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Archive for May, 2010

California Coastal Commission - Why Funding Swap Makes Sense

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

The California Department of Justice (DOJ) wants to be compensated by California’s state agencies for legal services. It is a reasonable request - considering that last year, the DOJ lost $30 million of its budget and had to cut 130 attorneys from its staff.

As a way to manage their caseload and still provide legal services for state agencies, the DOJ is proposing to have the state re-allocate funds usually provided to the DOJ, to the general fund agencies, and in turn, have the agencies pay the DOJ for legal services provided.

The DOJ annual General Fund has sometimes not been sufficient to accommodate all of the legal services requested by the various agencies, which then outsource private counsel at up to double the cost than if they had been represented by DOJ.

The Governor’s budget overview projected a shortfall for the 2010-11 fiscal year of $6.9 billion, this deficit has grown by $13 billion in the budget, with the largest chunk - $4.9 billion - the result of Federal and State Court Litigation!

Opponents of the funding swap, including Peter Douglas, executive director of the California Coastal Commission, have complained that it would be “the greatest threat to the integrity of the Coastal Act since it was passed.”

This is simply untrue.

SINS OF COMMISSION documents the California Coastal Commission’s long history of overstepping the authority provided it under the California Coastal Act. Stopping the commission’s free ride on legal expenses would required it to prioritize its focus and keep it from capricious costly litigation.

The funding swap may reduce the Commission’s dictatorial pattern of obstructionist rulings, which are in clear violation of the Coastal Act and the Constitution, as when it picks unnecessary fights with families, farmers and ranchers at the expense of broader planning.

This important tax-saving, fair-minded proposal is long overdue.

If you would like to express your support for the legal funding swap please contact:

http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/subcommitteeframe.asp?subcommittee=125

http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/newcomframeset.asp?committee=18

http://www.sen.ca.gov/ftp/sen/committee/sub/BFR_4_AGENCIES/_home1/PROFILE.HTM

http://www.sen.ca.gov/ftp/sen/committee/sub/BFR_2_JUSTICE/_home1/PROFILE.HTM

Speaking of funding…

SINS OF COMMISSION is a fiscally sponsored film through the International Documentary Association, a 501 c3 non profit organization. This means you can support SINS OF COMMISSION the movie,  freedom of speech, documentary film making, the International Documentary Association, and receive a tax deduction at the same time.



 
 
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