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Stop the California Coastal Commission’s attack on coastal families

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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6 Responses to “Stop the California Coastal Commission’s attack on coastal families”

  1. Francis Drouillard Says:

    Mr. Oshen proves once again that his analytical skills fall short.

    For a better analysis of the proposed legislation, see http://tinyurl.com/ab226fd and http://tinyurl.com/ab226fd.

    AB 226 gives the CCC the power to impose fines for Coastal Act violations, a power that many state agencies use for effective enforcement of the law. AB 226 will relieve the burden on our courts and the agencies charged with enforcing our state laws. Due to the effectiveness of fines, AB 226 will help relieve the backlog of 1300 enforcement cases.

    AB 291 prevents the CCC, with limited exceptions, from processing coastal development permits for a property that is the subject of unresolved Coastal Act violations.

    It should come as no surprise that violators of the Coastal Act and their friends would oppose these bills.

  2. admin Says:

    Francis, thank once again for your comments. I sincerely mean that.

    Please note that I am responding to you in a courteous, professional manner… a manner that was not extended to me on COASTSIDER.

    I should point to SINS OF COMMISSION readers that it is no surprise a professional, meaning “paid” propagandist for the coastal commission would leave such disparaging remarks.

    The fact I am allowing them to post, cheap shots and all, indicates the urgent need for a serious, statewide, meaningful dialog… and a dialog not under the control of the CCC- as the workshop in San Francisco was.

    The people of California are waking up to the wealthy, well-oiled, CCC disinformation machine, and are abundantly aware of precisely what the California Coastal Commission does in reality, masquerading as land-stealing-wolves in sheep’s clothing - and the worst offense? It is under the guise of “protecting the environment.” Something CALIFORNIAN FAMILIES want.

    People including families, farmers, and ranchers, who live in coastal California are not “enemies of the state” as you imply, but rather AMERICAN CITIZENS looking for fair redress in a corrupt, tyrannical, broken system.

    1300 pending enforcement actions???? My gosh, this is an ABSOLUTELY INSANE amount of litigation. How many millions of dollars are going to be wasted?

    There is no earthly reason for the CCC to even remotely have this absurd number of pending enforcement actions, and the best possible proof to everyone that this is an agency that has lost its bearings, is power mad, corrupt - and way out of control.


    By the way, Francis, thank-you for giving the people of California the best reason ever why AB 226 and AB 291 needs to be defeated.

    And yes…SINS OF COMMISSION has a state full of friends
    Richard

  3. TruthTeller Says:

    A word to all - Mr. Francis Drouillard, if you look around the Internet, claims that he’s an engineer but appears to be a full-time apologist for the Coastal Commission, trolling every possible site that might malign his sacred cow, and posting incessantly to soft-pedal their imperialism. His excuse is, “They’re just enforcing the law! Just learn to obey the law! It’s not that hard!” This, of course, assumes that we respect the validity of the Commission… which we don’t. And that we believe “coastal resources” are so important that they justify the abrogation of property rights… which we don’t (people are the most important resource - they take precedence over all else). And that Peter Douglas doesn’t have latitude to just interpret things willy-nilly, which he does. If you confront Mr. Drouillard about his Coastal connections — he’ll wax silent and ignore you. He’s intellectually dishonest about his “friends” and “connections.” Personally, I’d love to know how he’d feel about a citizens’ movement to amend the Coastal Act to deny any interpretation of “development.” If it has a foundation for construction, it’s development. If it doesn’t… it’s not within the CCC jurisdiction. And how about we amend the act to bring the CCC back to the actual coast, just a few feet inland? Wasn’t that what we originally wanted? LIMITED powers? See, these bills aren’t opposed by reckless violators and law-breakers. They’re opposed by Americans who want the right to live their lives without being told by fanatics that they and their constitutional rights are secondary to some idiotic environmental religion that has no basis in our Constitution. I love plants, animals, birds, sea life… but not one of them is more important than my Constitutional rights or my right to use my property as I wish. And Mr. Drouillard has no rebuttal for that. Because he’s a weak-kneed apologist.

  4. Tellem Says:

    AB 226 is nothing more than an opportunity for the CCC to employ bounty hunters to fine people without the chance for “violaters” to have access to the court system. Instead the CCC will be prosecutor, judge and jury for any supposed violation and the fines will be levied against homeowners through liens on their homes. They will use the money to hire even more inspectors. To answer Francis’ comment, we already have Malibu checking on our “violations” so we don’t need the CCC to double ping us.

    I don’t know about you but I don’t have $5000 to $50000 to hand over and therefore the CCC will have the ability to take my house to pay off the fines. This is one of the most onerous bills ever to come down the pike and our legislators representing Malibu blindly voted for it without even a mention to the people who put them in office. It has to die in committee or the governor has to veto it. Just because the Coastal Commission is running out of money does not mean it has to levy fines on the backs of Californians. I say let AB 226 die a slow painful death along with the CCC.

    I think the Commission showed its true colors when after 10 hours of testimony form a lot of good people, it voted WITHOUT DISCUSSION (ergo its mind was made up in advance) to allow SMMC to put overnight camping in our tiny canyons DESPITE FEARS FROM LA COUNTY FIRE AND CALFIRE. Boy what a bunch of complete ignoramuses and Malibu haters.

  5. Environmentalist Says:

    If AB 226 were to become law, it would unconstitutionally empower the Coastal Commission to act as accuser, prosecutor, judge, and executioner - all without sworn testimony, the ability of the accused to cross-examine their accuser(s), or a truly independent decision-maker.

    AB 291 proposes to impose a guilty till proven innocent doctrine, contrary to the California and U.S. Constitutions, by prohibiting a property owner to make an application to the Coastal Commission (or, presumably, even have an administrative third party-appeal from local government acting under its LCP, if Commission staff alleged the property to be somehow in violation and the owner had not acquiesced to its power play.

  6. Francis Drouillard Says:

    Implementation of AB 226 and AB 291 will decrease the cost of enforcing the Coastal Act and result in fewer violations of same. That’s good for taxpayers and good for our coastal ecosytem. Every one wins, even those that are hostile towards the Coastal Commission.

    Tellum — If you don’t own property within the Coastal Zone that has Coastal Act violations, or you’re willing to correct those violations, you won’t have to hand over a dime.

    TruthTeller — You seem to know more about me than the Coastal Act. When can we expect to see my biography published? And, in case you didn’t know, using ad hominen attacks weakens your arguments, as does hiding behind an anonymous name. And continuing to argue that property rights trump all other laws doesn’t work, either. Were that true, private property owners would truly be above the law and would be able to get away with all types of nefarious activities under the cloak of “private property rights.” Sorry, but yours is an extreme point of view.

    Mr. Oshen — I am not responsible for the Coastsider.com comments left by others. As you know, the offending comment was removed by that site’s administrator. Also, I am not a paid propagandist for the CCC or any other organization. But that accusation does offer a clue to the real identity of some of the anonymous posts at my blog, thank you very much. One other thing — I have never stated or implied that property owners within the Coastal Zone are enemies of the state. That is a fabricaiton of your imagination. In fact, I believe a vast majority of property owners within the Coastal Zone fully support the Coastal Act, particularly if their property is developed.

    My criticism is directed towards those few that think they’re above the law, including your friends that inspired the film you’re trying to complete. They haven’t done themselves any favors and they haven’t advanced private property rights, either.

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