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Posts Tagged ‘Santa Barbara’

California Coastal Curmudgeons Torpedo Floatopia

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Kids have been going to the beach at spring break as long as there have been kids in colleges in America. Each new generation is labeled worse than all the others - but a situation unfolding in Santa Barbara right now takes the cake.

What the California Coastal Commission and the City of Santa Barbara are doing is an anathema to public safety and possibly unconstitutional by abridging the people’s right to peaceful assembly.

Authorities say they plan to close access points to popular beaches near the University of California, Santa Barbara  (SF Chronicle)

The entire mind set: setting up barricades and deploying armed police, keeping kids off the beach is just the kind of provocation that creates bad situations people regret later, and rather that keep the peace is exactly how situations that could have been prevented get extreme.. Look at the quote below -

Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lt. Brian Olmstead said the county is “planning for the extreme”. There will be barricades at all accesses, there will be deputies stationed at all accesses and there will be [deputies] out on the water,” (Daily Nexus)

Why not plan for the best?

The county’s decision to blockade I.V. beach access points and patrol waters on Saturday is extreme - and borders on a violation of our rights.

Even worse than a one-day beach closure, the Sheriff’s Dept. has stated that it will consider blocking beach access beyond this weekend, as it deems necessary. This kind of heavy-handed, preemptive police presence sets a dangerous precedent - where is the limit?

For a plan supposedly intended to promote safety, this blockade is shockingly short-sighted. Just as controlling a symptom does not cure the disease, blocking students from official beach access points will not stop them from drinking to excess if that’s what they want to do. Realistically, it won’t even keep them off the beach-determined drunks can slide down the cliffs, a far more dangerous alternative to the stairs.

If the county’s real goal here is to protect students and the environment, there is a better solution. Instead of wasting thousands of dollars maintaining barricades and patrolling the surf, officers could staff standard checkpoints. By acting in such a forceful manner, based only on hypothetical misconduct, the county and police department are violating the spirit (if not the letter, through a series of lucky loopholes) of California law that guarantees public beach access.

(Daily Nexus)

The people have a right to utilize public resources no matter what. Period. Why didn’t the City of Santa Barbara organize the event to Country Standards way in advance?  What a failure on the city’s part.

Not surprisingly, The California Coastal Commission, the self-professed champions of beach access for all,  is also failing to insure coastal access to the beach.

If people gain access to the beach, they will be subject to citations and arrests. Olmstead also said there will be an increased deputy presence throughout I.V. and strict enforcement for those who find an alternate way onto the beach. (Daily Nexus)

Whose beach is it any way?

If you say it’s the people’s beach, then the people ought to be able to go to the beach.

However, if people become intoxicated, act-out inappropriately, carry glass bottles, piss on flora or fauna, park improperly, drive recklessly - then Hawaii 5-0 their ass and “Book ‘em, Danno! That’s ostensibly why laws were created, but to resort to heavy handed police policies and using enforcement agencies because elected ones failed the people steers us ever further away from the the concept of Americans able to live freely in America.

There are much bigger challenges facing this future generation of college kids.

Going to the beach should not be one of them.


Monday, January 18th, 2010

The fate of public lands cannot be decided in contracts negotiated behind closed doors.

Controller John Chiang,  Lands Commission member

I’ve been looking for a way to demonstrate what I call the new eco-industrial complex while raising awareness about whole-scale corruption in the “name of the environment” then I read this little Dusey about a secret agreement between an oil company and a California environmental group, thank-you Calbuzz, and the pieces fit neatly into place.

It seems there is some kind of a secret pact between Huston based oil company PXP and Environmental Defense Center (EDC).

EDC has been prominent in the decades-long fight against offshore drilling in California according to Calbuzz.

Wait a second.

EDC, a prominent environmental group, has been publicly eschewing off-shore drilling but privately endorsing PXP’s application for lease to slant drill into state waters, from an existing platform under federal jurisdiction, more than three miles offshore.

It is shameful that an oil company got an environmental group - in this case Environmental Defense Center to do its bidding for YEARS for a piddly 100k… peanuts compared to the billions PXP is going to make.

PXP and EDC said they recently incorporated amendments to the agreement to address criticisms raised at the initial State Lands Commission hearing by strengthening written assurances that the promised benefits of the agreement will materialize.


In one fell swoop EDC has not only tarnished environmental groups and raises the pay-for-play question, but has trashed the street cred of the State Lands Commission, and all the other agencies under them. This revelation raises some very uncomfortable questions - similar to the ones I raise in SINS OF COMMISSION that demand rigorous investigation and appropriate action.

SINS OF COMMISSION reveals that for decades the California Coastal Commission, an agency of state, engages in environmental degradation in exchange for a dedication of land or an easement of property.

Now it seems this deal-making behind closed doors is “business as usual.” - despite claims of transparency. If recent scandal-ridden history has taught us anything…this is just the tip of theiceberg.

…it is not unusual for environmental groups to keep private the legal agreements or settlements it makes with corporations applying for permits or leases before public agencies.

Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Center

If it is a private deal that is one thing… but oil leases are not generally considered private….oil leases are a public resource.

