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Posts Tagged ‘California Legislature’

No offshore oil drilling for California

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

History is about to repeat itself - and not in a good way.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants the California Legislature to approve his request for the first new offshore oil drilling in California’s waters since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.

This is the worst time to open up California’s coast to off shore drilling, which is exactly why such a diabolical plan is being foisted on the people .

California doesn’t need money from big oil to fix the California budget woes.  California needs to take a hard look at all the  money we’re wasting on agencies and commissions we don’t need.

I know of at least one commission on the list there that is in major need of reform. Maybe we can find another one.

Before cutting education, take a gander at this list of all the absolutely essential California agencies and commissions  we can’t seem to manage without in our daily lives. Why not reorganize? Merge agencies where effort is duplicated.  Eliminate, reform or sell-off .

California Access for Infants and Mothers
California Acupuncture Board
California Administrative Office of the Courts
California Adoptions Branch
California African American Museum
California Agricultural Export Program
California Agricultural Labor Relations Board
California Agricultural Statistics Service
California Air Resources Board (CARB)
California Allocation Board
California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority
California Animal Health and Food Safety Services
California Anti-Terrorism Information Center
California Apprenticeship Council
California Arbitration Certification Program
California Architects Board
California Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board
California Arts Council

California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus
California Assembly Democratic Caucus
California Assembly Republican Caucus
California Athletic Commission
California Attorney General
California Bay Conservation and Development Commission
California Bay-Delta Authority
California Bay-Delta Office
California Biodiversity Council
California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists
California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors
California Board of Accountancy
California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
California Board of Behavioral Sciences
California Board of Chiropractic Examiners
California Board of Equalization (BOE)
California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
California Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind
California Board of Occupational Therapy
California Board of Optometry
California Board of Pharmacy
California Board of Podiatric Medicine
California Board of Prison Terms
California Board of Psychology
California Board of Registered Nursing
California Board of Trustees
California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians
California Braille and Talking Book Library
California Building Standards Commission
California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education
California Bureau of Automotive Repair
California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair
California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation
California Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine
California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
California Bureau of State Audits
California Business Agency
California Business Investment Services (CalBIS)
California Business Permit Information (CalGOLD)
California Business Portal
California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency
California Cal Grants
California CalJOBS
California Cal-Learn Program
California CalVet Home Loan Program
California Career Resource Network
California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau
California Center for Analytical Chemistry
California Center for Distributed Learning
California Center for Teaching Careers (Teach California)
California Chancellor’s Office
California Charter Schools
California Children and Families Commission
California Children and Family Services Division
California Citizens Compensation Commission
California Civil Rights Bureau
California Coastal Commission
California Coastal Conservancy
California Code of Regulations
California Collaborative Projects with UC Davis
California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth
California Commission on Aging
California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation
California Commission on Judicial Performance
California Commission on State Mandates
California Commission on Status of Women
California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
California Commission on the Status of Women
California Committee on Dental Auxiliaries
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Junior Colleges
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
California Complaint Mediation Program
California Conservation Corps
California Constitution Revision Commission
California Consumer Hotline
California Consumer Information Center
California Consumer Information
California Consumer Services Division
California Consumers and Families Agency
California Contractors State License Board
California Corrections Standards Authority
California Council for the Humanities
California Council on Criminal Justice
California Council on Developmental Disabilities
California Court Reporters Board
California Courts of Appeal
California Crime and Violence Prevention Center
California Criminal Justice Statistics Center
California Criminalistic Institute Forensic Library
California CSGnet Network Management
California Cultural and Historical Endowment
California Cultural Resources Division
California Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch
California Data Exchange Center
California Data Management Division
California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission
California Delta Protection Commission
California Democratic Caucus
California Demographic Research Unit
California Dental Auxiliaries
California Department of Aging
California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs
California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board
California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
California Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating)
California Department of Child Support Services (CDCSS)
California Department of Community Services and Development
California Department of Conservation
California Department of Consumer Affairs
California Department of Corporations
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
California Department of Developmental Services
California Department of Education
California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
California Department of Finance
California Department of Financial Institutions
California Department of Fish and Game
California Department of Food and Agriculture
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF)
California Department of General Services
California Department of General Services, Office of State Publishing
California Department of Health Care Services
California Department of Housing and Community Development
California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)
