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Posts Tagged ‘Saldana’

Stop the California Coastal Commission’s attack on coastal families

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

If ever there ever was a time in California to stop the abusive practices of the California Coastal Commission, that time is now.  Two dangerous bills AB 226 and AB 291 are in committee and must be stopped.

AB 226 (RUSKIN) would greatly expand the Coastal Commission’s enforcement authority by allowing the Commission to act as both prosecutor and judge and impose civil penalties and allow the Commission to retain the penalties it assesses to augment its own budget.

Even more sinister, AB 226 creates dangerous motivation for the Commission to seek civil penalties as a way to augment its budget, and would strip alleged violators of due process afforded by the courts.

AB 291 (SALDANA) grants Coastal Commission staff the authority to deny permit applications without a hearing. AB 291 gives Coastal Commission staff the power to halt processing of a permit application if the Commission staff asserts that any violation exists on any property for which a permit is filed.

In other words AB 291 presumes an applicant is”guilty until proven innocent” by giving the Commission staff the ability to refuse to process a coastal development permit application until staff is satisfied that the alleged violation, whether related to the permit application or not, was cured. Families with homes will be prejudiced by arbitrary delays.

If there is one thing the California Coastal Commission does not need it is additional enforcement authority.  30 years of court records clearly shows the CCC abuses the power they already have! The triple c doesn’t need more power ... they need reform… and it is well past time that the California legislature reform the California Coastal Commission.

The following letter explains why-

There are two bills in the California legislature, AB 226 and AB 291, that grant more broad sweeping legal powers to the California Coastal Commission to intimidate citizens and the people he presents in his documentary film project, “Sins of Commission.” I saw it at a showing at a private home. It is a powerful call for reform of the California Coastal Commission, which evidently fears its exposure in the film as an autocratic, appointed board with special powers and no meaningful oversight.

Those of us who support public access to and preservation of the California coast, as I do, may not be aware of the aggregation of powers by the CCC. I witnessed it in action recently, as it attempted to subvert the Brown Act (transparency in government) and as it refused to even read the opposition arguments submitted by an NGO and by 84 citizens who wrote individual letters, before it “permanently voted” to approve the filling of a swimming pool that cost the state nothing and served the handicapped, the chronically ill, children, and the public for over 50 years. I also look down on a private beach club’s two story buildings and tennis courts on the beach across PCH from where we live that were approved by the CCC apparently without meaningful mitigation.

The CCC now uses special legislative powers over a swath of land five miles inland from the coast to further its objectives, in concert with other state agencies and commissions. In so doing, Richard Oshen documents, it legally intimidates and financially breaks private citizens with landholdings inside the designated “coastal zone,” even when they seek rational, small improvements on their properties. He shows how a CCC board member, however, holds property in the zone that is not subject to the same rules. He also presents a powerful indictment of the CCC’s powers over local control by munipalities that would protect against the wildfires we have experienced during an extended drought. Even large cities, such as San Diego, and wealthy towns, such as Malibu–both severely affected by wildfires–have been unable to defend against the CCC powers in concert with other state entities.

These bills need opposition. The CCC needs reform, oversight, to operate according to democratic rules of procedure, and to return to its mandate to protect the coast. Please contact your state representatives and urge them to oppose AB 226 and AB 291. Please circulate this email to conservationists and supporters of private property, local government, and open democracy.

I am circulating this letter in my role as a private citizen, not as a member of any group. As a historian of religions, an environmentalist, and a community development worker, I am supporting Richard Oshen’s film as a private act of conscience. I do not express the views of any group with which I am associated. They are solely my views.

Thank-you,
Jean Rosenfeld

Thank-you, Jean for your kind words.

A now… a little foot tapping music while you’re making that phone call.

Take it away maestro~



 
 
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