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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.

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 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

The Edge of Reality

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

THE EDGE BUYS LAND IN MALIBU

When I first read “The Edge of Destruction” by CRAIG STEPHENS in LA WEEKLY, the first thing that hit me was the provocative headline.  Mr. Stephens knows how to sell a story. He knows if the headline read: Malibu Welcomes The Edge or The Edge Brings Much Needed Jobs To Community or The Edge Contributes Handsomely To Property Taxes In Malibu - no one would notice.

But Mr. Stephen’s headline identifies a huge problem in Coastal California and the rest of America. One that I call DA-IS-NA-ID. Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

The other thing I noticed is that the people complaining already live there, and obviously built something themselves or moved into a house someone else built.

I wonder if they were subject to the same kind of scrutiny and contempt they so freely demonstrate for The Edge. Their home affected the environment too. So what is the underlying issue? An Archery Range?

Had a lot of fun at Malibu Mountain Archery Range. Put a bunch of holes in the paper targets. Liked to see all the Boy Scouts out there camping on a weekend. All the kids learning how to use a bow and arrow, cook, camp out and hike. Glad someone is exposing the no good x&%!@ that would throw out a charity

There is plenty of land already preserved in the State of California. Out of California’s 99,882.700 Acres 42,288,380 is already owned by the state or the feds for a total of 42. 36% 

That’s a lot of acres of public land available for archery, not to mention the Archery club could potentially find a better spot somewhere else in the huge, already well preserved, Santa Monica Mountains. (Source: www.nrcm.org/documents/publiclandownership.pdf).  What is the real issue with The Edge’s new home? What It really boils down to is old-fashioned American prejudice.

 DA-IS-NA-ID

I read down the list of comments. One after another, people just grumble, spout and spew, but one thing is for certain…they are pissed! So pissed,  they threaten not to buy the latest U2 album. 

Reminds me of frothing folk who burned their John Lennon records way back when for saying ” the Beatles were bigger than Jesus.”  The times, they have have sure changed.

People now refuse to buy a record because someone wants to build home in their neighborhood.

This has nothing to do with whether these projects/Obama are good or bad, it has to do with U2’s hypocrisy. So am I stunned to find out that they don’t live up to the same environmental standards that they demand from the little guy? Nope! We are supposed walk to work; they ride in private his and her jets

How did Obama get into this? Is he moving in too? Please tell me which U2 record is calling people e to walk to work? Also please tell me whose environmental standards are we supposed to live up to? Yours? 

Are we all now socialist workers of the world?

Have we hung up our American individuality to don identical black burkas and lock step to work? Are we now supposed to look over our shoulders or peer out from behind dark curtains to see what the other is doing, rather than pay attention to ourselves? 

In the 1950’s we had a RED SCARE in this country. Many of you probably remember Senator Joe McCarthy. Many people were accused of being UN-AMERICAN and black listed.

The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigated communist organizations. The HUAC came into being because they wanted to prove that a lot of actors and writers were communists.

Is this where we are going? Are we witnessing the beginning of a GREEN SCARE?  Someone not living like us, doing something different from us?  

A few folks raised the issue why that land wasn’t purchased by others - or even the conservancy? Good question.

I am sorely confused. Was land purchased by David Evans, or not? If he has the money to buy a swath, why shouldn’t he? He worked hard; he earned it. If he wants to build a house for every member of his family, why can’t he? 

Other people even had the gall to mention the biggest bugaboo of all …property rights. Two words that are as evil as a rapist, baby killer, or mass- murderer judging by one fellow’s comments:

Have property rights? Yes, and within the law you can be be immoral, teach your kids to be racists and never deal with ethics or fairness. You may be as greedy and uncaring as the law allows. You may do what you want with your property and never consider your neighbors, your community, your city or the planet. Under the law in other countries you can torture and kill your wife.

Whew…I guess in his world, wife killing and property rights go hand in hand. But this fellow did say the magic words “Under the law in other countries…” Let’s read them again, shall we, Under the law in other countries…

What the respondent seems to have forgotten is that we are in AMERICA, and under American law, The Edge has constitutional rights - just like him, or any of the other folk who wrote in. But why talk about the constitution, say you, that’s a right-wing issue, isn’t it?  Says who - and since when?

Constitutional rights and Environmental protection are not mutually exclusive of each other. Both need great care and our due diligence to insure we have freedom and an healthy environment for future generations. So what is the solution?

