Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday Night Music Ska

It’s Still a Mad, Mad California

Friday, January 6, 2017

Thoreau on "Local Democracy" aka "Local Control"



Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond
I am more and more convinced that, with reference to any public question, it is more important to know what the country thinks of it than what the city thinks. The city does not think much. On any moral question, I would rather have the opinion of Boxboro than of Boston and New York put together. When the former speaks, I feel as if somebody had spoken, as if humanity was yet, and a reasonable being had asserted its rights — as if some unprejudiced men among the country's hills had at length turned their attention to the subject, and by a few sensible words redeemed the reputation of the race. When, in some obscure country town, the farmers come together to a special town-meeting, to express their opinion on some subject which is vexing the land, that, I think, is the true Congress, and the most respectable one that is ever assembled in the United States.
—Henry David Thoreau

Sign the Petition to FIX the "SMART" traffic problems. ACTION NEEDED



Please sign the petition below to help stop traffic in downtown San Rafael and highway 101 being made much worse.

When SMART is extended to Larkspur traffic congestion in downtown San Rafael and 101, already officially classified as "unacceptable" (level of service E) is going to get much worse. Not only will the very busy 2nd and 3rd streets will be impacted by trains crossing four times an hour during rush hour but the entire transit center must be relocated so buses will load up on city streets. And there is no plan to mitigate this!

We need the city council to analyze the impact on traffic, and then to truly mitigate it - not make things worse. One may also expect the city to use this opportunity to place additional high density housing near the downtown SMART station.

Please SIGN the petition and most importantly SHARE it via Facebook and email with as many people as you can.

https://www.change.org/p/help-stop-smart-making-san-rafael-and-101-traffic-congestion-worse

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Hey Folks I just got this petition from a new organization formed in San Rafael

SOSr  “Save Our San Rafael” have organized to  insist that a sensible plan be developed
to address the relocation of the Golden Gate  Transit bus center.   City staff is proposing
to actually park buses on city streets “until a final location and $25 MM can be raised to
relocate the center.”    (That’s if $25 MM is all that is needed to relocate a major bus
transit hub.)   
Imagine the traffic congestion in downtown San Rafael with buses parked on the streets
and 9,000 bus transit riders crossing streets to make their transfers. 
And will the congestion be so bad that cars can’t exit Hwy 101 during the peak hours?
That’s a big unknown.    No one has evaluated this question and SOSr is workiing
to ensure that these impacts are considered before anything is done to the transit
center  that will generate gridlock in downtown San Rafael.
If you think parking buses on city streets for an unknown number of years is a really
dumb idea please sign the petition and forward it to everyone.  The more that sign
the clearer the message will be to the City Council of San Rafael, who will soon be
taking up this issue later this month.
Please circulate to your friends in Marin and Sonoma
You can read more and sign the petition here:



The Marin IJ reports on the Marinwood CSD Firefighter lawsuit

Marinwood firefighters file lawsuit claiming overtime pay violations

Fifteen former or current Marinwood firefighters are suing the Marinwood Community Services District, claiming it shorted them on overtime pay.
The lawsuit alleges the district violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by miscalculating the regular pay rate upon which overtime is based.
The firefighters said the district should have included not just hourly pay in its calculation of the regular pay rate, but also other compensation such as special assignment pay, holiday pay, college incentive pay and reimbursement for benefit costs.
The lawsuit, filed Dec. 29 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, does not specify a dollar amount for the alleged underpayments. The suit asks for a court-ordered audit by the Marinwood district to determine proper compensation.
The firefighters are also seeking three years’ back pay plus interest and attorneys’ fees.
The plaintiffs are Ross Anderson, John Bagala, Ryan Brackett, Esteban Cespedes, Cesar Correa, Brad Davenport, Sean Day, Stephen Heine, Keith Larson, John Papanikolaou, Brandon Selvitella, Brian Smith, Jeff Smith, Joel White and Alexander Wilhelm.  See full article HERE.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

White Guilt in a Box

What is your Goal for 2017? French cyclist Robert Marchand sets new record aged 105


French cyclist Robert Marchand sets new record aged 105



4 January 2017
From the sectionEurope




He may not be the fastest cyclist round a velodrome, but he is easily one of the oldest.


Robert Marchand has clocked up 105 years and now a new record for the furthest distance cycled in one hour.


The French cyclist managed 22.547km (14 miles) at the national velodrome, taking the top spot in a new category - for riders over 105.


