sins of commission


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SINS OF COMMISSION - KSCO AM 1080 - Saturday 08-08-09 - 10 AM

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

SINS OF COMMISSION, the first documentary film expose of the California Coastal Commission in its history, takes to the airwaves this weekend on SATURDAY SPECIALKSCO 1080 AM, (Santa Cruz - San Francisco).  MZ, Michael Zwerling, maverick owner of KSCO and KOMY hosts the 2 hour radio show August 8 from 10 AM to 12 PM.

4 and 1/2 years ago, Filmmaker Richard Oshen lived inland and didn’t know anything about the California Coastal Commission. Like most Californians he figured they had something to do with the beaches or the water.

When close friends called him to document an inspection of their land by the coastal commission, he thought he would just show up with a camera, film the inspection for about an hour or so, hand the tape to his friends, and be done.

It didn’t happen that way, says Oshen.  Instead, he stepped into a shadowy world he never knew existed. The California Coastal Zone is like a parallel universe , he says. You think you are still in California, you think you are still in America… but the reality is anything but.

California’s dirty little secret.

Saturday’s show promises to be an eye-opener.

The scary thing about the whole thing is that I have observed the California Coastal Commission treat human beings living along the California coast as enemies of the state.

-Richard Oshen, filmmaker

It has taken this long to get to this point because the Triple C controls the mainstream media covertly or overtly preventing anything critical of them from getting out. Now, for the first time, the people get to hear the other side of the California Coastal Commission story…the side of the story the commission doesn’t want you to know…

This is a very crucial time for California. Two new bills coming down the pike,  AB 226 and AB 291, are very troublesome because they will give a well documented, historically proven, power mad commission… more power.  Does this sounds like a bad idea for the people of California - or what?

For more information about KSCO and Saturday’s show click SATURDAY SPECIAL

A word about how to listen to KSCO live–

Click this link, download a file called kscolive.m3u to your desktop– you should get live feed at that point.

SINS OF COMMISSION needs your support to complete the film, and get it out.

ALL donations are tax deductible when made through the film’s fiscal sponsor the INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY ASSOCIATION, a 501 c3 non profit foundation. Fastest, easiest way to help is to click the “DONATE NOW button” on the side of this page, and you will be whisked away to a secure PAY PAL page set up for us. Fill in the blanks, click “send” and you’ve helped!  You can also send a check to:

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

Please be sure to write  “for: SINS OF COMMISSION” on your check. 

All contribution information is confidential.

Thank you in advance for your support,


Filmmaker Defends First Amendment Rights Against California Coastal Commission

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Filmmaker Richard Oshen’s documentary film SINS OF COMMISSION has been subpoenaed by the primary star of the film, the California Coastal Commission.

The film, the first behind-the-scenes look at decades of alleged government corruption and malfeasance by the highly secretive Commission, features a first time in-depth, on camera interview with Peter Douglas, the Commission’s executive director of 20 plus years, as well as with former Commission members.

The sweep of the subpoena includes “all visual and/or audio recordings…as well as Mr. Oshen’s unpublished “Sins of Commission DVD.”

-David Greene, The First Amendment Project

The filmmaker believes the Commission is determined to stop the release of this film and is doing everything in its power to stop it, and Oshen sees the subpoena as the first step.

It’s a sad commentary for America when a government commission at the heart of an investigative documentary film, can summon a work print and raw footage of the film that they believe is exposing their decisions.  If they have nothing to hide - what are they afraid of?

-Richard Oshen, SINS OF COMMISSION producer/director

Oshen believes that the reporter’s privilege, based on the First Amendment and the Liberty of Speech Clause of the California Constitution, applies to him and all documentary filmmakers, as well as print journalists.

Other courts have found that the reporter’s privilege applies to documentary filmmakers, most notably in Silkwood v. Kerr McGee and the same constitutional privilege of press applies to SINS OF COMMISSION - even though the documentary film lacks a distribution deal or a filmmaker, like Richard Oshen, has not previously produced a documentary film.

The First Amendment Project is defending Mr. Oshen and SINS OF COMMISSION and set forth objections in a letter to the CCC. David Greene, staff attorney and executive director at First Amendment Project says the Supreme Court of the United States recognizes the privilege based on the broad protections for Freedom of the Press, extends to documentary filmmakers.

The litmus test is whether the information sought was obtained during the course of gathering information for dissemination to the public - which Sins of Commission was.

Constitutional protection afforded a documentarian to shield his journalistic work product from subpoenas benefits not only that documentarian, but the public in general.

-David Greene, The First Amendment Project

He added that without these protections, news gatherers of all kinds would be discouraged from investigating, and the public would ultimately suffer by being denied access to important information.

For more information, contact David Greene at The First Amendment Project (510) 208-7744 or Richard Oshen 909 547-6262,

California Coastal Commission expose - KNBC-TV 6PM- Tonight

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

SINS OF COMMISSION filmmaker Richard Oshen talks to the camera tonight 6pm KNBC, Los Angeles TV 4.

People in California need to know the real story, from both sides…what is going on right now, in their name - and what has been going on for decades. 

