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Bad Government Makes Waves

Monday December 7th, 2015   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:01am PST   •  

coop_comm_200x200The California Coastal Commission (CCC) is an unelected body of regulatory zealots 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. Now the CCC is expanding into sports management and gender quotas.

At Mavericks, on the California coast just north of Pillar Point Harbor near Half Moon Bay, the waves break huge in the winter. For more than 15 years, surfers have held a big-wave competition there, but as Samantha Weigel of the Daily Journal notes this year “was the first time organizers were required to obtain a permit from the Coastal Commission.” As Kristin Bender of the Associated Press observes, the CCC granted a permit but told organizers, “they better have a plan for including women if they want a permit to hold the event next year.” Commissioner Mark Vargas told reporters, “there ought to be some sort of consideration for equal opportunity or at least transparency for their selection process to ensure there is no discrimination.” As organizers explained, women can participate in the competition. Women have surfed Mavericks before but no woman has ever made the top 24 in the competition. A push for women to have a heat of their own led to the Coastal Commission demand. Do it our way, the unelected CCC says in effect, or no permit. This is hardly the CCC’s only power surge.

As we noted, the unelected Commission is claiming jurisdiction over inland projects such as landfills on the grounds that rivers flow through the coastal region en route to the ocean. As Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee warned, this means the Commission could expand to the nearly entire state. In reality, elected governments are entirely capable of handling their land use and environmental affairs. SeaWorld is capable of managing its own shows and the Mavericks organizers can run their event all by themselves. A responsible, accountable government would eliminate the Coastal Commission at the first opportunity.

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December 2015