Mr Marchand already holds the record for those aged over 100 - 26.927km - set in 2012.


He "could have done better", he says, but missed a sign showing 10 minutes to go.


"My legs didn't hurt," he told BFMTV. "My arms hurt but that's because of rheumatism."


To be fair, he had admitted before the event at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome near Paris that breaking his previous hour record would be tough.


"I'm not in such good shape as I was a couple of years back," he told AFP news agency.


"I am not here to be champion. I am here to prove that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike," he said.

Image copyrightAPImage captionEnfin - Robert Marchand completes his record-breaking hour




Hundreds of spectators cheered him on trackside.


Born on 26 November 1911, Mr Marchand puts his fitness down to diet - lots of fruit and vegetables, a little meat, not too much coffee - and an hour a day on the cycling home-trainer.


A prisoner of war in World War Two, he went on to work as a lorry driver and sugarcane planter in Venezuela, and a lumberjack in Canada.


No stranger to sport outside cycling, he competed in gymnastics at national level and has been a boxer.


The current men's hour record is held by the UK's Bradley Wiggins - 54.526km - which he set in June 2015.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

It Never Ends. Novato to make Hamiliton High Density Business District.

Meeting Jan. 5th at 6:30 p.m. 
Hamilton Community Center 
503 S. Palm Drive, Novato


It just never ends. Novato now wants to rezone all of Bel Marin Keys commercial district to 6 stories "for Biomarin." Please come if you can.
Meeting Jan. 5th at 6:30 p.m. At Hamilton Community Center 503 S. Palm Drive to discuss plans to accommodate biotech businesses to revise zoning to allow building heights from 42 feet to 68 feet and to increase in floor area-to -parcel ratios.
These proposed changes will impact the area tremendously as buildings will go higher and higher and the size of buildings will increase in smaller areas.
It will change the industrial park forever! Take a look at the Bio Marin buildings in San Rafael when you drive by on 101 and see what impact these buildings have. Once the zoning is changed more buildings will go higher. If you care about our quality of life, attend the meeting and voice your opinion.

======================

Hamiliton is home to many small "mom and pop" businesses who may be forced to relocate out of Marin due to redevelopment.  Novato is creating a special zoning that will help Bio Marin at the expense of many, many small businesses. It is important to have a diverse economy and not just a few large, public companies which could easily relocate or be acquired leaving the local economy in shambles..

Marinwood Community Services District employees seek judgment regarding overtime


Marinwood Community Services District employees seek judgment regarding overtime


Wadi Reformado Jan. 3, 2017, 12:52pm


SAN FRANCISCO – Current and former employees of a political subdivision allege they are not properly paid for overtime work.

Ross Anderson, John Bagala, Ryan Brackett, et al. filed a complaint on behalf of all others similarly situated individuals on Dec. 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Marinwood Community Services District citing the Fair Labor Standards Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that they worked in excess of their regularly scheduled hours for the defendant without being paid any overtime compensation. The plaintiffs holds Marinwood Community Services District responsible because the defendant allegedly failed to appropriately calculate the applicable regular rate to determine the appropriate overtime pay.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek all compensation due to them, monetary damages, back pay compensation, liquidated damages, interest, all legal fees and any other relief as the court deems just. They are represented by Gregg McLean Adam, D. Paul Bird II and Tylor Dominguez of Messing Adam & Jasmine LLP in San Francisco.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Case number 3:16-cv-07381-LB

Three Reasons to Fix Marinwood CSD Pensions Now



Last month the Marinwood CSD Board voted UNANIMOUSLY to create an IRREVOCABLE trust for post employment benefits for its workers.  This initiative was led by Jeff Naylor, former Marinwood Fire Commissioner.  Izabela Perry, Leah Kleinman Green, Bill Shea and 
Irv Schwartz supported the measure.

While the concept of setting aside additional funds for our employees retirement has merit, the fact is that our current capital needs for the park are being ignored. The maintenance shed is literally falling down into Miller Creek.  Meanwhile, the Marinwood CSD has hired MORE FULL TIME employees who will be entitled to full retirement, increased salaries and commissioned a solar energy project which is stalled without explanation.

Our new general manager, Eric Dreikosen, is refusing to release information to the public.

Nothing is free.  Expect a push for a new property tax measure soon.
   

Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth

Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth

by
Jessica Shankleman and
Chris Martin
January 2, 2017, 4:00 PM PST January 3, 2017, 4:16 AM PST

Global average solar cost may fall below coal within 10 yearsCountries from Saudi Arabia to Mexico planning auctions



A solar farm in the Atacama desert, northern Chile. Photographer: Vladimir Rodas/AFP via Getty Images


Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world. In less than a decade, it’s likely to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere.

In 2016, countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power. Now, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Mexico are planning auctions and tenders for this year, aiming to drop prices even further. Taking advantage: Companies such as Italy’s Enel SpA and Dublin’s Mainstream Renewable Power, who gained experienced in Europe and now seek new markets abroad as subsidies dry up at home.

Since 2009, solar prices are down 62 percent, with every part of the supply chain trimming costs. That’s help cut risk premiums on bank loans, and pushed manufacturing capacity to record levels. By 2025, solar may be cheaper than using coal on average globally, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“These are game-changing numbers, and it’s becoming normal in more and more markets," said Adnan Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency ’s director general, an Abu Dhabi-based intergovernmental group. "Every time you double capacity, you reduce the price by 20 percent.”


Better technology has been key in boosting the industry, from the use of diamond-wire saws that more efficiently cut wafers to better cells that provide more spark from the same amount of sun. It’s also driven by economies of scale and manufacturing experience since the solar boom started more than a decade ago, giving the industry an increasing edge in the competition with fossil fuels.

The average 1 megawatt-plus ground mounted solar system will cost 73 cents a watt by 2025 compared with $1.14 now, a 36 percent drop, said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis for New Energy Finance.

That’s in step with other forecasts.
GTM Research expects some parts of the U.S. Southwest approaching $1 a watt today, and may drop as low as 75 cents in 2021, according to its analyst MJ Shiao.
The U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Lab expects costs of about $1.20 a watt now declining to $1 by 2020. By 2030, current technology will squeeze out most potential savings, said Donald Chung, a senior project leader.
The International Energy Agency expects utility-scale generation costs to fall by another 25 percent on average in the next five years.
The International Renewable Energy Agency anticipates a further drop of 43 percent to 65 percent for solar costs by 2025. That would bring to 84 percent the cumulative decline since 2009.

The solar supply chain is experiencing “a Wal-Mart effect” from higher volumes and lower margins, according to Sami Khoreibi, founder and chief executive officer of Enviromena Power Systems, an Abu Dhabi-based developer.

The speed at which the price of solar will drop below coal varies in each country. Places that import coal or tax polluters with a carbon price, such as Europe and Brazil, will see a crossover in the 2020s, if not before. Countries with large domestic coal reserves such as India and China will probably take longer.
Coal’s Rebuttal

Coal industry officials point out that cost comparisons involving renewables don’t take into account the need to maintain backup supplies that can work when the sun doesn’t shine or wind doesn’t blow. When those other expenses are included, coal looks more economical, even around 2035, said Benjamin Sporton, chief executive officer of the World Coal Association.

“All advanced economies demand full-time electricity,” Sporton said. “Wind and solar can only generate part-time, intermittent electricity. While some renewable technologies have achieved significant cost reductions in recent years, it’s important to look at total system costs.”

Even so, solar’s plunge in price is starting to make the technology a plausible competitor.


In China, the biggest solar market, will see costs falling below coal by 2030, according to New Energy Finance. The country has surpassed Germany as the nation with the most installed solar capacity as the government seeks to increase use to cut carbon emissions and boost home consumption of clean energy. Yet curtailment remains a problem, particularly in sunnier parts of the country as congestion on the grid forces some solar plants to switch off.




Sunbelt countries are leading the way in cutting costs, though there’s more to it than just the weather. The use of auctions to award power-purchase contracts is forcing energy companies to compete with each other to lower costs.

An August auction in Chile yielded a contract for 2.91 cents a kilowatt-hour. In September, a United Arab Emirates auction grabbed headlines with a bid of 2.42 cents a kilowatt-hour. Developers have been emboldened to submit lower bids by expectations that the cost of the technology will continue to fall.

“We’re seeing a new reality where solar is the lowest-cost source of energy, and I don’t see an end in sight in terms of the decline in costs,” said Enviromena’s Khoreibi.


