Authors: Luke Wake & Paul J. Beard II
The California Coastal Commission's abuses of power and violations of property rights have gotten it into a lot of trouble over the years—and into a lot of litigation. Luckily for the Commission, as it stands now, it doesn't have to draw from its own budget to file or defend lawsuits; the California Attorney General represents the Coastal Commission with "general fund" monies. With no repercussions to its funding, the Coastal Commission can freely and creatively test the limits of its powers, at the expense of the Attorney General and the State's more pressing concerns.
But a proposal by the Governor is making its way through the Legislature that would change all that. The idea is to allow the Attorney General to seek reimbursement from the California Coastal Commission for all cases it litigates on the agency's behalf. The proposal would free the Attorney General to pursue cases more deserving of its limited resources, and it would force the Coastal Commission to be more attentive to the scope of its powers and the rights of property owners in the coastal zone.
Not surprisingly, the Coastal Commission is panicking at the prospect of losing funds for its lawsuits. And radical environmentalist Coastal Commissioner, Sara Wan, is crying foul. Commissioner Wan has issued a public statement calling the proposal "one of the most serious threats to the continued viability of California’s coastal protection program" and urging citizens to voice their opposition. Her statement asks Californians to call Attorney General Jerry Brown and Senator Mark DeSaulnier (Chair of the Budget Subcommittee 4) and demand that they withdraw their support for the proposal, so that the Commission can maintain near limitless access to the Attorney General's budget.
Wan's public appeal even includes model letters to send to the Attorney General and Senator DeSaulnier, which lament the fact that the Commission might have to be more careful in choosing its battles against property owners. And, in a testament to the tenacity of PLF's Coastal Land Rights Project, one of the model letters explicitly refers to Pacific Legal Foundation as a formidable threat to the continued viability of the Coastal Commission's work. The anti-property-rights lobby knows that we are looking out for you and your rights!