sins of commission

 

 
 
about the film sins of commission

Posts Tagged ‘building permit’

The California Coastal Commission wants your home - part 2

Monday, April 13th, 2009

For over 30 years the California Coastal Commission has overzealously pursued a clear-cut course of action to control private property. The latest example: A big-home ban limiting the size of beach homes, orchestrated by Santa Cruz County,  was upheld by Coastal Commission. 

Pleasure Point residents Barry and Susan Porter sued [Santa Cruz] county two years ago, claiming that [a county] ordinance was unfair, but their lawsuit was put on hold while the ordinance made its way through the approval process.

The Porter argue the ordinance unfairly strips property owners of developable space.

The effort to trim home sizes is not over. County supervisors face a legal challenge to their ordinance, which reduces the amount of land on which a coastal property owner can build.

(Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Every form of tyranny begins by destroying property rights.

The coastal commission's idea of a dream home.

Once the Triple C gets a legal toe-hold and can cut back the size of one home today, they’ve established a precedent, and you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll push for more next year, more the year after, and so on until they  force people out of the coastal zone completely.

Give ‘em an inch, and they’ll take 5 miles inland. 

When agencies of other states see the CCC get away with this, they’ll try it too - and perhaps they’ll try it right where you live…perhaps they’ll even try your house.

Machiavellian schemes like these, often hatched by non-government corporations, foisted upon the public, and enforced by government agencies and commissions with unlimited legal resources, weaken what remains of our liberty.  

Policies like these are usually implemented without public knowledge and more importantly voter input. Driving a single family into bankruptcy goes unseen. 

If the right to life is the source of all rights, the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life.

- Ayn Rand 

Perhaps there needs to be an organization of people? People who live in homes and are tired of coastal  commission’s abusive actions. 

A recent discussion about SINS OF COMMISSION on TALK ABOUT, a blog of the HALF MOON BAY REVIEW got so heated, it  was closed on February 25th. There were well over 300 comments to that thread, making it the second most commented-on thread ever on TALK ABOUT.

Perhaps then, it is possible. People can stop the California Coastal Commission, and other quasijudicial agencies like them whatever state they are in, from destroying one of our essential freedoms along the way- the right to own property and be secure one’s home. 

If one freedom goes, so do all the others  - eventually.  

California Coastal Commission - Dastardly Villains Strike Again

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Dan and Denise Sterling plus their four children have been living in a mobile home since buying their land a decade ago, while attempting to secure a building permit for an approximately 6,000 square-foot home.

From a legal perspective, what the Coastal Commission is demanding is flat-out unconstitutional

-David Breemer, Pacific Legal Foundation

The Commission should abide by the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court’s doctrine on this issue has been well-settled for 20 years, when PLF beat the Coastal Commission in Nollan.

The Coastal Commission seems determined not to give us a fair shake. We spent two years trying to do everything the staff of the Coastal Commission asked, but nothing was enough. What’s really happening here is that we’re being forced to give this land over as a park or open space for the community, but we still pay taxes on it, and are still responsible for the other liabilities of property ownership

-Dan Sterling

The U.S. Supreme Court has clearly said that governments can’t use the building permit process to extort property from the permit applicant.

The Commission is exploiting the Sterlings’ permit application as an opportunity to seize property from the Sterlings - without paying a penny for the vast agricultural easement the Commission wants - and that’s illegal.

-David Breemer, Pacific Legal Foundation

The California Coastal Commission wants YOUR home - part 1

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Treachery on the California Coast!

Dan and Denise Sterling's four children

Dan and Denise Sterling's four children

A family in El Granada filed suit against the California Coastal Commission Wednesday to retain a 143-acre piece of Coastside property without converting part of it to farmland.

Plaintiffs Dan and Denise Sterling sought to build a house on their land and, in applying for a building permit, hit a snag, according to the Pacific Legal Foundation. 

[T]he Coastal Commission will not grant them [Dan and Denise Sterling] a building permit unless they give the state an agricultural easement over most of their property - more than 140 acres - and pledge that it will be forever dedicated for farming or cattle grazing.”

“In essence, the commission is trying to force the family into the farming or ranching business - and trying to coerce them into turning their property into perpetual open space, without being compensated a penny,”

-Harold Johnson, Pacific Legal Foundation

The Sterlings have been living in a mobile home since buying the land, all the while attempting to secure a building permit for an approximately 6,000 square-foot home. They have continued to graze cattle. The homesite would not displace any land being farmed or used for grazing. In 2006, they finally acquired a permit from the County, but it was appealed to the Commission by the Commission.

