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The California Coastal Commission (CCC) is an unelected body that overrides the elected governments of coastal counties and cities on issues of land use and property rights. As we recently noted, the powerful CCC is moving into animal management, trying to leverage SeaWorld into killing off its orca shows. As Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee observes, this is hardly the CCC’s only power surge.
San Diego County is attempting to establish a landfill in Gregory Canyon. The inland project is not in CCC jurisdiction but that does not disturb the unelected commissioners. They claim that since the landfill could affect the San Luis Rey River, which flows to the sea, the CCC should play a role in the permitting process. If the CCC can pull this off, Walters says, “its authority could expand to almost the entire state.” Since everything west of the Sierra flows into the sea, “the expansion of a ski resort 7,000 feet high in the mountains could theoretically affect the flow and quality of water in the coastal zone, so its opponents could ask the Coastal Commission to intervene under its jurisdictional theory in the Gregory Canyon case.”
Known for zealotry and Mafia-style corruption – commissioner Mark Nathanson served five years for bribery – the CCC shows how government progressively becomes more intrusive, more expensive, and less responsive to the people. A responsible, accountable government would eliminate the Coastal Commission at the first opportunity. The voters, taxpayers and duly elected governments of coastal counties and cities are entirely capable of overseeing land-use and environmental concerns. The city of San Diego and San Diego County are fully capable of dealing with SeaWorld expansion and the Gregory Canyon landfill.