Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

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.

By: Redactor

16 Comments

  1. Since when is common sense based on ignorance of the California Coastal Act or ignorance of the California Coastal Commission’s mandate?

    Since when does common sense rely on the dubious work of a film maker that blames the CCC for California’s wildfires, most of which occur beyond their jurisdiction?

    Since when does common sense depend on distortions and lies in a film inspired by gross violations of the Coastal Act?

    Since when does common sense rely on failing to enforce laws put in place to protect public access to the beach and a healthy coastal ecosystem?

    Mr. Jacob, you’re advocating anarchy not common sense. In so doing, you perptetuate the myth that private property rights reign supreme over all other laws as well as state property rights.

    Your ill-informed opinion provides further evidence that Californian’s cannot trust modern conservatives with their most precious public resource: its 1100-mile coastline and the unique habitats it provides for numerous rare, threatened or endangered plant and animal species.

    The California Coastal Commission is more accessible and more accountable to California citizens than any other regulatory agency. Anyone with common sense would recognize that after attending only one CCC hearing.

  2. […] People with common sense recognize such agencies to be the tyrants that they are. […]

  3. Michael Smith says:

    Francis Drouillard wrote:

    Since when does common sense rely on failing to enforce laws put in place to protect public access to the beach and a healthy coastal ecosystem?

    What makes you think “the public” has any sort of right to “access the beach”?

    There is no such entity as “the public”; all that actually exists are individual human beings — and only individual human beings have rights. So to claim that “the public” has a right to “beach access” is merely to claim that some men have a right to the unauthorized use of the property of other men. Nothing justifies the notion that some men have a right to use other men’s property.

    Nor is there any justification for the notion that some individuals have a right to unilaterally and arbitrarily decide what constitutes a “healthy coastal ecosystem” and thereby prohibit an individual from using his property as he sees fit.

    A man who owns beach property has every right to use it as he sees fit, provided he does not create a physical disturbance (such as polluting the water with a substance harmful to humans) that transcends the boundries of his property and brings physical harm to another human being.

    Only a muddled-headed collectivist thinks in such terms as the notion that the coastline of a state is the automatic property of all the residents of that state. Such thinking is the prerequisite for the elimination of all actual rights and the imposition of totalitarian state rule.

  4. […] Common Sense with Paul Jacob – Brought to You by Citizens in Charge Foundation » Archive » Califor… thisiscommonsense.com/?p=5563 – view page – cached 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… (Read more)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. (Read less) — From the page […]

  5. TQ says:

    I don’t quite understand environmentalists obsession with the fixity of ecosystems and species. “Healthy coastal ecosystem” is completely arbitrary. Some ecologist just decided that the species present in say 1956 constitute a healthy ecosystem and any divergence from that is bad. It isn’t clear why an ecosystem from 56 AD or 19,560 BC or even 2009 isn’t healthy. You can’t really fall back on the maximum diversity is “best” argument since we know from the ecological literature that maximum productivity is at intermediate levels of diversity (and disturbance for that matter). So essentially health is defined as some Simpson or Shannon diversity metric as opposed to productivity or resilience or some other metric.

    So the Delta smelt goes extinct. The ecosystem isn’t going to collapse, it is just going to change. So some other fish will come in and do Delta smelt like things, except without going extinct. What’s the big deal? The same liberal aversion to allowing markets to find optimal solutions leads to the aversion to allowing natural selection to find an optimal solution. In both cases people convince themselves that there is some optimum (which is totally arbitrary) and that it is up to them to keep things at that optimum. So either it’s the “optimum” coastal ecosystem of 1956 or it’s the optimum distribution of wealth. It all speaks to a dangerous obsession with the perfectibility of the world, a narcissistic notion that you know better than anyone else what perfect is, and a totalitarian drive to impose that perfection upon the rest of the world whether it likes it or not. Let it go. The world will be fine if we don’t try to control it. Really. A few irrelevant animals and plants might go extinct. New ones will evolve. The world will go on.

