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California Coastal Commission - Why It Is Time For A Change

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

The Sterling Family

The Sterling Family

Dan Sterling has been locked in a decade-long battle to get a permit to build a home on land he purchased in 1997.

No one should ever have to do that.

This is not environmental protection, this is not politics  - this is EXTORTION, state run, government sanctioned - and its time for it to stop in California.

Mr. Sterling went on to say,” it took seven years to get a county permit to construct a 6,456-square-foot home on the land.”

Then the Coastal Commission took his plan under review and ultimately required he agree to turn over all but 10,000 square feet of the property for an agricultural easement, meaning use of the property surrounding his new home would be limited.

Last Friday, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge George Miram ruled the Coastal Commission acted inappropriately. (HMBReview.com)

“While the (Coastal) Commission may have jurisdiction to impose an affirmative agricultural easement under the Local Coastal Plan, the imposition of the easement here constitutes an unconstitutional taking…

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge George Miram

It was clear that the Coastal Commission was violating the Constitution. The Fifth Amendment prohibition on ‘takings’ forbids government from using the building permit process to extort property from the permit applicant. That’s exactly what the commission was trying to do. “It was exploiting the permit process as a chance to try to confiscate property from the Sterlings,”

J. David Breemer, Pacific Legal Foundation

The Sterling Family Children

There will no doubt be an unnecessary, lengthy. time consuming, and costly appeal processes as there was with another famous case Marine Forest Society.

In the spring of 2001, a superior court judge found the Coastal Commission to be unconstitutional under California’s separation-of-powers doctrine.

The judgment was then affirmed unanimously on appeal, with the appellate court finding a separation of powers violation. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 79:281]

The problem with the California Coastal Commission is that the issue of the separation of powers still exists, the problem of no term limits still exists, and the appointment process still exists.

Even though the California Coastal Commission was Jerry-rigged at the last minute to pass muster by the state Supreme Court, until such time as the legislature changes what the California Coastal Commission does and how it does it - the California Coastal Commission will continue its end-run policy around constitutional law.

Quasi-judicial organizations like the California Coastal Commission create serious separation-of-powers concerns, and that those concerns are heightened by the scope of the Coastal Commission’s authority and jurisdiction,along with the powerful interests it regulates and has been demonstrated to promote cronyism and out right extortion.

It is not clear, however, that the appointment structure has actually insulated commissioners from political influence, and in fact, the appointment process has been called the Commission’s greatest flaw. It is precisely in a situation like this that courts should be wary of political self-interest leading legislators to diverge from the procedures that promote good law and help protect individuals from arbitrary policy-making.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [Vol. 79:281]

Dan Sterling's children wait

The Sterling Family wait their fate

Until the structural mechanics of the California Coastal Commission is brought under reform, the commission will continue to abuse its power.

It is unfortunate for all the people of California that the California Coastal Commission does not care about the pain it inflicts on California coastal families.

Perhaps this is the best example of why it it important the  California Coastal Commission foots its own legal bills as proposed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Maybe then, and only then, we will see the end to the California Coastal Commission’s abuse of their authority, stop their over reach of jurisdiction, and end years of ruining people’s lives…for what? A “dedication” of property.

 

Still got a few - and I mean a few - of these stylin’ SINS OF COMMISSION hats, and I will send you one FREE as a personal thank-you gift with any donation over $110.00.  ($10 is Shipping + Handling). You receive both a tax deduction and a hat when you click the donate now button on the upper right.

Court Stops California Coastal Commission

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

David Breemer from Pacific Legal Foudation, one of the people I interviewed for the movie SINS OF COMMISSION, was in the news recently. Here is an article I found on Marketwatch.com.

In a major judicial defeat for the California Coastal Commission, the agency this week was stopped from its drive to tear down a safety and boundary fence on a Torrance couple’s private property. The California Second District Court of Appeal ruled that the Commission had no legal authority to order the dismantling of the fence, which prevented people from climbing unstable bluffs where hikers had died, and which demarcated the boundary between private and public property.

David said this about the ruling:
With this decision, an appellate court put the brakes on an outrageous power abuse by the California Coastal Commission,” said PLF Principal Attorney J. David Breemer. “The Commission was trying to force Torrance homeowners Martin and Janis Burke and their neighbors to tear down a safety and boundary fence on their property that kept hikers from climbing dangerous bluffs where two people have died. The fence has been in place for three decades and had been approved by state and local officials, including the State Lands Commission. As the court said today, the Coastal Commission had no business butting in.
See more of David in the movie trailer at www.sinsofcommission.com



 
 
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