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Toward Coastal Preservation

August 29, 1986

Since the California Coastal Commission was created in 1972 to manage the state's 1,072-mile coastline, developers and environmentalists have struggled to control it.

The battle is raging again over whether to reappoint or replace Leo King, a Baldwin Hills city councilman whose term expired last Jan. 25. King, who was appointed to serve as city council representative for local elective government in Orange and Los Angeles counties, is opposed by some conservationists. They are urging state Senate President Pro Tem David Roberti (D-Los Angeles) to use his appointment authority to replace King with a more conservation-minded member, which they claim would swing the balance of power away from the commission's pro-development majority to one that is more environmentally oriented.

Appointive powers to the 12-seat Coastal Commission are divided equally between the governor, Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) and Roberti, the Senate leader.

Partisan and local politics have also been factors in commission appointments, and there has not been an Orange County resident on the commission since 1981.

The traditional approach to commissions with power to regulate is to appoint members representing the gamut of political and ideological beliefs. But the Coastal Commission is not your traditional regulator. It was created by the people of California. Proposition 20, which won overwhelming voter approval in 1972, says that the "permanent protection of the remaining natural and scenic resources of the coastal zone is a paramount concern to present and future residents," and that it is necessary to "preserve its ecological balance" and "prevent its further deterioration and destruction."

That's a clear mandate for a balanced coastline, not necessarily a balanced commission, and for the appointment of people dedicated above allto preserving the coastal environment and its irreplaceable resources.

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