Richard Oshen, SINS OF COMMISSION, filmmaker

The televised interview follows hot on the heels of a this morning’s interview with Doug McIntyre on KABC 790 AM  TALK RADIO.

It seems to me that the people, all the people need to revisit the California Coastal Commission, which they have not done in over 30 years to see how it can to be restored to “fairness and balance”, a cornerstone of the Coastal Act and our system of government. 

The people can’t do this as it now stands because of the way the commision has been isolated from the electoral process… and…the legislature seems to be unwilling to step in.

Richard Oshen, SINS OF COMMISSION, filmmaker

California Documentary Filmmaker Faces Censorship Challange from California Coastal Commission

Monday, June 8th, 2009



SINS OF COMMISSION, an award winning documentary film by Southern California filmmaker Richard Oshen, is facing legal action by the California Coastal Commission, which has in fact just served Mr. Oshen with a subpoena in order to obtain a copy of the film.

The revealing expose follows ordinary citizens who have come up against the unelected Commission’s autocratic actions wielded, surprisingly, without accountability or oversight.

The California Coastal Commission may try to silence the film because it reveals strong links between California’s increasingly catastrophic wildfires and the Coastal Commission’s prohibition of critical brush clearance.

-Richard Oshen,writer, director, SINS OF COMMISSION

SINS OF COMMISSION examines decades of the Commission’s land use policies and questions how a government body could and, indeed did, unilaterally extend its jurisdiction from 1000 yards landward of the coastline to 5 miles inland.

No matter what your politics, this isn’t America if a quasi-governmental body is going to dictate whether you have the right to see a film. This is a very chilling development, and does not bode well for documentary filmmakers or freedom of speech.

SINS OF COMMISSION is ” a work in progress”. For a governmental body to demand a work print is like asking a journalist for their notes, or an author for a copy of their book before publication.

To think, if the government doesn’t like what the see or read - they could issue an injunction and prevent a story from getting out is scary… very scary.

-Richard Oshen,writer, director SINS OF COMMISSION

Scores of California families and individual landowners have been required to forfeit their constitutional and property rights as a condition for residential development, and in many cases, to avoid arrest and fines reaching the millions.

Help support freedom of speech for all films.

I will vigorously defend SINS OF COMMISSION. This is an out-and-out assault on FREEDOM OF SPEECH and the future of all expose documentary films hangs in the balance.

I urgently need your help. SINS OF COMMISSION is a fiscally sponsored by the International Documentary Association, a 501 c3 non profit organization. Support SINS OF COMMISSION, freedom of speech, documentary film making, and the International Documentary Association all in one fell swoop.

For more information please contact me at:

Thank you,

Richard Oshen

Coastal Commission Expose SINS OF COMMISSION Catches Fire!

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Oshen is no better than Michael Moore or Al Gore.

Comment on INSIDE HOLLLYWOOD EXAMINER by Francis Drouillard March 24, 3:03 PM

Cool. Where do I get this film?

  Comment on INSIDE HOLLLYWOOD EXAMINER by FILM GUY March 25, 11:58 PM  
The battle heats up in response to Ginger Liu’s review of SINS OF COMMISSION… and the film isn’t even out yet - Nor is it likely it will be anytime soon since no film festivals in the state of California will screen it - including the LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL and SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.

The “criminalisation” of general care of one’s own land certainly seems un-American…


People in California must see this film. Sadly, it will take another catastrophic fire before Governor Schwarzenegger, the legislature, and the people take a serious look at the California Coastal Commission.

- Richard Oshen, Filmmaker, SINS OF COMMISSION

I am keenly interested, and intend to forward this to those who also make it their job to inform the public of such eye-opening situations. This is not some minor drab of a documentary, but one of great interest to all parties involved.   

Comment on INSIDE HOLLLYWOOD EXAMINER by BW  March 25, 7:56 AM

See how much fuss 144 words can create at INSIDE HOLLYWOOD EXAMINER

oshen is a wanted criminal; who is running from the law


That accuser is slanderous. Accountability is a door that should swing both ways. The accuser is the one actually crossing the line into the arena of criminal behavior. 

Comment on INSIDE HOLLLYWOOD EXAMINER by pG  March 23, 12:51 PM

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.



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


Monday, November 24th, 2008

Pacific Coast Highway Productions, Inc. announces the pending release of its first feature length documentary film, SINS OF COMMISSION .   

SINS OF COMMISSION is the first documentary film to expose the decades of abuse of power by the California Coastal Commission, and the first documentary film to investigate the possible link between this abuse and the increasing intensity of recent wildfires in California. 

A Sin of Omission is a failure to do what one must do.
A Sin of Commission is to know something is wrong… and do it anyway.


Log Line: 

SINS OF COMMISSION slips behind the veil of secrecy into the invisible world of the California Coastal Commission to reveal how they have corrupted environmentalism and risk people’s lives while fueling California’s wildfires… and why no one does anything about it. 

SINS OF COMMISSION was written, directed, and produced by Richard Oshen for Pacific Coast Highway Productions, Inc. For festival inquiries contact SINS OF COMMISSION directly at



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