Editor's Note: Marinwood committed to pay upto $.40 center per kilowatt hour for 20 years to a SolEd and SSG2 group for solar power.  That is at least a whopping  FOUR HUNDRED percent of solar costs found with other companies.  A former Marinwood CSD director, Cyane Dandridge was a principle on the original solar consulting contract.  The deal was voted on UNANIMOUSLY by Marinwood CSD in February 2016 and it has had mysterious delays ever since.   

The majority of the construction of the project was completed in September 2016 and it has not been activated since then.  We suspect financing difficulty from SolEd and SSG2 group.   The contractor work was completed by a local resident who performed excellent work but it needs expensive equipment to connect to PGE.

The solar system remains dormant since September 2016 and the general manager, Eric Dreikosen refuses to divulge the reasons why.

The local taxpayers deserve answers and the Marinwood CSD must make certain that the Solar  contract is fulfilled.   The City of St Helena suspended their solar contract in November 2015 with SolEd due to NON PERFORMANCE.  Unfortunately the Marinwood CSD ignored this RED FLAG did not consider other solar providers.




Tuesday, January 3, 2017

LOOKING FORWARD, WITH BETTER CHEER

LOOKING FORWARD, WITH BETTER CHEER

640px-Front_Of_Oklahoma_7-Eleven_With_Icy_Drink_Ad.jpg
Among many urbanites, a certain bunker mentality has already surfaced at key locations within the geography of the city.  Here in Orlando, places like the Stardust Video and Coffee where once there was warmth, one feels coolness in the air, a little less eye contact, briefer conversations, a sharper tone. For many who practice tolerance and inclusiveness, and bend our lives towards mutual sustainability, this was a temporary setback.  But this is no time for recriminations or succumbing to the temptation to snip at one another.  It is a time to look forward, with better cheer.
We must expand our tolerance even further, and recognize that true inclusiveness really means everybody.  At the same time, there is a subtle upswing in other places too.  Just around the corner from Stardust lies three convenience stores, ostensibly gas pump backdrops.  It's time to get to know the coffee choices around here, and expand my horizons a bit.
Lotto, beer, and cigarettes figure big in these places; our small weaknesses are also their small profit. The mood in these colorful, brightly lit stores is upbeat, and it shows how the two different streams of society intermingle within very small distances.  
In the 7-Eleven, Rhonda and Lexi posed for the camera, shoulder to shoulder with big grins on their faces. When asked who made the coffee, Rhonda announced "I did!"  Convenience store coffee is surprisingly good here.  Around the corner, Elizabeth briefed me on her complicated coffee system at the National Food Mart. When I asked her for a picture, she shrugged.  "Yeah, sure," and broke into a sweet, disarming smile.  
For the workers in these stores, there's a coming-out, a sense of "yeah, well, we're cool too," a new posture being tried.  Is it the surprise, the swift triumph of the unhip, that has suddenly put a bounce in their step?  The cashiers of our vices are happier, a little more hopeful, these days, a little less grim and underclass.
It is now the formerly hip Stardust which now feels dour and tragic. Avoidance of eye contact was once a game practiced at the convenience store; now it is practiced at this cluttered countertop.  At one time, the scene at Stardust was open, with shouts of greeting and smiles.  A boisterous and diverse crowd kept a gentle, Haight-Asbury vibe going.  It was improvisational, a do-it-yourself kind of culture. John, a retired engineer, mixed with hippie chicks, artists, writers and techies in for a cup and a jam.  DJs and photographers met to plan out a photo shoot.  
Salesmen sat with their laptops, looking at their sales leads for the day.  In the evening, kids did their geometry homework while older couples sat and drank wine.  An ancient, timeless public house feel was rich and was ripe. This openness is what I love about Stardust, it has a sense of shared ownership and a mutual agreeableness that we are all in it together.  It suits me, as I move in a very wide range between laborers, the very wealthy, plumbers and professors.  
In these days of looking backward, a veil of grimness seems to separate the hip and the cool for now.  Stardust is lately tinged just a bit with the atmosphere of all convenience stores.  It is tinted with the grimness of outcasts.
