Posted on Categories Land Use, Sonoma CoastTags , ,

Interim chief gets permanent post with California Coastal Commission

Peter Fimrite & Steve Rubinstein, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
The California Coastal Commission named its acting executive director to formally head the agency Friday, exactly one year after firing his predecessor in a controversial ouster that caused a statewide outcry among environmentalists.
Named to the post was Jack Ainsworth, 59, who has worked for the commission for 29 years. Meeting in Newport Beach (Orange County), the commission voted unanimously to appoint Ainsworth, the agency announced in a news release.
“Jack’s depth of understanding of coastal issues, the challenges confronting this agency and his steady leadership over the last year thoroughly impressed us,” said commission chair Dayna Bochco. “We are all looking forward to continuing our work to protect California’s magnificent coastline and ensure access for all.”
Ainsworth’s promotion followed the commission’s decision last Feb. 10, with a 7-to-5 vote, to fire Charles Lester after a heated debate over the long-term mission of the agency. The decision prompted thinly veiled allegations of racism and intolerance to be hurled between commissioners and Lester’s staunchest supporter, the Surfrider Foundation.
Supporters of Lester alleged big-money developers were behind the move. His opponents said Lester’s staff was insufficiently diverse.
Surfrider, an advocacy group created more than 30 years ago to fight coastal development, said the commission pushed out Lester to appease builders and rich movie stars who wanted to construct Malibu mansions.
Read more at: Interim chief gets permanent post with California Coastal Commission – San Francisco Chronicle

Posted on Categories Sonoma Coast, TransportationTags , , ,

Coastal commission opts not to rule on Sonoma Coast beach fee proposal

The decision, which followed a marathon meeting in Santa Rosa packed with hundreds of fee opponents, does little in the near-term to resolve the four-year battle over the fee proposal. California State Parks is seeking to impose day-use fees of up to $8 at eight beach locations, including Bodega Head and Goat Rock.The ultimate outcome could have profound implications on California’s bedrock policies protecting coastal access and the ability of Sacramento to impose new charges for public sites that have long been free to visit.
Several commissioners expressed reservations about many aspects of the state’s plan, in particular that it could restrict coastal access to low-income people. A few commissioners also criticized State Parks officials for pushing the fee plan without enough data to support the proposal and without enough public input.
But commissioners, who wield powerful statewide influence over coastal matters, declined to jettison the fee proposal. Steve Kinsey, a Marin County supervisor and chair of the 12-member commission, promoted the idea of continuing the debate, saying “a denial today doesn’t move the dial.”
Commissioner Dayna Bochco made the motion, which calls on commission staff, State Parks and county officials to meet on the fee issue. The motion directs commission staff to report at the agency’s June meeting whether there is a willingness among the parties to work together.

The board decided to continue the debate over day-use fees at several iconic Sonoma County beaches, to give warring agencies more time to reach consensus.
Read more at: Coastal commission opts not to rule on Sonoma Coast beach fee proposal

Posted on Categories Sonoma CoastTags , , ,

Coastal Commission report urges rejection of proposed State Parks fees on Sonoma Coast 

Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Coastal Commission staff report & agenda material (large file)
Staff members with the California Coastal Commission, in a strongly worded report, have urged the agency’s governing board to deny State Parks’ plans to expand fee collection on the Sonoma Coast, arguing that such fees are unconstitutional and a barrier to beach access, in particular for low-income residents.
The staff report, which sided overwhelmingly with local officials and activists who have opposed the fees, represents the strongest opinion on the matter from within the powerful agency that oversees California’s coast. The agency’s board has a final say on whether the fees can be imposed, though the courts ultimately could be asked to take up the matter.
The recommendation that they be rejected escalates a years-long battle over State Parks’ hotly disputed proposal and sets the stage for what could be a decisive April 13 meeting of the Coastal Commission in Santa Rosa. That meeting was moved recently to the Veteran’s Memorial Building in anticipation of a large crowd.
State Parks is seeking to charge visitors at eight different locations on the Sonoma Coast where currently parking is free. Four of the parking lots are at Goat Rock and two are on Bodega Head. The remaining sites are Shell Beach and Stump Beach.
Read more at: Coastal Commission report urges rejection of proposed State Parks fees on Sonoma Coast | The Press Democrat