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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

California Fire Season - A Promise Broken

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 29) — A growing wildfire sending massive billows of smoke into the sky north of Los Angeles nearly tripled in size Saturday, injuring three residents, burning a small number of homes, knocking out power to many more and prompting evacuations in a number of mountain

Mandatory evacuations were extended Saturday into neighborhoods in the canyons on the northwestern edge of Altadena, Glendale, La Crescenta and Big Tujunga Canyon, Forest Service spokesman Bruce Quintelier said. It was unclear how many residents were ordered to leave.

California is heading into the most destructive part of its fire season, when winds can whip flames into 90 mile per hour storms of fire - it’s clear that a promise was not kept.

Anyone who suggests fire protection can be as good this fall as in recent years most likely will turn out to be living a fantasy. That, of course, would include Schwarzenegger, for whom everything almost always is “fantastic” in more ways than one.

(Source-Tom Elias www.californiafocus.net)

The new state budget cuts $27 million from Cal Fire, the state agency that sends people and equipment wherever they’re needed most. The reduction includes more than $10 million earmarked for new fire engines, hoses, pumps and other equipment.

There’s also the matter of the DC-10 airborne tanker, another so-called budget cut likely to cost more than it saves.

For years, California has contracted for a standby DC-10 that can dump up to 12,000 gallons of water or fire retardant each time valves open beneath its huge tank.

But a stroke of Schwarzenegger’s pen cancelled the $7 million contract that kept that jumbo jet plane on standby for California.

Now, the state will pay more than $66,000 every day it uses the plane, with a five-day minimum. Anything beyond 21 deployments would end up costing more than the budget cut - and if this year turns out like the last few, that’s how it will be….assuming the DC-10 is available.

But these reductions in state firefighting ability may pale beside what local fire departments will suffer because of the new budget’s raids on local funds.

In Los Angeles, for one, firefighting officials must cover a $39 million shortfall caused in large part by the state raid. So there will be “brownouts” at many city fire stations, with a total of 87 fewer firefighters on duty each day, almost one-tenth of the usual work force. One battalion command team, 15 fire companies and nine ambulances will be out of service each day, but no city fire stations will actually close.

In other areas, including parts of San Diego County ravaged by several large fires over the last five years, fire prevention efforts are being cut. High-risk Fallbrook is one such place, while several other local districts are ironically casting about for money to pay their contracts for standby assistance from Cal Fire. If they can’t pay, the state agency will either have to let the locals handle all problems or go to work without the payment it usually gets. Since Cal Fire insists nothing will diminish its performance, the agency will probably work some fires without reimbursement. Some budget solution.

The most significant thing here is that while officials say they will still “attack and respond,” they may not be able to be as effective as usual.

(Source-Tom Elias www.californiafocus.net)

So far, there heven’t been any mega-blazes anywhere in California until mid-August. But the driest part of the year is still ahead, the season when past wildfires have ravaged Malibu, Berkeley, Bel Air, Rancho Santa Fe, Laguna Beach, the Oakland hills and many other California areas.

Stop the California Coastal Commission’s attack on coastal families

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

If ever there ever was a time in California to stop the abusive practices of the California Coastal Commission, that time is now.  Two dangerous bills AB 226 and AB 291 are in committee and must be stopped.

AB 226 (RUSKIN) would greatly expand the Coastal Commission’s enforcement authority by allowing the Commission to act as both prosecutor and judge and impose civil penalties and allow the Commission to retain the penalties it assesses to augment its own budget.

Even more sinister, AB 226 creates dangerous motivation for the Commission to seek civil penalties as a way to augment its budget, and would strip alleged violators of due process afforded by the courts.

AB 291 (SALDANA) grants Coastal Commission staff the authority to deny permit applications without a hearing. AB 291 gives Coastal Commission staff the power to halt processing of a permit application if the Commission staff asserts that any violation exists on any property for which a permit is filed.

In other words AB 291 presumes an applicant is”guilty until proven innocent” by giving the Commission staff the ability to refuse to process a coastal development permit application until staff is satisfied that the alleged violation, whether related to the permit application or not, was cured. Families with homes will be prejudiced by arbitrary delays.

If there is one thing the California Coastal Commission does not need it is additional enforcement authority.  30 years of court records clearly shows the CCC abuses the power they already have! The triple c doesn’t need more power ... they need reform… and it is well past time that the California legislature reform the California Coastal Commission.

The following letter explains why-

There are two bills in the California legislature, AB 226 and AB 291, that grant more broad sweeping legal powers to the California Coastal Commission to intimidate citizens and the people he presents in his documentary film project, “Sins of Commission.” I saw it at a showing at a private home. It is a powerful call for reform of the California Coastal Commission, which evidently fears its exposure in the film as an autocratic, appointed board with special powers and no meaningful oversight.