This grimness of outcasts was once the province of convenience store workers, hanging their heads, ringing up gas sales, condoms, smokes.  They knew their place, and it was pretty far down the class system.  Condemned to shapeless, garish uniforms, convenience store workers were the bottom, especially in the chic neighborhood of Audubon Park.  Everyone on Corrine Drive outranked the convenience store worker.  The only caste lower than convenience store clerk was possibly convenience store night clerk.
Life at the bottom of the social pyramid was bad enough, but especially the Audubon Park social pyramid, what with its ultra-cool scene of independent record stores, custom beer taps, movie production guys, East End Market, for Christ's sake--a hipster convenience store in drag--and, naturally, it was all anchored by Stardust Video and Coffee.  For the convenience store clerk in this neighborhood, a special hell was your lot.  High school diploma, if you're lucky, making nine oh five an hour selling stupid stuff to liberal arts school students, techies wearing glasses that cost six months of your wages, bourgeois bohemians. It rankled. You sucked.
Back at Stardust, the post-election mortification has given way to the next phase of outsider-mentality:  recrimination.  Now, for the first time ever, I hear green-shaming: "Where's your cup today?" after a patron asked for a coffee and committed the green sin of not bringing in his own reusable mug. This never used to happen at Stardust, where they are usually happy to sell you a disposable cup.  The barista, however, got a little dig in that morning, fingering me as the Other.
I do not have to prove that I am not the Other.  That charge just won't stick.  It's a symptom of feeling like an outcast, possibly, to accuse someone, label them as Other, and sulk.  During my day, I think about those all around me in a modern, white-collar office, and how good we all have it.  Still, for many, the sense that things just weren’t good enough probably caused people to send a signal in the voting booth.   
Perhaps here’s a lesson to this election, which has unnerved liberals and hipsters to their core. You cannot turn many, if not most, Americans into “the Other.” This is not the road to inclusiveness; perhaps the "in-crowd" at Stardust never was very inclusive to begin with.  If you want to see real people of color, go into the unhip convenience stores all around.  African-American, Asian-American, and Latina-American.  Inclusiveness means a society where all of our people, even the convenience store clerks, are included.
At Stardust, one could easily convince oneself of being in comfortable surroundings of openness and diversity.  This bubble of comfort sadly diverged from reality.  Outside the bubble, the Lexis and Rhondas and Elizabeths have gotten a break.  They were decidedly NOT in this bubble.  It has finally burst.
So what? I'm taking a break from the hip and the cool, and creating my own hip and cool with people in 7-Eleven, National Food Mart, and Shell.  I frequent these places often, for they have things that I need:  gas, air, vacuum, batteries, and aspirin. Stardust offers nothing practical like that anyway.  I've already introduced myself to a few of the other clerks, and found them to be very nice.  I haven't been subjected to green-shaming, and probably won't be.  They're professional, they make it snappy, and they smile.
It is weak and incorrect to circle the wagons and point fingers at The Other and continue this divisiveness that has caused such a big warfare in our hardened, weary society.  This is the sure road to further isolation and loss.  The secret is that there really are no losers and winners, and to act like there are just makes more. Instead, acting like we are all people with our own aspirations and difficulties is a harder, but far more interesting road to travel.  This is not about populist politics or presidents; rather, it is about the need to re-invent the concept of a society where everyone wins.
Richard Reep is an architect with VOA Associates, Inc. who has designed award-winning urban mixed-use and hospitality projects. His work has been featured domestically and internationally for the last thirty years. An Adjunct Professor for the Environmental and Growth Studies Department at Rollins College, he teaches urban design and sustainable development; he is also president of the Orlando Foundation for Architecture. Reep resides in Winter Park, Florida with his family.