California Department of Insurance
California Department of Justice Firearms Division
California Department of Justice Opinion Unit
California Department of Justice, Consumer Information, Public Inquiry Unit
California Department of Justice
California Department of Managed Health Care
California Department of Mental Health
California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
California Department of Personnel Administration
California Department of Pesticide Regulation
California Department of Public Health
California Department of Real Estate
California Department of Rehabilitation
California Department of Social Services Adoptions Branch
California Department of Social Services
California Department of Technology Services Training Center (DTSTC)
California Department of Technology Services (DTS)
California Department of Toxic Substances Control
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVets)
California Department of Water Resources
California Departmento de Vehiculos Motorizados
California Digital Library
California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program
California Division of Apprenticeship Standards
California Division of Codes and Standards
California Division of Communicable Disease Control
California Division of Engineering
California Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control
California Division of Gambling Control
California Division of Housing Policy Development
California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
California Division of Labor Statistics and Research
California Division of Land and Right of Way
California Division of Land Resource Protection
California Division of Law Enforcement General Library
California Division of Measurement Standards
California Division of Mines and Geology
California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)
California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources
California Division of Planning and Local Assistance
California Division of Recycling
California Division of Safety of Dams
California Division of the State Architect
California Division of Tourism
California Division of Workers’ Compensation Medical Unit
California Division of Workers’ Compensation
California Economic Assistance, Business and Community Resources
California Economic Strategy Panel
California Education and Training Agency
California Education Audit Appeals Panel
California Educational Facilities Authority
California Elections Division
California Electricity Oversight Board
California Emergency Management Agency
California Emergency Medical Services Authority
California Employment Development Department (EDD)
California Employment Information State Jobs
California Employment Training Panel
California Energy Commission
California Environment and Natural Resources Agency
California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA)
California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES)
California Executive Office
California Export Laboratory Services
California Exposition and State Fair (Cal Expo)
California Fair Political Practices Commission
California Fairs and Expositions Division
California Film Commission
California Fire and Resource Assessment Program
California Firearms Division
California Fiscal Services
California Fish and Game Commission
California Fisheries Program Branch
California Floodplain Management
California Foster Youth Help
California Franchise Tax Board (FTB)
California Fraud Division
California Gambling Control Commission
California Geographic Information Systems Council (GIS)
California Geological Survey
California Government Claims and Victim Compensation Board
California Governor’s Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons
California Governor’s Mentoring Partnership
California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
California Governor’s Office of Homeland Security
California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
California Governor’s Office
California Grant and Enterprise Zone Programs HCD Loan
California Health and Human Services Agency
California Health and Safety Agency
California Healthy Families Program
California Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau
California High-Speed Rail Authority
California Highway Patrol (CHP)
California History and Culture Agency
California Horse Racing Board
California Housing Finance Agency
California Indoor Air Quality Program
California Industrial Development Financing Advisory Commission
California Industrial Welfare Commission
California InFoPeople
California Information Center for the Environment
California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank)
California Inspection Services
California Institute for County Government
California Institute for Education Reform
California Integrated Waste Management Board
California Interagency Ecological Program
California Job Service
California Junta Estatal de Personal
California Labor and Employment Agency
California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
California Labor Market Information Division
California Land Use Planning Information Network (LUPIN)
California Lands Commission
California Landscape Architects Technical Committee
California Latino Legislative Caucus
California Law Enforcement Branch
California Law Enforcement General Library
California Law Revision Commission
California Legislative Analyst’s Office
California Legislative Black Caucus
California Legislative Counsel
California Legislative Division
California Legislative Information
California Legislative Lesbian, Gay , Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus
California Legislature Internet Caucus
California Library Development Services
California License and Revenue Branch
California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program
California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board
California Maritime Academy
California Marketing Services
California Measurement Standards
California Medical Assistance Commission
California Medical Care Services
California Military Department
California Mining and Geology Board
California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts
California Museum Resource Center
California National Guard
California Native American Heritage Commission
California Natural Community Conservation Planning Program
California New Motor Vehicle Board
California Nursing Home Administrator Program
California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board
California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board
California Ocean Resources Management Program
California Office of Administrative Hearings
California Office of Administrative Law
California Office of AIDS
California Office of Binational Border Health
California Office of Child Abuse Prevention
California Office of Deaf Access
California Office of Emergency Services (OES)
California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
California Office of Fiscal Services
California Office of Fleet Administration
California Office of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Implementation (CalOHI)
California Office of Historic Preservation
California Office of Homeland Security
California Office of Human Resources
California Office of Legal Services
California Office of Legislation
California Office of Lieutenant Governor
California Office of Military and Aerospace Support
California Office of Mine Reclamation
California Office of Natural Resource Education
