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Posts Tagged ‘California Coast’

California Coastal Commission needs a reality check

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

No Wind Turbine on the Coast? IDIOTS!

By an 8-to-3 vote, the California Coastal Commission denied a request by a Santa Cruz County couple to install a wind turbine.

Commissioners said the windmill’s blades might hurt birds and the structure could visually mar the area. [The Santa Cruz Sentinel]. 

Visually maring the area?  Gimme a break!

The commission is tossing any flimsy excuse they can into the wind. Wild lions might be attracted. Swarms of locusts could descend upon us…get the picture? It’s also possible it might improve things. Truth is - they don’t know. 

Wind turbines, also known as wind mills, have been part of the American landscape for hundreds of years. They’re part of our heritage. They worked then…and will work now.

Aren’t we as a nation being encouraged to seek alternative energy sources? Wind power is such a source. What is going on with the California Coastal Commission?

Wind turbines along the coast makse sense. Harness the offshore and onshore breezes?  Sounds like a real good natural solution and win-win for the people of California - which is why it rattles the CCC’s cage.

The notion of American self-sufficiency is a huge part of our heritage. It is etched in our DNA…and it’s part of who we are. To be self-sufficient from big oil - the same big oil that paid off, er, I mean, contribuited to environental group EDC last week is in everyone’s interest. Do you think this why many Californians still feel things are going to hell in a handbasket?

Unnecessarily hurting wild birds or any wild animals is truly a sad state of affairs - but what about hurting people?  From the California Coastal Commission’s perspective, based on 30+ year’s of Civil Rights Abuse, hurting Californians isn’t a problem - and that is an even sadder state of affairs

The California Coastal Commission lost its grip on reality a long time ago and needs some mighty serious reform - term limits immediately comes to mind - but that reform is absolutely 100% guaranteed not going to come from within a broken system. 

Until the day things change, nothing will change on the California Coast. Californians will continue to leave the state in droves while the infrastructure continues to crash - which I believe is the ultimate goal of the CCC.

Coastal Turkeys - the real problem with California.

Time for Change on the California Coast

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

“Power never concedes anything without a demand; it never has and it never will.”

Frederick Douglass (no relation to Peter Douglas)

Yesterday’s blog post was about secret back room deals resulting in a covert agreement between an environmental grout Environmental Defense Center, EDC and Huston based Oil company PXP. This revelation seems to suggest just how twisted our system has become and offers the possibility that the system may be too broken to be fixed by politicians, commissions, and other so-called government insiders.

Regarding all matters coastal, change if it going to be real, and long lasting must come from outside Sacramento. It is time for all of us to take a good sharp look at the California Coastal Commission, and other land management resource agencies to see exactly how things get done along the coast of California.

Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

Martin Luther King

I always wonder why we people say we won’t get fooled again but inevitably do. Could it be that the new boss is the same as the old boss?

SECRET AGREEMENT - SIN OF COMMISSION

Monday, January 18th, 2010

The fate of public lands cannot be decided in contracts negotiated behind closed doors.

Controller John Chiang,  Lands Commission member

I’ve been looking for a way to demonstrate what I call the new eco-industrial complex while raising awareness about whole-scale corruption in the “name of the environment” then I read this little Dusey about a secret agreement between an oil company and a California environmental group, thank-you Calbuzz, and the pieces fit neatly into place.

It seems there is some kind of a secret pact between Huston based oil company PXP and Environmental Defense Center (EDC).

EDC has been prominent in the decades-long fight against offshore drilling in California according to Calbuzz.

Wait a second.

EDC, a prominent environmental group, has been publicly eschewing off-shore drilling but privately endorsing PXP’s application for lease to slant drill into state waters, from an existing platform under federal jurisdiction, more than three miles offshore.

It is shameful that an oil company got an environmental group - in this case Environmental Defense Center to do its bidding for YEARS for a piddly 100k… peanuts compared to the billions PXP is going to make.

