Press Release: Speaker Atkins releases bill requiring lobbying transparency at Coastal Commission

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For immediate release

February 17, 2016

CONTACT:
Serge Dedina, WiLDCOAST, serge@wildcoast.net, 619.606.0537
Susan Jordon, California Coastal Protection Network, sjordan@coastaladvocates.com, 805-637-3037

Speaker Atkins releases bill requiring lobbying transparency at Coastal Commission

Sacramento, CA – In the wake of the controversial vote to oust Executive Director Charles Lester last week, Speaker Toni Atkins has released a bill designed to increase transparency and accountability at the California Coastal Commission and reduce the influence of special interests.  The Commission reviews projects worth billions of dollars.  Yet, for decades, lobbyists have been able to woo Commissioners without the public’s knowledge of how much these lobbyists are paid or by whom.  The bill is co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Stone and Levine.

Atkins was clearly troubled by the Commission’s decision to terminate Dr. Lester, who was widely regarded as a fair and competent public servant. Following hours of public testimony at the February 10 hearing, the Commission chose to retire to closed session, despite the advice of legal counsel that they could deliberate in public. Following the 7-5 vote to fire Lester, Atkins tweeted, “Let me apologize to the public. I truly thought my appointees would be better stewards of the coast.”

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Keep California’s Coastline… California!

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I am riding north along the blessed California coastline on an Amtrak train bound for SLO. The bustle is happily out of reach as we whiz by crammed intersections and the afternoon I-5 slog. Open space fills the absence of noise. There is no better way to experience the continuity of the California coastline than on the train. You get to see the glittering line-ups of Church and Trestles; retirees calmly sliding along weekday peelers. You can stare out the window at emerald wetlands and flocks of gulls on the exposed cobbles of an afternoon low tide.

California’s coastal zone governance via the Coastal Commission has largely enabled this opportunity. It is a shame they weren’t around before 1972. I day dream of a Solana Beach without the country’s most armored cliff-line…and a Dana Point with one of the state’s best point breaks. I didn’t get to experience those things and time travel does not exist yet without reconfiguring my anatomic structure so I must accept the baseline that is. Fortunately that includes still a darn nice place to live and surf.

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