A government agency practicing extortion . . . who’d’a thunk it?
In 1987, the California Coastal Commission lost a Supreme Court case about its attempt to demand beach access from property owners in exchange for building permits. One justice said it was practicing extortion.
Nevertheless, the agency still dictates what land owners must do to receive permits — which are required even to move piles of dirt around. In one instance, the unelected Commission ordered that most of an owner’s land be given over to farming. The Pacific Legal Foundation is fighting this insanity in court.
Richard Oshen decided to produce a documentary about the CCC after friends told him how it was interfering with their own property. The agency had even gone so far as to prohibit them from tape recording its inspection of their land.
Oshen spent years conducting interviews. He even managed to film a conversation with CCC head Peter Douglas in which Douglas downplayed the agency’s dictatorial powers. But Reason magazine reports that Douglas now wants to revoke the permission he gave to use that interview. He’s also demanding to see a pre-release version of the movie — either to try to prevent its release or just on general principles of harassing critics of tyranny.
I’ve reported on the commission before. It behaves as a kind of environmentalist mafia operating under color of law — and clearly the CCC is no fan of free speech.
Let’s hope that Douglas fails, Oshen succeeds, and California land owners get a reprieve.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.