PXP and EDC said they recently incorporated amendments to the agreement to address criticisms raised at the initial State Lands Commission hearing by strengthening written assurances that the promised benefits of the agreement will materialize.

Calbuzz

In one fell swoop EDC has not only tarnished environmental groups and raises the pay-for-play question, but has trashed the street cred of the State Lands Commission, and all the other agencies under them. This revelation raises some very uncomfortable questions - similar to the ones I raise in SINS OF COMMISSION that demand rigorous investigation and appropriate action.

SINS OF COMMISSION reveals that for decades the California Coastal Commission, an agency of state, engages in environmental degradation in exchange for a dedication of land or an easement of property.

Now it seems this deal-making behind closed doors is “business as usual.” - despite claims of transparency. If recent scandal-ridden history has taught us anything…this is just the tip of theiceberg.

…it is not unusual for environmental groups to keep private the legal agreements or settlements it makes with corporations applying for permits or leases before public agencies.

Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Center

If it is a private deal that is one thing… but oil leases are not generally considered private….oil leases are a public resource.

If permission is given, this would be the first lease granted by the state since Union Oil’s disastrous 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill - an oil spill that lead to vociferous public outrage- an outrage that needs voice now right here in California.

.
Read more at Calbuzz:

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.

Time for PETER DOUGLAS to take a hike

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

California Coastal families, farmers, and ranchers are not enemies of the state and deserve equal protection under the law.

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

-Thomas Jefferson

We celebrate our Nation’s Birthday in a few days. It’s a good time to reflect on what we Americans stand for…and what we don’t.  At a time we are fighting tyranny overseas, let us not forget to stand up to tyranny in our own backyard.

There is a concept in America we call “term limits”. They apply to everyone in office, including  Peter Douglas, Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission. Can anyone name someone besides Mr. Douglas who has reigned in office as long as Sir Peter?

In a Monarchy, kings reign… in a democracy, elected officials serve the people - all of the people for limited terms.

-Richard Oshen filmmaker

Amendment 22 to the United States Constitution ratified February 1951, specifies term limits for the President of the United States. Seems that Mr. Douglas thus declares himself to be above the constitution. Like the rights to property Mr D despises, he seems to view the constitution as a petty annoyance.

In a 1997 speech at a conference in Monterey…Peter Douglas called for the U.S. Constitution to be amended to make courts the “arbiters” in what he called the “debate” over property owners’ rights. That seems to be the issue right there, Mr. Douglas:

Property rights is not a debate. It is the LAW OF THE LAND.

Me thinks this is the trouble in a nutshell. Did Mr. Douglas or did he not take a Civil Service oath to defend and protect the constitution of the United States? If he did, he hasn’t done a good job of it… if not it is a charade on scale unparalleled in California, possibly the nation, and must not be permitted to stand any longer.

In my 90 minute interview with Peter Douglas for SINS OF COMMISSION, Mr. Douglas makes a bold, provocative statement on camera that he is not a civil servant - Question: If Mr. Douglas is not a civil servant, then who or what does Peter Douglas serve?

I was appointed on a seven to five vote. And there have been at least 11 attempts to get rid of me over the years because people don’t, for whatever reason, uh, can’t control me. And I’m (Stammers) the only non-civil service employee of the Coastal Commission. Everybody else is civil service.

- Peter Douglas, SINS OF COMMISSION

If he is not a civil servant…all the more reason to to send him packing. Especially after the Ramirez Canyon travesty SHAME ON YOU!

Time to break up the CCC’s corrupt fiefdom, especially with so many overlapping regulatory agencies in the state. It seems to me the resource agencies can be streamlined - trim the fat, and become much more efficient thus saving an already overburdened budget, and WE the people, lots of money.

The commission’s little scheme works like this: The governor selects 4 commissioners, the speaker 4 and legislature 4 then, they in tern, keep anointing Peter, over, and over, and over again. If that isn’t a racket, a shell game…what do you call it? I call it time for Term Limits. You serve a term, or two -just like the president… then thank you , and buh-bye!

