Kuehl Calls Out Coastal Commission



Unhappy with recent decisions by the California Coastal Commission to limit public access at Broad Beach and sign off on a five- house compound proposed by U2 guitarist David ‘The Edge’ Evans, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has added her voice to those accusing some commissioners of “drifting” from a commitment to uphold their mandate.

The Coastal Commission is considering dismissing Executive Director Charles Lester and has scheduled a public hearing on the matter for Feb. 10 in Morro Bay.

Calling Lester a “strong environmental steward,” Kuehl questioned the motives of the commissioners. “This move is widely seen by those concerned with protecting California’s coastline as part of a larger attempt on the part of some members of the commission to weaken enforcement of the Coastal Act,”  Kuehl said in a motion for the Board of Supervisors. Saying the commission had increasingly allowed development out of conformance with its mandate, Kuehl urged her colleagues to send a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, state legislative leaders and each Coastal Commissioner asking them to retain Lester and to “recommit themselves to protecting California’s coastline and beaches for the public.”

The Coastal Commission is governed by 12 voting and three non-voting members, each appointed by either the governor, the speaker of the Assembly or the Senate Rules Committee.

Commissioner Chair Steve Kinsey, in comments to the The Point Reyes Light, said the move followed a performance review in December and was not motivated by development issues.

“There is understandable fear that this is being driven by developers wanting to undermine the Coastal Act, but the reality is more complicated,” Kinsey told the coastal community newspaper.

Several commissioners have complained about Lester’s leadership, citing projects that have been unnecessarily delayed and poor management, Capitol Weekly reported. A spokeswoman for the Coastal Commission said that as of today, roughly 14,000 pieces of correspondence had been received on the matter and two of them called for Lester’s dismissal.

– from CNS