environment.  

Even the fact President Barack Obama opened many federal waters to drilling — except along the West Coast means nothing. The only thing that matters is they get their $100,000 C.O.D.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, who is running for state attorney general, said the agreement is not in the best interest for the state.

Bottom line for me, in 2008 we were told that the deal was the deal of the century and it wasn’t, he said. “Why am I going to believe this one is any better than the last one?”  (Associated Press)

Bottom line - it all boils down to payoff, payoff, payoff.

Other environmental groups raised concerns that the end date may not be enforceable. Others worried that approving the project could inadvertently open up the entire California coastline to new drilling, ending a 40-year moratorium.   (Associated Press)

… backers said there are no title or other issues to prevent PXP from turning over 3,900 acres on shore to the Trust for Public Land. (Associated Press)

And we all know how land-addicted the California Coastal Commission and conservancies are. Although It it is sketchy how much the Environmental Defense Center is getting paid, in the previous contract, PXP agreed to pay the groups’ fees and out-of-pocket-costs, as well as $50,000 up front and another $50,000 upon approval.

In exchange, the environmental groups agreed to lobby in writing for the project and testify at public hearings before State Lands, Santa Barbara County and the California Coastal Commission.  (Associated Press)

California Coastal Curmudgeons Torpedo Floatopia

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Kids have been going to the beach at spring break as long as there have been kids in colleges in America. Each new generation is labeled worse than all the others - but a situation unfolding in Santa Barbara right now takes the cake.

What the California Coastal Commission and the City of Santa Barbara are doing is an anathema to public safety and possibly unconstitutional by abridging the people’s right to peaceful assembly.

Authorities say they plan to close access points to popular beaches near the University of California, Santa Barbara  (SF Chronicle)

The entire mind set: setting up barricades and deploying armed police, keeping kids off the beach is just the kind of provocation that creates bad situations people regret later, and rather that keep the peace is exactly how situations that could have been prevented get extreme.. Look at the quote below -

Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lt. Brian Olmstead said the county is “planning for the extreme”. There will be barricades at all accesses, there will be deputies stationed at all accesses and there will be [deputies] out on the water,” (Daily Nexus)

Why not plan for the best?

The county’s decision to blockade I.V. beach access points and patrol waters on Saturday is extreme - and borders on a violation of our rights.

Even worse than a one-day beach closure, the Sheriff’s Dept. has stated that it will consider blocking beach access beyond this weekend, as it deems necessary. This kind of heavy-handed, preemptive police presence sets a dangerous precedent - where is the limit?

For a plan supposedly intended to promote safety, this blockade is shockingly short-sighted. Just as controlling a symptom does not cure the disease, blocking students from official beach access points will not stop them from drinking to excess if that’s what they want to do. Realistically, it won’t even keep them off the beach-determined drunks can slide down the cliffs, a far more dangerous alternative to the stairs.

If the county’s real goal here is to protect students and the environment, there is a better solution. Instead of wasting thousands of dollars maintaining barricades and patrolling the surf, officers could staff standard checkpoints. By acting in such a forceful manner, based only on hypothetical misconduct, the county and police department are violating the spirit (if not the letter, through a series of lucky loopholes) of California law that guarantees public beach access.

(Daily Nexus)

The people have a right to utilize public resources no matter what. Period. Why didn’t the City of Santa Barbara organize the event to Country Standards way in advance?  What a failure on the city’s part.

Not surprisingly, The California Coastal Commission, the self-professed champions of beach access for all,  is also failing to insure coastal access to the beach.

If people gain access to the beach, they will be subject to citations and arrests. Olmstead also said there will be an increased deputy presence throughout I.V. and strict enforcement for those who find an alternate way onto the beach. (Daily Nexus)

Whose beach is it any way?

If you say it’s the people’s beach, then the people ought to be able to go to the beach.

However, if people become intoxicated, act-out inappropriately, carry glass bottles, piss on flora or fauna, park improperly, drive recklessly - then Hawaii 5-0 their ass and “Book ‘em, Danno! That’s ostensibly why laws were created, but to resort to heavy handed police policies and using enforcement agencies because elected ones failed the people steers us ever further away from the the concept of Americans able to live freely in America.

There are much bigger challenges facing this future generation of college kids.

Going to the beach should not be one of them.



 
 
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