Protection of the environment and protecting our human rights guaranteed under the constitution  ought not be at odds with each other, they support each other, and need each other to survive. Douglas has cunningly put them at odds and uses it to wage class warfare.

-Richard Oshen, Filmmaker

People are inseparable from the land…although the Triple C is trying real hard.

Billion Dollar fires that need not be.

Americans have the constitutional right to own property, Mr. Douglas. ALL their property…and to be secure on that property.

Property Rights is not a privilege like a drivers license - it is an inalienable right.

Mr. Douglas, it seems, does not like the idea of we the people owning land at all, yet he owns land…and a house.

Property and property rights are what separates free men from serfs and indentured servants.

Take away the right to own land and be secure on it and people can never be secure.

Once upon a time, thirty plus years ago, it sounded like a good idea to isolate the CCC from the politics of politics.The point is, over time, that seemingly “good idea” to isolate a regulatory commission from our democratic electoral process contributed mightily to its corruption and, along the way, made it subservient to its political patrons - not the people of the state of California.

-Richard Oshen, Filmmaker

Combining all three branches of government into one entity for “expediency” is a Kangaroo court. It is what the coastal commission has become: writer of its own laws, enforcer of the laws they write, judge, jury, and executioner. That is not America.

Who protects the people?

Not the government of California - and certainly not the attorney general of the state.

The attorney general is litigating the people on behalf of the Triple C to the tune of upwards of $ 2 billion dollars per year. They are using our own money to fight us.

Where are the CCC’s checks and balances? The answer, sadly, for all of us is…there are none.

A dysfunctional coastal commission handsomely benefited the big picture plan of certain self-interest Non Governmental Oragnizations to such a degree it appears the CCC is their de facto enforcer - the legal muscle in the service of the elite ones who secretly contribute to them - not the people of California.

Tom Hayden tried to break up this little PONZI SCHEME back in1988, but it was soundly defeated by the same elitist interests that still pull the CCC’s strings today.

Last year Senator Denise Ducheney introduced a bill that would prohibit the commission from appealing itself. Which to this writer, sounds like a very normal thing to do - to prevent a commission from appealing itself  It too was squashed by these same NGOs and their elite supporters.

Where is the legislative oversight?

There is much more to it….the politics of fire…the devaluation of property,  destruction of the family farm, more open space than we can afford, the destruction of infrastructure from lack of property taxes, people living in fear of retribution if they speak out. The CCC is not the STASI.

When the governor of our state tell us education must be sacrificed because there is no money left, and you cast your eyes up to dark billowing clouds of smoke, and expensive leased aircraft zooming overhead, when a fleet of weed-wackers could have prevented all or most of it - you begin to see the huge scope of the disaster by these Pirates of California.

The tyranny by small imperceptible changes that has been obscured for the last 30+ years comes into focus and once seemingly isolated dots connect.

-Richard Oshen, filmmaker

Yes, well past time for Mr Douglas to go - but to go not because someone is anti this, and someone else is pro that, but because no one is above the law.

It is time we, the people of California get down to the business of determining the Coastal Commission’s next chapter post  Douglas and whether we repair or replace the California Coastal Commission.

It is time for a change in California.Time to breathe fresh air into a stale decadent demagoguery.

General Motors held on to their self righteous beliefs to the very end. We cannot afford to.

The future of California hangs in the balance.

SINS OF COMMISSION needs your help. A work print of the film and “other” material is being subpoenaed by the California Coastal Commission. I believe this is an egregious violation of our 1st Amendment Rights.

If you’ve ever considered making a donation to help the film finish or want to defend freedom of speech, now is the time. All donations made through our fiscal sponsor, The International Documentary Association, a 501 c3 non profit, are tax deductible.

Please click the link on the navigation bar, or you may send a check by mail:

The International Documentary Association
1201 West 5th Street, Suite M270
Los Angeles, CA  90017

attention: Fiscal Sponsorship

Please mark your check “for the account of Sins of Commission”

Thank you.