Here is a novel concept: Why not welcome The Edge into the community and thank him for the bread he will be putting on the tables of the many who will be employed building whatever he builds.

The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, and tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery, and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.

Most Puritans were a strict, unfeeling, and unforgiving lot. Hester was scorned by women who felt  she deserved a larger punishment than she actually received.

Instead of only being made to stand on the scaffold and wear the scarlet letter on her chest, they suggest that she have it branded on her forehead or even be put to death.

 

It is to the credit of human nature, that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates.  Hatred, by a gradual and quiet process, will even be transformed to love, unless the change be impeded by a continually new irritation of the original feeling of hostility.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chapter XIII

Shall we do the same to The Edge?

California on the Skids

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Twenty-thousand layoff notices go out Tuesday morning

LOS ANGELES — The state of California — its deficits ballooning, its lawmakers intransigent and its governor apparently free of allies or influence — appears headed off the fiscal rails.

(Source: NY TIMES)

Mathematically, it’s really simple. If people can’t build, they don’t by property, if they don’t buy property, the don’t pay property taxes. If there are no property taxes, the economy hits the rails, basic services, including police, and fire, follow soon thereafter. 

The state, nearly out of cash, has laid off scores of workers and put hundreds more on unpaid furloughs. It has stopped paying counties and issuing income tax refunds and halted thousands of infrastructure projects.

(Source: NY TIMES

In a democracy, what happens to the least of us happens to the most of us.

SINS OF COMMISSION documents several AMERICAN stories that happen to take place in California but could happen anywhere in America… whenever people come smack up against quasijudicial regulatory agencies: Agencies or commissions that make their own rules, enforces the rules they make, and then pass judgment - usually without the hope of appeal, since you’re appealing to the same commission who sentenced you. 

When the time comes for our elected representatives to explain why the state of California, once the 5th largest economy in the world, is being flushed out to sea faster than crap into the Santa Monica Bay, they won’t admit they allowed property rights to erode. The biggest offender, along the coast at least, is the California Coastal Commission.

As California government continued its grinding downshift toward insolvency, lawmakers appeared to be settling in for an overnight stay at the Capitol as they spent a fourth afternoon searching for the last vote needed to span the state budget gap.

(Source: LA TIMES)

California is faced with a projected $42 billion deficit (CNN).

Interesting footnote. A few weeks ago, I was invited to screen SINS OF COMMISSION to an organization in the real estate sector. But as quickly as I was invited, they uninvited me because they didn’t want to be seen as anti-coastal commission - even though members of this group have been hardest hit by the double whammy of the state’s economic crash, and onerous over-regulation by the triple C that is helping to bankrupt the state.

It’s sad to watch. The Golden State — which a decade ago was the booming technology capital of the world — has been done in by two decades of chronic overspending, overregulating and a hyperprogressive tax code that exaggerates the impact on state revenues of economic boom and bust. Total state expenditures have grown to $145 billion in 2008 from $104 billion in 2003 and California now has the worst credit rating in the nation — worse even than Louisiana’s. It also has the nation’s fourth highest unemployment rate of 9.3% (after Michigan, Rhode Island and South Carolina) and the second highest home foreclosure rate (after Nevada).

Roughly 1.4 million more nonimmigrant Americans have left California than entered over the last decade, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council. California is suffering more than most states from the housing bust, but its politicians also showed less spending restraint during the boom.

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

You don’t have to be a physical engineer to know once a foundation collapses, whatever is built on top goes down. That’s why Property rights is considered the “cornerstone” of democracy…. pull that away and poof - viola!

 

California “Natural” Resources Agency - Something Smells Fishy

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Name Change Won’t Alter Resources Agency’s Dark Mission

Big Kudos to Dan Bacher at TRUTHOUT. Dan is a local activist and an editor of The Fish Sniffer, “The No. 1 newspaper in the world dedicated entirely to fishermen.)

As all things environment move centerstage, more corporations and agencies like the California Coastal Commission are going to greenwash and drape themselves in a cloak of green to enable them to commit sins of commission under the guise of sound environmental protection.

The CCC has been doing this for years.

On January 1 The Resources Agency adopted a new name, the California “Natural” Resources Agency, to give the agency a more “green” veneer. 

(Source: Truthout)

Unfortunately, nothing has changed at the agency. A press release from the agency in late December claimed that the name change was adopted to “better reflect its mission.”