Commission staff recommended a permit imposing an “affirmative” agricultural easement the Sterlings’ land

After substantial delay, the Commission finally held a hearing on the Sterlings’ proposal on February 5, 2009. At the hearing, the Commission staff recommended a permit condition requiring imposition of an “affirmative” agricultural easement on all of the Sterlings’ land outside their 10,000 square foot building area. The Commission approved it. The condition requires the Sterlings to dedicate an easement to a public or publicly approved trust group which requires the land to be farmed forever.

The condition allows the holder of the easement to come in on the Sterlings’ land…

The Sterlings object to the condition because it prevents them from ever subdividing their land, transfers their development rights to the public, and imposes an affirmative servitude on their land. They have requested PLF’s assistance in obtaining a judicial ruling striking down the easement condition.

(Source: Pacific Legal Foundation)

CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION - Time for a New Urban Wildland Fire Strategy? - Part 2

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Given the high costs involved in fighting fires, and the high risks to life and property, perhaps its time to test Scott Franklin’s concepts on a wider scale. In order to accomplish this, cooperation is necessary between resource management agencies and fire officials. Mr. Franklin says that this method will actually preserve the chaparral Californians want to preserve, and agencies like the California Coastal Commission are charged with preserving- contrary to what is happening now. Mr. Franklin is not alone. 

Too much fire will eventually decimate the native flora.

-Naturalist Rick Halsey, LA TIMES November 26, 2008.

Scientists in Southern California are finding new evidence that frequent fires are gradually replacing chaparral and sagebrush with highly flammable and prolific nonnative weeds, The Los Angeles Times reports. The landscape change is extending the region’s annual fire season, deepening the threat of mudslides, and endangering animal species. Ecosystems forged over time to thrive by being burned every 60 to 100 years are now being scorched every 10 to 15 years — or even more often.

(Source: LA Times - Mike Anton)

Slow destruction of chaparral and the transformation into grassland will have devastating effects on the landscape of California.

-Naturalist Rick Halsey, LA TIMES November 26, 2008.

Chaparral, he says, does not need to burn to the ground every 30 years to remain healthy. Just the opposite. Too much fire will eventually decimate the native flora — some of the most diverse in the nation — leaving a biological wasteland of invasive weeds. (Source: LA TImes- Joe Mozingo)

This article was published on November 27, 2008. Does anyone get the irony here? California resource management agencies, especially the California Coastal Commission, an agency that prides themselves on environmental cleansing, and routinely demands people cut down Eucalyptus trees, and up root rose bushes because they are “non-native”, as a condition to receive a building permit, are surprisingly silent on this issue.  Mr. Anton continues,

Last October’s Santiago wildfire destroyed native sage scrub while the recent showers have created meadows of flammable, nonnative weeds. Ecologists fear the changed landscape will become a greater fire danger.

(Source: LA Times - Mike Anton) 

Most of the information on fire saftey from CALFIRE concentrates on the need for a defensible zone around homes. BUT what about the larger issue… the huge spaces that surround communities? What’s going on there?  This is one of the key topics of SINS OF COMMISSION. The public needs to become engaged in the interagency dialog regarding land management issues we face in large open spaces.  

If we continue to fight fires, and do nothing to treat the underlying brush (fuel), it seems like we’re destined to repeat the same devastating mistakes again next year, and we Californians can’t afford that. It is ecologically and fiscally irresponsible, and appears criminally negligent to all forms of life.

Kathleen Kenny vs California Coastal Commission - SINS OF COMMISSION

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

A working class hero is something to be…

-John Lennon 

Kathleen Kenny

Kathleen Kenny - Courtesy of Kathleen Kenny Family © 2008 pchpfilm, inc.

When I interviewed Kathleen Kenny, she had less than a year to live. Kathleen was a brave woman… you could see she was a fighter.

Maybe it was the Irish in her. But there was something else too - an unwavering strength in her belief she was right.

I interviewed Kathleen a total of two times. In both interviews, she was  lucid, very focused and determined. She spoke softly but clearly, thanks, in large part, to a heavy morphine drip. We spoke about 90 minutes each day.