California Coastal Commission documentary gets first review

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

SINS OF COMMISSION got its first review today. Getting a review from a film critic would normally be a proud moment shared with friends and loved ones. A time to crack open a bottle of champagne and celebrate. But for me, it is a joyless solitary moment filled with torment as I toss and turn to reconcile within why someone in the “comments” section would call me a “criminal” who is supposedly “on the lam from justice” for making a film.

What crime did I commit? What charges are against me? And who is my my accuser that hides in the shadows of anonymity? Come forward and be seen.

Let he who is without sin among you, cast the first stone…

SINS OF COMMISSION is a film I never wanted to make, never intended to make, but felt compelled to make.  Why did I do it? Beacuse, for me, and hopefully for you,  once a truth is known, it cannot be unknown. One person sent an e-mail today and simply said, “thank you.” 

My husband and I have been battling the CCC for 13 years…My husband had a heart attack in 1998 from all of the stress from dealing with them and their lies and craziness -

Kathleen Kenny died from colon cancer one year after I interviewed her. Other people,  people you may know or possibly neighbors you have have heard about, suffered the slings and arrows of persecution thrown at them with impunity by commissioners appointed by the highest officials in our state - simply because they audaciously wanted to live on land they purchased. This should not stand. We must do better.

Something is rotten in the state of California but by suppressing SINS OF COMMISSION, that dirty dark secret will not be brought out into the sunlight of truth for all of us to see, to debate, to comment upon, to ponder, to talk amongst ourselves, and do such things as we do in a democracy. We must do better.

If you are an independent documentary filmmaker in a country in which independent journalism is seen as a danger to those in power, you are talking a risk. But preserving democracy for all means risks must be taken. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

At stake is more than just freedom of expression.  We Americans live in a country built on the principle of separation of powers - where power is separated into three distinct branches of government that are supposed to check and balance each other so there can never be an accumulation of absolute power in any one branch. This is not a Conservative principle, this is not a Liberal principal, it is not a Democratic principle, it is not a Republican principle…it is an American principle- and we must do better.

Any agency of any state or regulatory commission that embraces all 3 branches of government, in direct opposition of our principle of the separation of powers - even for the “noblest of intentions” - needs to be reevaluated.  Unfettered power still corrupts - and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Sins of Commission exposes Southern California’s law makers

Ginger Liu
Inside Hollywood Examiner
California Bush Fire

By taking on the California Coastal Commission head on, this riveting and intelligent documentary from Richard Oshen exposes the archaic and unbending rules of power on the lives of ordinary homeowners

The story unfolds naturally as we first sympathize with the rule makers in preventing the destruction of habitat by homeowners until the CCC quite remarkably shoot themselves in the foot as dogmatic rules and corruption unfold. The film shows all sides with interviews from couples that have fought the CCC for years, ex CCC staff that believe in the Commission but not their strict laws, and the Commissioners themselves who are absolute and unwavering.  

No one is denying the purpose of a commission that protects Southern California’s rich landscape. Oshen’s film dares to question authority and in doing so ignites the kind of investigative journalism that has been sadly missing during Bush years.

A link to Ginger’s article and comment stream Inside Hollywood Examiner

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.

California Coastal Commission - Time for Change - Part 2

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Separation of Powers is vital to individual liberty

The principal of Separation of Powers, vital to the protection of individual liberty, is ignored by the California Coastal Commission. Without it, some people might be tempted to let one individual or group take too much power in the name of pursuing some popular cause.

Right now, right here in California, USA, “the California Coastal Commission is the poster child for government power run amok — but because everything the commission does is supposedly to protect the environment, hardly anybody questions it. Especially the news media.” ¹ 

Do we, the people really want a state agency that claims jurisdiction over telling a homeowner what color to paint their house under the guise of environmental protection?  AND if we do, perhaps its time to re-prioritize PDQ, given our massive budget problems.