“Since 1961, the Resources Agency has been responsible for the safeguarding and stewardship of California’s precious natural resources,” according to the release. “From water and wildlife management and conservation to wildland fire protection, energy, ocean and coastal policy, land stewardship, climate change adaptation, sustainable living, and the promotion of outdoor recreation, the agency oversees most all of the state’s functions designed to protect California’s natural resources.”

In July, Gov. Arnold “Fish Terminator” Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1464 (Maldonado) authorizing the Resources Agency to change its name. “The new Agency logo will remain largely the same and the change will be phased in gradually as new supplies are ordered,” the release stated. “In this way there will be little or no cost to the Agency or any of its departments, boards or commissions (The California Coastal Commission is one of them) save for any replacement costs that would normally be incurred.”

California’s Natural Resources Agency is responsible for the state’s natural resource policies, programs and activities. It has 17,000 employees and oversees 25 departments, commissions, boards and conservancies, including the Department of Fish and Game, Department of Water Resources, CALFED Bay-Delta Program, California Conservation Corps, Department of Boating and Waterways, Department of Conservation, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Department of Parks and Recreation.

(Note: Curious that the article did not mention the CCC in the line up)

However, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for the Resources Agency to adopt a name that truly reflects its REAL primary mission? Based on years covering California fisheries, this mission appears to be engineering the collapse of Central Valley salmon fisheries, driving the California Delta’s pelagic fish populations to the edge of extinction, building a peripheral canal, constructing more dams, slashing funds for salmon and steelhead restoration, and instituting massive closures of public trust fisheries throughout the state’s ocean waters.

Considering all of this, wouldn’t “the Natural Destruction Agency” be a more appropriate name for the agency?

Other potential names for the agency could be

“Bureau of Corporate Greenwashing,”

“Raping of Natural Resources Agency,”

“No More Natural Resources Agency,”

“The Fish Termination Agency,” or the “Water Exports Agency.”

Readers of Dan’s articles have also suggested the “Final Legislative Usurpation of Significant Habitats, FLUSH,” and “The Death Star” as more appropriate names for this agency with such a legacy of environmental destruction behind it.

While the name of the agency has changed, pelagic (open water) fish populations of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta continue to collapse. There is nothing “natural” about this unprecedented and catastrophic species decline.

The delta smelt population has declined to its lowest level ever, according to the latest data from the DFG’s fall midwater trawl survey. The DFG studies the health of these populations by compiling an “index” - a relative measure of abundance. The index declined to 23 in fall 2008, down from the previous low level of 28 in fall 2009.

These fish populations have declined to unprecedented low population levels because of the deplorable water and fishery management policies of the California “Natural” Resources Agency under the Schwarzenegger administration, combined with extremely bad management by the federal government.

In 1976, the California Legislature enacted the California Coastal Act that established a far-reaching coastal protection program and made permanent the California Coastal Commission.  ( Source: California Natural Resources Agency.

The commission is supposed to plan and regulate development and natural resource use along the coast in partnership with local governments and in keeping with the requirements of the Coastal Act. SINS OF COMMISSION reveals the commission’s unsung other mission is to destroy chapparral, sell environmental degredation, obliterate constitutional rights, and cook the books on pollution standards. 

The crisis in Delta fisheries, or in the abundant chaparral that surrounds major California cities will not be solved by changing the agency’s name..but by cleaning house.

 

Something smell fishy to you too?  Help us get the word out.  Hit the Donate Now button on the right.

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 - Reforming the environmental regulatory system

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Reforming the environmental regulatory system is a central theme of SINS OF COMMISSION.

As a filmmaker who has swum upstream against the tide of public perception in California, it is thrilling to hear other voices in support of our central theme - that reforming the environmental regulatory system is way past due.  SINS OF COMMISSION is in alignment with, and at the forefront of, a new progressive, and sound  environmental policy…a policy that  honors both the environment and people’s rights.

-Richard Oshen, filmmaker

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative today released its much anticipated report, “One Coast, One Future: Securing the Health of West Coast Ecosystems and Economies.” The report, requested by 19 elected officials from California, Oregon and Washington State, offers guidance to local, state and federal leaders on how to improve the health of coastal ecosystems and the economies that depend on them through integrated decision making.