Those of us who support public access to and preservation of the California coast, as I do, may not be aware of the aggregation of powers by the CCC. I witnessed it in action recently, as it attempted to subvert the Brown Act (transparency in government) and as it refused to even read the opposition arguments submitted by an NGO and by 84 citizens who wrote individual letters, before it “permanently voted” to approve the filling of a swimming pool that cost the state nothing and served the handicapped, the chronically ill, children, and the public for over 50 years. I also look down on a private beach club’s two story buildings and tennis courts on the beach across PCH from where we live that were approved by the CCC apparently without meaningful mitigation.

The CCC now uses special legislative powers over a swath of land five miles inland from the coast to further its objectives, in concert with other state agencies and commissions. In so doing, Richard Oshen documents, it legally intimidates and financially breaks private citizens with landholdings inside the designated “coastal zone,” even when they seek rational, small improvements on their properties. He shows how a CCC board member, however, holds property in the zone that is not subject to the same rules. He also presents a powerful indictment of the CCC’s powers over local control by munipalities that would protect against the wildfires we have experienced during an extended drought. Even large cities, such as San Diego, and wealthy towns, such as Malibu–both severely affected by wildfires–have been unable to defend against the CCC powers in concert with other state entities.

These bills need opposition. The CCC needs reform, oversight, to operate according to democratic rules of procedure, and to return to its mandate to protect the coast. Please contact your state representatives and urge them to oppose AB 226 and AB 291. Please circulate this email to conservationists and supporters of private property, local government, and open democracy.

I am circulating this letter in my role as a private citizen, not as a member of any group. As a historian of religions, an environmentalist, and a community development worker, I am supporting Richard Oshen’s film as a private act of conscience. I do not express the views of any group with which I am associated. They are solely my views.

Thank-you,
Jean Rosenfeld

Thank-you, Jean for your kind words.

A now… a little foot tapping music while you’re making that phone call.

Take it away maestro~

Sins Of Commission in West Hollywood International Film Festival

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Sins Of Commission in West Hollywood International Film Festival

It’s official, SINS is in.

I would like to publicly say thank you to Martin Deluca the Director / Producer of the West Hollywood International Film Festival for having the courage to screen controversial films from around the world like ours.

Embrace the controversy! Revel in the process of Free Speech. This is Democracy! Use it or loose it as the saying goes.

Whether you agree with SINS OF COMMISSION or not is irrelevant to me as a filmmaker.

What is relevant to me, as a filmmaker, is that Americans are not stopped from being able to choose what to read, or watch.

KNBC reporter Cary Berglund asked the California Coastal Commission’s lawyer [Christina Bull Arndt] in the Attorney General’s Office, (because that’s who defends the Triple C -to the tune of $2 Billion a year…is that right?) why they want a copy of the film.

The assistant A.G said that it is “discovery”, and that the commission is casting a “wide net for information.”

I know how tough things are in California financially right now so rather than burden the state with more costs, I’d like to offer to buy a ticket for Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. Unfortunately, sir, you would have to provide your own transportation.  I know, with the recent gas tax hike it is kind of expensive but it maybe more cost effective in the long run.. Can you cover your own parking?

Governor Schwarzenegger has a place in Malibu, maybe you can crash there and save the people the cost of a hotel. Come to think of it, I’ll spring for two tickets - Arnie can go too…call it a guys night out kind of thing.

For more information about the festival, SINS OF COMMISSION, and the other fabulous controversial films from around the world please visit the film festival Site

California Coastal Commission- engineers without a permit

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

California Coastal Commission’s boots were made for walking over California’s coastal families… like the song says:

One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

With regulatory commissions like the California Coastal Commission bulldozing what is left of our freedom and constitutional rights at every turn, Is it any wonder that California ranks 47th out of the 50 states in terms of overall freedom?

According to a recently published study, California aggressively interferes in the personal lives of its citizens. Political science professors William Ruger, of Texas State University, and Jason Sorens, of the State University of New York, accounted for factors including regulations, state fiscal policies and the protection of rights.

We develop and justify our ratings and aggregation procedure on explicitly normative criteria, defining individual freedom as the ability to dispose of one’s own life, liberty, and justly acquired property however one sees fit, so long as one does not coercively infringe on another individual’s ability to do the same.

Only residents of Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York were classified as having less freedom than Californians.

The three freest states, in order, were New Hampshire, Colorado and South Dakota.

California ranked 48th in the nation on economic freedom, 46th on regulatory policy freedom, 44th on fiscal policy freedom, and 37th on personal freedom.

Categories most out of line with the rest of the country are public safety, natural resources and environment, and administration.

Now that’s some Sin of Commission.

Are you ready boots?  Start walking!

CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION - SHAME ON YOU

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

California Coastal Commission screws over another local community.

The Pacific Palisades Community Council voted 13-1 with nine abstentions last Thursday ‘to support the efforts of the community to resurrect the community swimming pool in Temescal Gateway Park.

What is most impressive to me is the support [Friends of Temescal Pool] has received.

To me, that is the community speaking about what they want.

