sins of commission


about the film sins of commission


Get the Flash Player to see this player.


My friends Peg and Dan bought raw, unimproved land in Topanga Canyon, California, zoned agricultural. Although their land is almost five miles from the coast, the California Coastal Commission asserts jurisdiction. Soon after they purchased their land, they began to clear debris from an existing road. That’s when their troubles begin.

In this scene, the coastal commission’s deep rooted disregard for Constitutional rights is evident.  The commission knew that, in regulatory law, the court’s presumption of correctness lies on the side of the commission. Dan, to protect himself against false charges, had to document the inspection, since he would not be taken at his word.

Dan informed the commission the he intended to videotape any inspection, which under the U.S Constitution and California’s Bagley-Keene Act*, he was completely within his rights to do. In light of this, shockingly,  commission staff was still able to convince a judge to issue a court order prohibiting Dan from exercising his rights  to videotape on his own property.

That single act demonstrates the commission’s absolute power, and that they can and will abuse that unfettered power for any reason whatsoever. Their misdeed deeply offended me.  I wanted to know who this Coastal Commission was, and how they have amassed such power.  It seemed to me that the commission committed a sin, and that’s when the idea to make a documentary film called SINS OF COMMISSION took root.


CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 11124.1. (a) Any person attending an open and public meeting of the state body shall have the right to record the proceedings with an audio or video tape recorder or a still or motion picture camera in the absence of a reasonable finding by the state body that the recording cannot continue without noise, illumination, or obstruction of view that constitutes, or would constitute, a persistent disruption of the proceedings.

Subscribe for Updates
First name
facebook international documentary association imdb youtube