“Protecting our oceans and coasts starts at the local level,” said Leon E. Panetta, co-chair of the Joint Initiative and former White House Chief of Staff. “We are pleased to see so much interest in finding solutions to the critical problems facing our oceans and coasts. The Joint Initiative has provided the input that will lead to meaningful ocean policy reform at the state and local level,” Panetta continued.

This information will be critical for protecting human health and safety and the economic vitality and quality of life of coastal communities.  The bolding is mine because the report makes a salient point that The California Coastal Commission refuses to acknowledge, and has refused for over 30 years: People have a right to live…and even prosper….. 

One of the Partnership’s six goals is “a quality of human life that is sustained by a functioning…  ecosystem.” Which seems to be what the California Coastal Commission goes out of its way to ignore, choosing instead, the status quo, cronyism, and environmental degradation.

The Action Agenda lays out initial outcomes and measures for human well-being that include aesthetic values, opportunities for recreation and access, adequate upland and marine resources to sustain tribal treaty rights and needs, thriving natural resource and marine industries, and economic prosperity that is supported by and compatible with ecosystem protection and restoration. The Partnership is currently working to identify specific measures and targets for human well-being.  

Strategic priorities are to work effectively and efficiently across jurisdictions and sectors on priority actions.

This includes planning, implementing and decision-making in an integrated way with an ecosystem perspective, building and sustaining the long-term capacity of partners to effectively and efficiently implement the Action Agenda, and reforming the environmental regulatory system, including aligning regulatory programs. The coordinating structure of the Partnership includes a seven-member, governor-appointed Leadership Council that governs the Partnership and an Ecosystem Coordination Board that advises the Leadership Council on implementation issues.

The Ecosystem Coordination Board includes representatives from federal, state, tribal, county and local governments; each of the action areas; and business and environmental interests.

Conspicuously absent from the report was any reference to or mention of the California Coastal Commission….could it have something to do with reforming the CCC as SINS OF COMMISSION suggests?

TURF WAR!

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
 

Fires Blaze along the coast of California

Wildfires rage in Southern California - NASA

Massive wildfires roaring through California are what many people jave come to expect our future will be.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Experts claim our monster fires are due to everything under the sun…from climate change to greenhouse gas and maybe even the sun itself.

SINS OF COMMISSION suggests there may be another factor no one speaks of,,, and possibly within our control.

Ever wonder why the number of forest fires in the Western U.S. and the amount of acreage burned have increased in intensity?

 

 

The fires are among the worst disasters in California history…

- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger 

Line of fire: Approaching wildfire threatens a subdivision near Los Angeles, California, in 2003. Improved estimates of wildfire hazard could help firefighters focus limited resources on the most potentially dangerous fires.

Line of fire: Approaching wildfire threatens a subdivision in Southern California. Improved estimates of wildfire hazard could help firefighters focus limited resources on the most potentially dangerous fires.

Today Southern California is heavily populated with millions of homes, and these homes are surrounded by large unbroken swaths of protected brush - fuel beds, in fire department lingo. To continue to zealously protect brush without permitting the fire department to modify the denisty is only treating the result - not the cause.

What if we there is a way to trim the chaparral in an environmentally sensitive manner that diminishes the overall flame length thus controls the intensity of the fire - why can’t we do it?  Unless is fire being used as a device to prohibit, restrict or limit home building.

Or is it a turf war between state agencies competing for funds? 


    Portions of this story are excerpted from a series of features on sustainable development by IPS - Inter Press Service and IFEJ - International Federation of Environmental Journalists.

California Coastal Commission - Land Grab?

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Lawyer Ronald Zumbrun recounts one coastal commission land grab scheme thwarted.

 

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The concept of insulating a commission, charged with protecting vast natural resources from the politics of politics, is a good idea.

Unfortunately, this insulated configuration allows abusive agents within the quasi-judicial regulatory agency to usurp abilities beyond its original scope. They grew to create their own laws, judge the legitimacy of the laws they created, and enforce these laws.

They became the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government in one body. Now the commission, armed with absolute power, can do whatever it wants. If the desire for a particular rule comes up, and it didn’t previously exist, they can create the necessary rule, ratify it themselves, and enforce it ruthlessly, free from any encumbrance of rationality.

For instance, in homeowner Kathleen Kenny’s case, for the permit discrepancy on her 741 sq.ft home, a $2.4 million dollar fine was renewed post mortem, and still stands against her surviving mate.



 
 
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