Who should pay fines if coastal commissioners are found guilty of breaking rules? Them or taxpayers?


Who should pay fines if coastal commissioners are found guilty of breaking rules? Them or taxpayers?



The California Coastal Commission listens to comments during a hearing to decide on the Newport Banning Ranch development at Newport City Hall on Sept. 7, 2016. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Steve Lopez



Just when you thought it might not be possible, the California Coastal Commission story has gotten a little more interesting.

As reported by my colleague Dan Weikel, five commissioners have been sued by a San Diego nonprofit called Spotlight on Coastal Corruption.



And people accuse us of never covering good news.

Slapped with a lawsuit were Commissioners Steve Kinsey, the chairman, Wendy Mitchell, Erik Howell, Martha McClure and Mark Vargas.


A forgotten mortgage stimulus program that was passed by Obama to help the middle class Americans reduce their monthly payments by as much as $4,264 each year.See More


They have been accused of collectively violating disclosure laws not a few times, nor a few dozen times.

But 590 times over the last two years.

F-I-V-E H-U-N-D-R-E-D N-I-N-E-T-Y.

Lawsuit seeks millions in fines from 5 coastal commissioners, alleging 590 transparency violations

According to the claim, the commissioners repeatedly failed to file complete, comprehensive, timely reports on their private conversations — known as ex parte communications — with developers and others before voting on projects.

And here’s where it gets really interesting.

The suit was not filed against the California Coastal Commission, which is made up of 12 politically appointed commissioners and more than 100 staff members. It was filed against individual commissioners. If the court rules that there were violations, each could be fined a small fortune, ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than $1 million.

This raises more than a few questions, among them:

Who should pay for commissioners’ legal defense, and if fines are levied against them, who should pick up the tab — the commissioners or the taxpayer-funded Coastal Commission?

Kathryn Burton is one of the San Diego coast watchers who formed Spotlight on Coastal Corruption earlier this year, and she didn’t hesitate for an instant when I put those questions to her Tuesday afternoon.

“Oh, absolutely, the commissioners,” she said. “The public shouldn’t be picking up their legal bills or their fines when they weren’t following the law.”

Burton, a retired city attorney, said there could be no greater deterrent to rule-breaking in the future than to have commissioners on notice that misdeeds will cost them. And if the sued commissioners are found liable, it’s the commission itself — understaffed and underfunded for years — that would receive the fines as dictated by the Coastal Act.

“It’s a win-win,” Burton said.


Let me be clear that no wrongdoing has been proved, and even if it is, civil fines are not mandatory. Weikel reported that commissioners either refused to comment on the lawsuit or could not be reached. A Coastal Commission spokesperson said the matter is being reviewed by the state attorney general’s office.

Burton told me that she has kept an eye on coastal protection issues for years, but stepped up her scrutiny in February. That’s when commissioners whacked Executive Director Charles Lester, a man whose many supporters saw him as a defender of coastal protection rather than a pushover for developers.

Then came the L.A. Times investigations suggesting that some commissioners did not appear to be following the rules on ex parte communications.

Many of their reports on those meetings were only a couple of sentences long, despite the required comprehensive accounts. In one case, Vargas filed the briefest of reports on a meeting with U2 guitarist David Evans in Dublin before voting in favor of Evans’ massive five-mansion compound in Malibu.

When I began asking Vargas for more details about his meeting, he didn’t just refuse to answer. He refused to acknowledge that I was standing two feet away from him, asking questions.

In some cases, rather than write their own reports, commissioners turned in accounts provided by lobbyists. And in other cases, they missed filing deadlines by up to eight months.

“It was pretty eye-opening. They were just not following the law,” said Burton, whose nonprofit hired San Diego lawyer Cory Briggs. He used Times data and additional research to come up with the tallies.
I think they somehow just think they’re bigger than life.— Kathryn Burton, San Diego coast watcher


The lawsuit alleges that Vargas violated reporting requirements 150 times, followed by Kinsey (140), Mitchell (120), Howell (96) and McClure (82).

And those numbers are all based on known meetings. It’s not known whether commissioners failed to report additional meetings, but if this case goes to trial, those kinds of questions are sure to be asked.

“There’s a certain arrogance to it,” Burton said of the commissioners. “I think they somehow just think they’re bigger than life.”

Some commissioners did follow the law, Burton noted. Others, in her opinion, tried to “circumvent the law.”

So Burton and some like-minded San Diegans, including Gerald Sodomka and Susan Turney, formed their nonprofit. The purpose, she said, is to do whatever is possible to bring more transparency to the commission and protect the coast for future generations.

“Corruption might be a strong word,” Burton said, “but if the shoe fits, wear it.”

This lawsuit follows four others that were filed to challenge projects that got approved despite disclosure violations. If the San Diego group prevails on its lawsuit, there’s no telling how many others might follow.


Meanwhile, a minor stir was created this week involving the search for a new executive director. Activists complained that a draft copy of the job posting — subject to change — did not adequately address the need for the new executive director to maintain staff independence from commissioners, so as to base decisions on science and law, not political pressure.

Coast watchers also took issue with a line about how the new boss should have the ability to “instill a culture of customer service within the organization.”

“This is highly objectionable,” former Coastal Commissioner Sara Wan wrote to the staff, arguing that the commission does not have “customers,” and the agency’s job is not to facilitate developers.

The mission, she said, is to make sure any development is consistent with the law, to represent the public’s interest and to protect the coast.


I couldn’t have said it any better.