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.