Yesterday the California Coastal Commission failed to deny the California Department of Parks & Recreation’s (DPR) proposal to charge $8.00 to park at eight locations along the Sonoma County coast.
How was that even possible?
- The State Constitution ensures free public access to the coast.
- Proposition 20, passed in 1972 by California voters—the law that brought the Coastal Commission into existence—requires them to maximize free public access to the Coast.
- Coastal Commission staff presented a lengthy and detailed report recommending denial of DPR’s inadequate proposal.
- The Commission sat through more than six hours of unanimous public opposition. I was there. I spoke.
They did not follow the law.
They did not follow their staff recommendation.
They disregarded the people’s unanimous and fervent opposition to this proposal to limit access to our coast.
They voted, 11-1, to kick the can down the road. There will be more meetings. At some unspecified future date, they’ll bring back this proposal in modified form. If they think we’ll allow them to charge us to visit the beaches that already belong to us, they are seriously underestimating the vigor and tenacity of Sonoma County citizens.
Shame on the Coastal Commission for not following the law and not listening to the people.
Shame on the Governor of California for refusing to adequately fund the parks.
Yesterday was sad day for our so-called “democracy.”
This fight is not over.
Steve Lopez wrote a good article about this meeting for the Los Angeles Times: here.