California Office of Privacy Protection
California Office of Public School Construction
California Office of Real Estate Appraisers
California Office of Risk and Insurance Management
California Office of Services to the Blind
California Office of Spill Prevention and Response
California Office of State Publishing (OSP)
California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development
California Office of Systems Integration
California Office of the Inspector General
California Office of the Ombudsman
California Office of the Patient Advocate
California Office of the President
California Office of the Secretary for Education
California Office of the State Fire Marshal
California Office of the State Public Defender
California Office of Traffic Safety
California Office of Vital Records
California Online Directory
California Operations Control Office
California Opinion Unit
California Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN)
California Park and Recreation Commission
California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)
California Performance Review (CPR)
California Permit Information for Business (CalGOLD)
California Physical Therapy Board
California Physician Assistant Committee
California Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services
California Policy and Evaluation Division
California Political Reform Division
California Pollution Control Financing Authority
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
California Postsecondary Education Commission
California Prevention Services
California Primary Care and Family Health
California Prison Industry Authority
California Procurement Division
California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS)
California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB)
California Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
California Real Estate Services Division
California Refugee Programs Branch
California Regional Water Quality Control Boards
California Registered Veterinary Technician Committee
California Registrar of Charitable Trusts
California Republican Caucus
California Research and Development Division
California Research Bureau
California Resources Agency
California Respiratory Care Board
California Rivers Assessment
California Rural Health Policy Council
California Safe Schools
California San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
California San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy
California San Joaquin River Conservancy
California School to Career
California Science Center
California Scripps Institution of Oceanography
California Secretary of State Business Portal
California Secretary of State
California Seismic Safety Commission
California Self Insurance Plans (SIP)
California Senate Office of Research
California Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program
California Small Business Development Center Program
California Smart Growth Caucus
California Smog Check Information Center
California Spatial Information Library
California Special Education Division
California Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board
California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR)
California Standards and Assessment Division
California State Administrative Manual (SAM)
California State Allocation Board
California State and Consumer Services Agency
California State Architect
California State Archives
California State Assembly
California State Association of Counties (CSAC)
California State Board of Education
California State Board of Food and Agriculture
California State Chief Information Officer (CIO)
California State Children’s Trust Fund
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California State Contracts Register Program
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California State Railroad Museum
California State Science Fair
California State Senate
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California State Summer School for the Arts
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)
California State Treasurer
California State University Center for Distributed Learning
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California State University, Channel Islands
California State University, Chico
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California State University, Sacramento
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California State University, Stanislaus
California State University (CSU)
California State Water Project Analysis Office
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California State Water Resources Control Board
California Structural Pest Control Board
California Student Aid Commission
California Superintendent of Public Instruction
California Superior Courts
California Tahoe Conservancy
California Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically Competent Physicians and Dentists
California Tax Information Center
California Technology and Administration Branch Finance
California Telecommunications Division
California Telephone Medical Advice Services (TMAS)
California Transportation Commission
California Travel and Transportation Agency
California Unclaimed Property Program
California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board
California Unemployment Insurance Program
California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission
California Veterans Board
California Veterans Memorial
California Veterinary Medical Board and Registered Veterinary Technician Examining Committee
California Veterinary Medical Board
California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board
CaliforniaVolunteers
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California Water Commission
California Water Environment Association (CWEA)
California Water Resources Control Board
California Welfare to Work Division
California Wetlands Information System
California Wildlife and Habitat Data Analysis Branch
California Wildlife Conservation Board
California Wildlife Programs Branch
California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board
California Workforce and Labor Development Agency
California Workforce Investment Board
California Youth Authority (CYA)
Central Valley Flood Protection Board
Center for California Studies
Colorado River Board of California
Counting California
Dental Board of California
Health Insurance Plan of California (PacAdvantage)
Humboldt State University
Jobs with the State of California
Judicial Council of California
Learn California
Library of California
Lieutenant Governor’s Commission for One California
Little Hoover Commission (on California State Government Organization and Economy)
Medical Board of California
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Physical Therapy Board of California
Regents of the University of California
San Diego State University
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Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
State Bar of California
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Teach California
University of California
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University of California, Hastings College of the Law
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Merced
University of California, Riverside
University of California, San Diego
University of California, San Francisco
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Santa Cruz
Veterans Home of California

