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South Bay Gets a Seat on Coastal Commission

June 24, 2005|Sara Lin | Times Staff Writer

A Laguna Beach councilwoman once hailed as an environmental crusader was not reappointed to the California Coastal Commission this week after heavy lobbying by conservation groups that wanted a stronger advocate on the panel. Appointed in her place Wednesday was Manhattan Beach Councilman Jim Aldinger, a move welcomed by several conservationists.

Toni Iseman was a much-lauded appointment in 2003 when she was named to the state agency that oversees development on the 1,100-mile coast.

But her support among environmentalists faded rapidly after several controversial votes. Iseman's term expired in May, and she had hoped the Senate Rules Committee, headed by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland), would reappoint her to a seat reserved for an elected official.

Several conservationists welcomed Aldinger's appointment.

"We know that Jim has protection of the coast and ocean at heart. He's a bright guy," said Joe Geever of the Surfrider Foundation, an environmental nonprofit group based in San Clemente.

Although most of Los Angeles is built out, Geever said, "the few remaining areas are ... of heightened concern in the Los Angeles area. The dunes in Playa Del Rey area, Palos Verdes, access problems in Malibu. It's nice to have somebody from that area who's got intimate knowledge of those concerns."

Perata reappointed Mary K. Shallenberger to one of the commission's at-large seats reserved for a member of the public. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) is expected to reappoint Dave Potter of Monterey, but has called for a list of nominees to replace outgoing Scott Peters of San Diego, who is stepping down.

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