The California Coastal Commission’s purpose is so important… to protect the coast from serious threats such as oil spills, sea walls strip mall development it has been able to claim popular immunity for all sorts of sins of commission done in the name of protecting the environment.

SINS OF COMMISSION pierces the fog of secrecy surrounding the imperial California Coastal Commission and replaces cloudy vision with the crystal clear reality that for 30 plus years homeowners, farmers, and landowners have been told what to do by a government agency that was designed to protect our precious coastal resources of California from major offenders, and not John and Jane Doe Homeowner.

The chairman runs the meetings, has influence over the agenda and serves as the commission’s public face.  The commission, the state’s most powerful land-use regulator…is an independent panel – much to the irritation of a number of governors, including the current one – and it has an aggressive staff. Those two qualities often put them at odds with the powers in Sacramento the people who are affected by its decisions first hand.

(Source: John Howard, CAPITOL WEEKLY)

Bonnie Neely recently became the California California Coastal Commission’s new chairperson, and I for one sincerely hope she can get the California Coastal Commission back on the track it derailed from and refocus the commission’s attention to the big issues facing California’s 1,100 mile coastline.

Feeling burnt?

Donate now through the International Documentary Association, our fiscal sponsor.

¹http://www.cpoabigsur.org/Archive/CCC_Articles/Reinventing_The_Coastal_Commission.html

California Coastal Commission - Time for Change - Part 1

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Something happening here…what it is ain’t exactly clear…

-Crosby, Stills and Nash

Current California lobbyist registration laws exempt lobbyists who try to sway the California Coastal Commission’s land-use decisions.

Don’t the people deserve to know who is influencing the California Coastal Commission? 

HISTORY

The California Coast is the symbol of our state and personifies the bond WE, the people, have with our land and all nature.  Arguably, it is our most precious natural asset and touches the lives of millions of Californians and people from around the world.

It’s good for the soul. Its a place to recreate, relax, and still a great source of fresh air. It’s not only good for us, but the coast is home to all kinds of fish, birds, mammals, and a wide range of plants. The coast also drives our economy. Coastal visitors bring more than $2 billion a year to Los Angeles County.¹

Three decades ago, oil spills blackened California’s beaches. Uncontrolled development threatened public access to the coast. California voters acted to protect the coast to show the world our commitment to be good stewards of our coastal resources for future generations of Californians and all people everywhere. 

It seemed like a good idea back then to create the California Coastal Commission, a government entity that would protect the coast. It also seemed like a good idea to protect that group from the politics of politics by isolating it from the electoral process.

Only one of these concepts is still a good idea…can you guess which one?

Coastal California Today 

The health of the coast is at risk. Runoff and sewage degrades the water, harms marine ecosystems and closes the beaches the California Coastal Commission is supposed to protect.  

By what rights does the California Coastal Commission have the power to determine whether a house can be seen from a trail, or the open sea, or what color it is, or if people can plant a rose bush, when the coast - the natural resource they’ve actually been mandated to protect, isn’t doing so well? Isn’t that akin to rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic? 

All Californians know beach access is important. The coastal commission likes to puff up its chest, pat itself on the back, and point to beach access or Beach Clean Up Day (a very good thing) with pride. But doesn’t it seem a little bit deceitful because what good is beach access or a clean beach if the water is too polluted to swim in?

Santa Monica Bay beaches exceed newly adopted bacteria standards. The beach at Santa Monica Pier was by far the most polluted in Santa Monica Bay and was the second most polluted beach in California this summer.²

Los Angeles County beaches received the lowest marks in the state, with nearly one in five beaches receiving F grades. Malibu’s famed Surfrider received a D. Long Beach had the most polluted beaches, according to the report. Nearly half its 25 monitored beaches received C to F. ¹

FOLLOW THE MONEY

TOM HAYDEN tried to reform the California Coastal Commission. Way back in 1988 he smelled a skunk. He authored AB 4122 in an attempt to prohibit Coastal Commission members from engaging in political fund-raising activities. It was defeated. (probably with money from the same organizations he was trying to save us from.)

Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed requiring that lobbyists’ private (ex parte) communications with members of the Coastal Commission be fully disclosed and posted on the Internet. Why? If federal election campaign contributions are public, why not California Coastal Commission lobbist contributions?

California State Sen. Denise Ducheny of San Diego introduced Senate Bill 1295 Februray 19, 2008. Currently, the California Coastal Act allows the commission to initiate an appeal of a coastal development permit with the action of any two members of the commission.

It just doesn’t seem right that the people who make the appeal also decide the appeal,”

-Sen. Denise Ducheny

(Source:  North County Times, March 13, 2008)

Predictably, SB 1295 was also defeated.

The California coast is way too important to be left to the whims of political appointees who are beholding to their patron and easily swayed by the green cash lobbyists so readily throw.

Feeling burnt? Help us get the message out.

Donate now through the International Documentary Association, our fiscal sponsor.

Footnotes:

1 http://articles.latimes.com/2008/sep/26/local/me-beaches26

2 http://www.healthebay.org/assets/pdfdocs/brc/summer/2007/report_print.pdf

The Coast is Toast - California still missing the point.

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

The fires, fought at a huge cost to taxpayers, failed to translate into any meaningful reforms at the state or federal level despite efforts in Sacramento and Washington.

(Source: LA Times Bettina Boxall)

As wildfire fire fighting costs in California spiral upwards, driven by one of the worst wildfire seasons in the state’s history, our government still waffles.

‘I don’t think you can take money from suppression to do fuels treatment,’ Rey said. ‘Suppression money is what saves lives and homes, so that’s not going to be a very popular posture.’

-Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey

Popular isn’t the issue. Fuel modification is, and I for one. don’t know why everyone is dancing around the issue.  In fiscal 2008, half of the $1.4 billion that the U.S. Forest Service spent nationally on wildfire suppression was spent in California alone. State fire expenditures topped $1 billion.

I respectfully disagree, sir. The carrot still seems to be at the wrong end of the horse.  Modification of fuel saves lives while suppression, although highly visible, is ruining the environment. ( Please see our recent blog posts CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION - Time for a New Urban Wildland Fire Strategy? - Part 1 and 2 )

The other issue no one but us is broaching is why certain state agencies, commissions like the California Coastal Commission, and environmental groups, who say they want to protect the natural resources of the state aren’t helping the Fire Department and getting behind this. 

This hands-off posture is what Scot Franklin refers to as ” loving the chaparral to death.” Lets not destroy the chaparral all Californians love in order to “save it.”  It hasn’t worked,  isn’t going to work,  and bluntly, we don’t have the time or money not to try something different in 2009. If we do what we’ve always done, we’re gonna get what we always get - Burnt, crispy toast. 

State Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) sponsored several measures that went nowhere. One would have raised an estimated $43 million a year for fuel-reduction projects…

A bill written by Assemblyman Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) would have required that new subdivisions in high fire-risk areas have two access roads to ensure that residents could get out and fire engines could get in during an emergency. Developers also would have had to show that they had adequate water pressure and fire protection.

The proposal, supported by firefighter associations, was listed as a “job killer” by the state Chamber of Commerce, which argued that it could virtually shut down suburban development in certain parts of the state. The bill was passed by the Legislature but vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

There is an absolute disconnect between requiring state taxpayers to take on the ever increasing burden of fighting fires…  “The solution is not just more engines, more airplanes,” said [Ruben] Grijalva, who previously served as state fire marshal and Palo Alto’s fire chief.

(Source: LA Times Bettina Boxall)

The issue is that federal spending on fuel reduction continues to lag far behind firefighting costs, in California and nationally, and until that changes… the coast is toast.

I hope reason prevails in 2009, and wish everyone a healthy, safe New Year.

 



 
 
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