Call/write or fax Governor Schwarzenegger and let him know you think there are better options

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

State Capitol Building

Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: 916-445-2841

Fax: 916-558-3160

Welcome to Neverland

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Wednesday, Governor Schwarzenegger announced California’s deficit has grown to $26.3 billion and there is only one thing do do. The governor proposed billions of additional cuts to education. It doesn’t make sense. Leave education alone. California needs smarter kids – not dumber ones.

The governor declared a fiscal emergency. That declaration triggered an automatic 45-day deadline for the state legislature to come up with a plan to cover the shortfall and balance the budget. If that fails, they’re banned from considering any other legislation until they come up with a solution.  Which, I guess is like saying to a kid, finish your homework or no more homework.

Clearly they need help. Only one thing to do.

We need an intervention.

If California can’t pay their bills, why not do the same thing to this reckless bunch of CEO’s we did to GM and AIG? Place California in receivership. Call in the note. foreclose, evict them, throw the bums out. Start from scratch. 150 years apiece - for all of them…put ‘em right next to Maddoff – no chushy white-collar criminal country clubs for this bunch for all the misery they have inflicted. Take their assets, too. That ought to produce results fast. How many more weeks of failed proposals and bickering can we stand for? Aren’t they embarrassed? Even a little ashamed?

A fiscal train wreck.

Thursday the state planned to pay its bills with IOU’s instead of cash. I tried that today at my local food store. It didn’t work. People giggled for a moment. Then got quiet. Dead quiet. The kind of quiet that silently speaks outrage. Yep…People are angry.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer calls it an “institutional breakdown.”

I call it just plain wrong. It’s like watching a rerun of a television show everyone knows.  We’ve seen the story a dozen times, know the plot by heart and what is going to happen at the end, and we still watch…hypnotized into thinking - some way, some how how, this time, things are going to be different.

The particular rerun we’re all watching over and over again is called: Corruption, Cronyism, Partisan Bickering, and placing personal self-interest above the needs of an ever increasingly growing desperate citizenry.

Tomorrow we commemorate our independence from that long-ago forgotten, except one one-day-a-year-on the 4th day of July, struggle against tyrannical abuse of power. This is a great topic for tomorrow’s barbecue… but after the barbecue… its time to get busy and deal with what is important.

I think what this song stands for is important…Very Important.

Deep in my heart, I know you do too.

I love Ray Charles.

California Here I Come - What would they sing now?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

California was a much different place when Lucy, Ricky Ethel and Fred sang this rousing rendition of California Here I Come on the I Love Lucy Show, episode 110, season 4, original air date 1/10/1955 (Thanks IMDB)

“What would they sing now?” Dunno, but Let’s see what our Governor is singing:

“just three months after our February budget, we once again face a $24 billion deficit. California’s day of reckoning is here.

We have no time to waste. The controller has told us that we have 14 days to act or California is at risk of running out of cash. I’ve already used my executive authority to reduce the state payroll and I’ve proposed the necessary cuts to the three largest areas of our budget, which is education, health care and prisons.

Wait just a gosh durned second….

SAVE EDUCATION!!!

If we don’t teach our kids to be smart and to do math, we’ll never get out of this mess… And if some of the members of  the state’s legislature went to school in California please - get them off the budget committee!

Wonder how much of the budget is wasted year after year fighting fires that wouldn’t have to be fought if crews went out into the dense brush with weed-wackers? Firefighting cost were around  $8 billion bucks last year.  Multiply firefighting costs over the last 10 years, and it doesn’t take a 6th grader to see why we’re going down.

What about all that money the state lost because of Open Space? Once you take land off the tax rolls you say buh-bye to property taxes?  Open space pays no taxes.

We must also restructure the relationship between state and local government. We all hear from the local officials about the heavy hand of Sacramento.

On the coast of California its more like a heavy boot.

I’m also proposing once again to eliminate and consolidate more than a dozen state departments, boards and commissions. These include the Waste Management Board, the Court Reporters Board, the Department of Boating and Waterways and the Inspection and Maintenance Review Committee and so on.