If permission is given, this would be the first lease granted by the state since Union Oil’s disastrous 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill - an oil spill that lead to vociferous public outrage- an outrage that needs voice now right here in California.

Read more at Calbuzz:

California Coastal Commission - Burns them out again

Friday, May 8th, 2009

They have to burn, they will burn,” said Coast Commission spokeswoman Sarah Christie.

State rules protecting maritime chaparral place homeowner’s lives at risk

California Families who have long bristled at the immense authority of the California Coastal Commission, contend that state rules protecting maritime chaparral have placed homeowners at risk and exacerbated the fire danger.

Although the commission flatly rejects that assertion, ( of course they would)  SINS OF COMMISSION thinks not- as this 2008 interview reveals -

Chaparral thrives up and down the coast- from Southern California up to Mendocino County-and is what the fire department calls fuel beds for fires.

Problem is maritime chaparral is designated by California Coastal Commission as “environmentally sensitive habitat” and protected by law,theoretically because “it is susceptible to disturbance or degradation by human activities” -  but the State Fire Marshal is responsible for the public’s safety.

Who is in charge? The California Coastal Commission…. or the state Fire Marshal?

Did the California Coastal Commission say endangered? Sensitive? Susceptible to disturbance? we think not.

It is estimated the so called “sensitive” shrub blankets 1.3 million acres across the state, or more. Others, including an expert from the [California] State Department of Fish and Game and those who have analyzed the issue for the Coastal Commission - meaning paid to say, believe it is closer to 20,000 acres but that it may appear far more widespread because other varieties of plants are mixed in.

Whatever the acreage, California Coastal Families say the commission’s chaparral-protection rule blocks them from taking even basic precautions against wildfires, such as cutting a defensive perimeter around their homes, or from remodeling or expanding structures on their property.

( Source: Capitol Weekly)

The statement means that “people will have their land effectively condemned based upon the personal opinion of one person, the expert the county or commission requires them to hire to do a biological assessment of their property as part of the permit process.

The commission emphatically denies that its regulations contribute to the fire danger, and notes that the state generally defers to local fire agencies in emergencies on questions of local property protection. But many homeowners who were forced to evacuate and huddle with neighbors aren’t buying that at all: The chaparral, they believe, contributed to the lightning-sparked Big Sur fires, which …destroyed 20 homes and charred at least 72,000 acres.

The central message here for us is that the maritime chaparral, like the San Diego coast sage shrub, are not just fire-prone, they are fire-dependent. They have evolved over a millennium to require fire to regenerate. They have to burn, they will burn,” said Coast Commission spokeswoman Sarah Christie.

( Source: Capitol Weekly)

SINS OF COMMISSION vehemently disagrees, and firefighters like Mr. Franklin concur.

Are you burnt out from all of these fires? And the season is just beginning.

Tired of spending billions of YOUR dollars to fight fires that shouldn’t be in the first place?

Help us get the film out to the people, the media and the legislators.

Donate now through our fiscal sponsors the International Documentary Association a 501 c3 non profit foundation and receive a tax deduction .

Save California.  Save the Coast.  Save your homes.

California Coastal Commission burns more Californians out

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

If you’ve been following my blogs, you know I’ve continually addressed wildfires and public safety with the simple question:

“What are we going to do in 2009 that is different from 2008, and 2007?

The answer seems to be nothing, because the California Coastal Commission still prohibits brush management in the coastal zone in  large areas under their control, and as long as they do there… will be huge fires.

That’s the plan- that’s their goal.

My theory is that the California Coastal Commission wants Californians out of the California Coastal Zone - just ask the folks at Laswon’s Landing.

Any school kid knows: Action speak louder than words.

And if the California Coastal Commission can’t regulate California families out,  bankrupt them, or force them out,  as I say in the film… “they rock on their heels and wait” - knowing they’ve created a system of brush mis-management guaranteed to burn them out.

I’ve said so for years. I’ve said it in the documentary film SINS OF COMMISSION, and I’m saying it again now. Scott Franklin, a retired LA COUNTY fire officer is saying it - but no one can hear us, because there seems to be a concerted effort to block our message -  no film festival in the state of California will screen SINS OF COMMISSION.

The only one responsible for fire safety under the constitution of California is the state fire marshal, not these bozos.

-Richard Oshen, Director- SINS OF COMMISSION

How a land regulatory agency usurped that authority is beyond me… that’s a different discussion for other people called legislators - but its high time we take from them what was never supposed to be theirs.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Overnight helicopter water drops and calming wind helped crews Wednesday hold off a wildfire that forced the evacuation of 1,200 homes.

Some 2,000 homes were threatened by the 400-acre fire north of the city that portended an early start to California’s annual wildfire siege.

Less than six months ago, a wind-driven, 2,000-acre blaze destroyed more than 200 homes in Santa Barbara and neighboring Montecito.

(Source: Yahoo)

Why doesn’t California have an early warning monitoring system for thermal build-up like they do for Tsunamis or Earthquakes?

I’ll tell you why.

3 words: all begin with “c”

California Coastal Commission

The California Coastal Commission won’t allow it.

By the way, this kind of system can be used in any fire hazard zone in US,  Australia - or anyplace else.

We have the tools and the technology.


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