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Coastal Commission Was Just Doing Its Job

January 05, 2003

Re "Shake-Up at Coastal Commission," Dec. 12:

You state that Coastal Commission Chairwoman Sara Wan "angered" Gov. Gray Davis "by forcing developers to scale back building plans in the Bolsa Chica wetlands in Orange County." That statement is extremely misleading. The November 2000 Coastal Commission action regarding Bolsa Chica was a unanimous vote by the commission to reject Orange County's proposed Local Coastal Program for Bolsa Chica and recommend an alternative program to require that development be consolidated on the upper Bolsa Chica mesa.

This was deemed necessary by the Coastal Commission's staff and experts jointly selected by the commission, the county and the developer, in order to protect the fragile Bolsa Chica wetlands and surrounding environmentally sensitive habitat areas as required by the Coastal Act and prior appellate court mandates. To imply that Wan took some single-handed, unreasonable action is unwarranted.

The action taken at that time was by a 12-0 vote of the commission, including the commissioners considered most "pro-development." I'm sure the governor's office would also deny being "angered," as the governor's appointees fully supported the action taken by the commission. The Coastal Commission is charged with the important task of protecting California's coast by ensuring that all projects approved in the Coastal Zone comply with the Coastal Act.

Wan did a commendable job of providing open and fair hearings for all interested parties, including developers, government agencies and the public. The action taken by the commission in regard to Bolsa Chica was the only one that would comply with the mandates of the Coastal Act and the only one that would protect one of Southern California's largest remaining coastal wetland habitat areas.

Linda Sapiro Moon

President,

Amigos de Bolsa Chica

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