Hmmm - nothing about California Coastal Commission.

I’m also proposing to sell off state property, because Sacramento should not be in the real estate business, especially when we are in a fiscal crisis like this.

Ding, ding, ding! Wait a second gov. You forget! You are in the real estate business… that’s why organizations like the CCC exist and conservancies like Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy exist….so  you take, I mean get, free land to sell for profit.

Sounds kinda rotten to me. Why not give back all the land you’ve taken,not you per se, but state organizations have taken on your behalf, and give it back to the people you took it from?  At least then people can pay taxes on it …if they still have jobs..

Let’s meet those challenges head-on without gimmicks. I don’t want to hand these problems to the next Governor and I know that you don’t want to hand them to the next Legislature.

Isn’t that what you would call a gimmick?

So I have faith in all of you. I have faith in our ability to once again come together for the good of our state.

You mean… put the state first? Instead of self-interest? Gee, can that be done?

So I say let’s move forward and put California back on the path to prosperity.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Source: Governor’s Press Office

One sure path to prosperity is to give the farmers back their land you took for open space so they can grow the food the people need. The other sure path is to manage the brush, I mean: fuel load, so we don’t get any more huge fires like Santa Barbara that we can’t pay for anyway.

Sounds to me like: California, say buh-bye.

The California Coastal Commission - Unrepentant Sinners

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

The Unrepentant Sins Of The California Coastal Commission
by Ronald A. Zumbrun
Thursday, 12 February 2009

What do the former mayors of Malibu and San Diego, a former member of the California Coastal Commission, and a former captain of the County of Los Angeles Fire Department have in common? In a soon-to-be released documentary film entitled “Sins of Commission”, these former public servants, along with several other aggrieved property owners, describe in painful detail the transformation of the California Coastal Commission as a protector of the environment into a radical bureaucratic monster.

Those who view the Coastal Commission as integral to the battle to protect the coast from “big developers” will be surprised to learn that it typically chooses to pursue fines against individual property owners who lack the resources to fight back.

Consider the plight of Kathleen Kenny, who was fined by the Coastal Commission for building a 742 square-foot cottage on an existing, developed pad in Topanga Canyon, California.

Not coincidentally, the California Attorney General’s Office, which represents the Coastal Commission, imposed the fines and served a lawsuit against Ms. Kenny the same day that a County of Los Angeles building inspector and two sheriff’s deputies showed up at her front door with a search warrant. The building inspector, Grant Lawseth, was miffed when Ms. Kenny published an 8-page newsletter to 3,000 Topanga Canyon residents accusing him of seeking bribes in exchange for Building Department approval.

In an amazing turn of events, a federal jury in 1997 found that Mr. Lawseth had engaged in a continued practice of racketeering and awarded damages to Ms. Kenny under the Federal Racketeering and Corrupt Organization statutes.

Despite Ms. Kenny’s recent death and the astonishing jury verdict, the Coastal Commission’s fine is still on the books against her partner, Arthur Starz, which now exceeds over $2 million.

Sadly, the practice of government extortion of private property owners is not unique to Ms. Kenny. Shortly after the Legislature designated the Coastal Commission as a permanent bureaucratic entity in 1976, the Coastal Commission embarked on an expressed policy of forcing private property owners to relinquish portions of their land to the state in exchange for a building permit––a tactic which the United States Supreme Court in 1987 labeled “an out-and-out plan of extortion” in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission.

Ignoring the high court’s rebuff, the Coastal Commission continues to engage in extortionist tactics. One of the Coastal Commission’s ongoing policy objectives is the creation of hiking trails throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. There is nothing wrong in principle with this policy objective. After all, the state can simply purchase these trails from private property owners, right? Wrong. Instead of paying for the trails, the Coastal Commission has in place the policy of requiring property owners to relinquish a portion of their land for trails in exchange for a building permit––a policy confirmed by Peter Douglas, the Executive Director of the Coastal Commission, in the above-mentioned documentary “Sins of Commission.”

In Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, the Supreme Court held that there must be damage caused by the permit seeker and a nexus or connection to the exaction. Thus, if a home is to be placed on a public path, the permit seeker can be required to dedicate a comparable path to the public. In Dolan v. City of Tigard, the high court clarified the rule: there must be a rough proportionality between the harm to the public and the exaction imposed on the property owner.