When we finished our work together, she looked up. The toll from her battle with cancer was evident, and asked me if I believed her story. I said that I did. She smiled, sighed with relief, and closed her eyes. 

Kathleen confided in me that no one she ever spoke with about the California Coastal Commission believed her story, and was afraid she would pass on without ever seeing a great injustice righted. Kathy asked me to tell her story, knowing full well it wouldn’t do her any good, but might empower others to stand up for their rights.

Kathleen’s Story

Political hacks say fighting city hall is like gambling in Las Vegas, the house always wins. It’s not always the truth. It is just what the house wants us to believe.  Conventional wisdom says we should always choose our battles wisely; but, what do we do when an unwise battles choose us?

In Kathleen’s words

Kathy in happier days - Courtesy Kathleen Kenny Family -©2008 pchpfilm, inc.

“We went to a public auction that was in Topanga Canyon, California and we ended up buying four lots up there, four small lots, from this auction at a very reasonable price with the idea of building a small home on each one of those lots.

There appeared to be a lot of difficulty in getting permits.

We would fill out the forms that were requested of us, go back the next time, they were lost. Been sent to various departments, the road department, to the Coastal Commission, Regional Planning, and we never could seem to get ahead.

Then we began to, as time went on, notice that others were building, and we would go over to them and ask, ‘we’re having trouble getting a permit, on this very small house,” by the way, that house was only 661 Square feet, are we doing something wrong?’

Kathleen Kenny - Courtesy of Kenny Family © 2008 pchpfilm, inc.

I wrote a letter, to the supervisors, and told them this story, in detail… over three years in trying to get a permit for a 660 square foot house, saw others around us building, who seemed to get their permits in thirty days, or less.

And I gave a whole history of my background. That I had come here as a young girl, on a bus, with nine dollars, had gone to school here, my dream was to have a home, so forth and so-on. 

 

And, little by little, people began saying, ‘You have to pay money…’

‘Just give the building department money, put money in a plain envelope when you go up there, bring your plans with you, just slide it across the counter, and at the same time, ask them if they could double check your plans to see if there was anything that you had done wrong, or bring out the fact that they have a lot of expertise, maybe they could help you,’ so forth and so-on. 

We came ultimately to learn that nobody got a permit in that area. Either from the Coastal Commission or the Building Department without working through an expediter, or paying money under the table

Kathleen Kenny & Art Starz

Kathleen Kenny & Art Starz - Courtesy of Kathleen Kenny Family © 2008 pchpfilm, inc

We jack hammered the foundation ourselves, poured the foundation, and, in fact, we came to the attention of the Los Angeles Times. And, they came out and wrote a front page story of the Real Estate section of the Sunday Times. The title of that article was, “Sweat Equity.” 

Sweat Equity

LA TIMES May 15, 1988

And they, in that article, they told that story, of what we had been through, and that I’d gone to school, so forth and so-on, and in the process they mentioned that it had cost us ($25,000.00) twenty-five thousand dollars to build this home.

It was absolutely a beautiful home.

That then began a flood of people who read that, had dreamed of having their own homes, who began going down to the building department, trying to get information, coming out to our property and asking us…

The next thing that we knew, is that Art [ Kathy's companion] and I were both arrested. 

  

 

They came the next day with, as I said, two sheriffs who stood guard holding rifles. You can see them opening up panty drawers, and lifting up my panties, out of the drawer, opening up the refrigerator. They also had cameras and  were taking pictures of everything.”


 

 

kath1edit.jpg

Kathleen Kenny - Courtesy of Kenny Family © 2008 pchpfilm, inc.

Epilogue

Kathleen Kenny stood against a fleet of government lawyers, a deputy attorney general, and all of the might, resources, and power of the state of California and did what no one else had done: She filed a RICO lawsuit (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) against the County of Los Angeles.

She did it by herself - pro per - without a lawyer, and she won.   

But, as Kathy tells it, a deputy district attorney took it upon himself, or maybe got instructions from on high, to order the presiding judge in her case to over turn her verdict.

Kathleen Kenny continued to fight this injustice up to her death.

Kathleen Kenny passed away February 16, 2007. 

Post mortem, $2.4 million dollars in fines still stands against her surviving companion, Art Starz.



 
 
Subscribe for Updates
First name
E-mail
 
facebook international documentary association imdb youtube