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California Coastal Commission - Why Funding Swap Makes Sense

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:

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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3 Responses to “California Coastal Commission - Why Funding Swap Makes Sense”

  1. Francis Drouillard Says:

    The fund swap will completely politicize the Coastal Commission. Decisions to defend CCC decisions will be made by the Governor’s office, namely the Director of Financial Services.

    (Last year, that office holder voted to approve the PXP/Tranquillon Ridge project, so imagine how eager he will be to prevent overdevelopment of the coast.)

    Legal services for the Coastal Commission average about $2.5 million per year. Suits against the CCC are largely beyond the control of the CCC. The PLF, which serves to “break” the Coastal Act, spends about $500 thousand per year to achieve that goal.

    The CCC is number 8 or 9 on the list of state agencies consuming legal services from the DOJ. At the top of the list is the Dept. of Corrections, which accounts for about 2/3 of those services.

    The point is, if you (like RIchard Oshen and others) want to undermine the Coastal Act, then support the fund swap. If you want to maintain access to the coast and prevent overdevelopment of the coast, then you should ask your elected officials to oppose the fund swap.

  2. Brian Ginna Says:

    “The fund swap will completely politicize the Coastal Commission. ”

    Truly funny. They are all appointed by politicians. As if it isn’t already “politicized.”

    Great article here from the North Coast which explains the CCC very well.

    Sorry, Mr. Drouillard. The beginning of the end of Mr. Douglas’ tyranny is here.

  3. Steve W Says:

    The California Coastal Commission permits coastal degradation and over development when it suits them.

    Case in point.

    A $10,000 check to Bonnie Neely from a Southern California developer of the the last promontory in Southern CA. comes to mind.

    I think Oshen and everyone else wants to see the commission operate fairly, transparently and with consistency. They especially want the CCC to stop harassing them over small stuff like rose bushes, patio furniture, etc.

    This funding swap will help the CCC re-prioritize their mission and encourage them to spend their resources wisely, stop coastal cronyism, and go after egregious threats to the coast - not families, farmers and ranchers.

    If it weren’t for PLF who would stand up for the people against the commission?

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