The Coastal Commission’s policy willfully ignores a fundamental attribute of private property ownership: the right to exclude others. The Supreme Court has characterized this right as “one of the most essential sticks in the bundle of rights that are commonly characterized as property.” The Coastal Commission deprives property owners of this “essential stick in the bundle of rights” by its extortionist land dedication requirements.

Indeed, the Coastal Commission has even attempted to deprive a property owner of the right to place a “no trespassing” sign on his property, contending that placement of the sign is unpermitted “development.” Thankfully, the California Court of Appeal in LT-WR, L.L.C. v. California Coastal Commission restored sanity and confirmed that Californians still have the right to place “no trespassing” signs on their own property and do not need a permit from the Coastal Commission to do so, notwithstanding the Coastal Commission’s contention that this could potentially interfere with public prescriptive rights. It is disconcerting, to say the least, that the Coastal Commission, backed by tax dollars and the Attorney General’s Office, would take such a position in a court of law in the first place.

Consider also the Coastal Commission’s decision to label chaparral vegetation in the Santa Monica Mountains to be an environmentally sensitive habitat area (ESHA)––a decision without legislative oversight and based solely on the opinion of one so-called “expert” handpicked by the Coastal Commission. This label drastically curtails a property owner’s ability to productively use private property. Even a self-sustaining organic garden would be a prohibited use without a permit. Most of the land in the Santa Monica Mountains contains chaparral. Unfortunately, chaparral also is a primary source of fuel for fires. The ESHA designation precludes fire departments and local governmental entities from adopting their own fire protection measures and prevents private property owners from clearing brush as a buffer in the event of fire. Chaparral has been a major contributor to the recent fires which have plagued the state. Local residents and their governments must now live with a high risk of fires.

And then there is the ongoing plight of Dan Norris and Peggy Gilder, who purchased raw land in Topanga Canyon––not to live on, but to organically garden and hike with their children. The land came with an old, preexisting road, which over time had become obstructed with debris, rocks, and foliage. It never occurred to Norris and Gilder that the Coastal Commission would require a permit to clear a preexisting road to ensure access to private property. After receiving a notice of violation from the Coastal Commission for unpermitted “development” in an ESHA, the Coastal Commission arranged for an inspection of the property. Norris and Gilder wanted to film the inspection to protect their rights, but the Coastal Commission objected to being filmed. Without notice to Norris and Gilder and their legal counsel, the Coastal Commission then sought a civil inspection warrant from a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to allow the inspection to occur without filming and to allow forcible entry onto the property. Sensing the constitutional implication of precluding a private property owner from filming a government inspection on private property, the judge requested briefing on the issue. Rather than run the risk of an adverse ruling, the Coastal Commission withdrew its request for the warrant.

The California Legislature bears much of the responsibility for the Coastal Commission’s flagrant abuses of power. It created an entity that acts as a legislator (as in the ESHA definition), adjudicator (it hears appeals brought by aggrieved property owners), and executive administrator (imposing fines). The English historian Lord Acton famously remarked that “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and the Coastal Commission is a prime example. The Coastal Commission’s treatment of Ms. Kenny and numerous others has nothing to do with environmentalism, and everything to do with selective intimidation and violation of basic civil liberties.

Backed by the power of the state’s v’s Office, what chance do private property owners in California have of fighting back? Very little. The vast majority of private property owners are just like Ms. Kenny, who desire only a residence to live in and do not have the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for attorneys to battle the state. In short, only the people through their legislative representatives can make the changes necessary to restore both environmental protection and freedom of property ownership in California.

In the documentary film, Peter Douglas takes delight in describing himself as a “radical pagan heretic” and characterizes property owners who assert their constitutional rights in court as “jihadists.” It is submitted that no one, radical pagan or otherwise, should be acting as judge, jury and executioner over the people of California.

*Ronald A. Zumbrun is Managing Attorney of The Zumbrun Law Firm, a Sacramento-based public issues firm. Timothy V. Kassouni, Legal Director with the firm, substantially assisted in the preparation of this column and also is lead counsel for Dan Norris and Peggy Gilder. You can learn more about The Zumbrun Law Firm at http://www.zumbrunlaw.com/. “Sins of Commission” is produced by Richard Oshen of Pacific Coast Highway Productions. See http://www.sinsofcommission.com/ for more information.



 
 
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