-Council member Peter Fisher

Despite what the community wants, the California Coastal Commission voted unanimously at its April 8 meeting to allow the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to keep the Temescal Pool permanently filled in with dirt and covered with sod.

They just don’t understand what the Coastal Act is all about.

- Peter Douglas, Executive Director California Coastal Commission

-from the documentary film Sins of Commission

Once again the California Coastal Commission sends a clear ANTI-FAMILY message, shows its disdain for human beings, and clearly demonstrates the commission’s number one goal is to destroy family and community by destroying infrastructure.

As is so typical of the CCC, when the Commission gave permission in January to fill in the pool, ‘neither the local government nor interested parties had any notice.

(Source: Palasadian Post April 16, 2009)

The California Coastal Commission must really have an axe to grind with the good people of Pacific Palisades, especially defenseless children who need to learn how to swim, and the elderly, who use the pool for exercise - because they issued an emergency permit January 9.

Jane Albright, president of FRIENDS OF TEMESCAL POOL, said the California Coastal Commission gave oral permission to fill in the pool on January 7.

(Source: Palasadian Post April 16, 2009)

How does ruining a kid’s summer swimming lesson save the California Coast? When does filling in a pool rate an emergency permit?  I guess the California Coastal Commission wanted it done before kids got out of school.

Especially in light of how the emergency permit was handled, the Coastal Commission should afford the community a full, fair and meaningful opportunity to brief the commission,’ Albrecht wrote.

(Source: Palasadian Post April 16, 2009)

Even though Friends of the Temescal Pool continues to work on a viable business plan for an aquatics program at the pool, one thing looks very certain to this observer: A lot of kids ain’t going swimming in that pool this summer.

Why?  Because the pool is already filled in… and there is little motivation for the California Coastal Commission to un-fill it.

One only needs to look at the key players involved in filling the pool to understand why it will never be unfilled: The California Coastal Commission and  Joe Edmiston head of the land-grabing , Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, who would rather see unsuspecting folks camp overnight in a category 4 firehazard zone.

Given the speed at which the commission moved to fill the pool in, an emergency permit to unfill it seems most unlikely, especially since California courts tend to side with the CCC.

Outraged? Fed up with the California Coastal Commission’s anti-family agenda?

Help us spread the word.  When you donate to SINS OF COMMISSION through our fiscal sponsor, the International Doucmentary Association, a 501 c3 non profit, you’ll recieve a tax deduction… or stop and shop at the SINS OF COMMMISSION Store.

All purchases go to support the film.

SINS OF COMMISSION IGNITES AT NATPE

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

NAPTE 2009 - Exhibition Floor Opens is  Las Vegas

NATPE 2009 - Exhibition Floor Opens - Las Vegas

3 1/2 years after Peggy called me to document a California Coastal Commission inspection; SINS OF COMMISSION debuted at the 2009 NATPE CONVENTION (National Association of Television Program Executives), in LAS VEGAS.

Even though SINS OF COMMISSION is not finished, we had no choice but to present it to the global film and television distribution community. 

Time is running out for California.

NAPTE 2009

NATPE 2009 Opening coincides with Chinese New Year

One question each distributor inevitably asks is why a film dealing with a local “California” issue has global importance. It’s a darn good question. Here’s my response -

ERIN BROKAVITCH was a film about a powerful utility company called P G & E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company) and took place in the sleepy southern California town of Hinkley. Who ever heard of Hinkley?

SILKWOOD was about a local small and previously unknown company, Kerr-McGee. The story took place in a Kerr-McGee plant near Crescent, Oklahoma. Does anyone know where Crescent is? 

Everyone knows where the California is.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas….but what happens in California effects the world.

-Richard Oshen, Writer, Director, Producer

NAPTE 2009 IDA Booth

NATPE 2009 IDA Booth

The events revealed in ERIN BROKAVITCH and SILKWOOD entered our national debate and shaped policy.

Although the corruption each film exposed occurred in a local context… it occurs in every state in our nation and universally.

Each film’s specific event is a template anyone living anywhere in the world can identify with.

Same with SINS OF COMMISSION.

Corruption is universally understood.

California Wild Fires from Space

California Wild Fires from Space

The dialog SINS OF COMMISSION ignites, will shape California state environmental policy and will also have a profound effect domestically and internationally for several reasons:

1) quasijudicial regulatory agencies operate in every state in our country and occur internationally 

2) land use is an incredibly hot topic,  and

3) the entire world is effected by the CO2 California emits each year from catastrophic wildfires 

WE NEED YOUR HELP.

NATPE 2009 - IDA Booth

NATPE 2009 - IDA Booth

SINS OF COMMISSION urgently needs your support to complete the film.

SINS OF COMMISSION is a fiscally sponsored film through the IDA - the International Documentary  Association a 501 c3 Non Profit organization.

All contributions made thru the IDA are tax deductible.

Times are tough for all of us,  but so are we…and they won’t get better unless we pull together.



 
 
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