  6. Douglas Murphy says:

    TQ, that is the clearest most cogent comment I have ever read on this subject. Thank you for making my day a little more pleasent. I wish I could state my thoughts as well as you state my thoughts.

  7. 4oceans says:

    Apparently you folks have no understanding of the constitution, the law or the history of our culture. It is also obvious you have never actually read the California Coastal Act nor attended a meeting of the Commission.

    The basis of much our land use and environmental laws in this country is called the Public Trust Doctrine. It is an ancient concept that the PUBLIC has a legal right to access shoreline areas in order to work, hunt, and recreate, among other things. Sorry to break it to you Mr. Smith and Mr. Jacob, but the public does have legal rights of access to the shore and one of the most important functions of the Coastal Commission is to insure a few greedy individuals don’t try to ‘convert’ the public trust into their own private playground.

    As for the ‘farming’ example, PLF has no case whatsoever and that lawsuit will go the way of dozens of others PLF brings: it will lost. PLF constantly encourages people to bring bad cases just to use them to rail against the CCC and raise money for their little outfit and junket.

    In that case, a new landowner purchased a farm. The property is zoned for agriculture in order to insure critically important coastal lands are kept in agriculture so we as humans can eat in the future. Make sense?

    This landowner instead sought to build a mansion, and reserve the right to do more development in the future, thereby putting future agricultural operations and the legal zoning for the property at risk.

    The CCC did the obvious thing: they allowed the house and imposed a condition on the remainder of the farm to insure future agricultural operations.

    Nothing ‘sinister’ nothing outrageous, nothing illegal.

    Go find some other agency to scream at. Here is a suggestion. Investigate PLF and why they never win any of these cases!

  8. Q: What makes you think “the public” has any sort of right to “access the beach”?

    A: Because the State of California owns the beach up to the high tide line, for one.

    Any other questions?

  9. Paul Jacob says:

    Yes, I have another question: Why are you so afraid of a film?

  10. Courtney frieh says:

    as usual, Francis D. Is running his mouth off with no basis in fact or reality. Clearly he has never sought a permit from the CCC or dealt with this commission. The CCC has abused it’s power for decades and has made it impossible for any one but the wealthy to build a home on the coast. The coastal act requires a BALANCING between the environment and other important policies, like low cost coastal access. Mr.Drool and the CCC conveniently ignore this MANDATE of the coastal act to promote their own perverse ideals. It is time to push back against these radicals. The coast is for everyone, not just the rich. Shame on you Francis. You belong in china.

  11. Paul Jacob — Why do you know so little about the California Coastal Act and the Coastal Commission? Better yet, why do you want everyone to know it?

    Courtney Frieh — I’m for enforcement of the Coastal Act, which, among other things, requires maintaining public access to the coast and gives a preference to development that provides low cost visitor serving facilities. So what’s the reason for your low-class hostility?

  12. nmg says:

    In that case, a new landowner purchased a farm. The property is zoned for agriculture in order to insure critically important coastal lands are kept in agriculture so we as humans can eat in the future. Make sense?

    This is where you fall down. Hard. Do you see why?

  13. Dear Paul, Thank you for writing CALIFORNIA CRACKDOWNS. California Coastal Commission misadventures inland have been proven to violate people’s rights. (Nollan v CCC 483 U.S. 825 (1987)) The US SUPREME COURT called the triple-C’s actions an “out-and-out plan of extortion.” Unfortunately, it takes so much money to litigate up to the federal level, few people can. CCC policies have little to do with environmental protection but everything to do with grabbing land and forcing people out of the coast by hook, or by crook, or by fire. The CCC has destroyed and continues to destroy social fabric of California. They’re responsible for the destruction of the family farm and ranching along the coast, crippling vital infrastructure, and destroying the property tax base which helped cripple the state.

    What many don’t realize is this is not just a “coastal” issue. Once a precedent is set in a court, it is used over and over again. Thus, what happens along the California coast will eventually effect you no matter where you live.

    Richard Oshen

  14. deweaver says:

    My only observations of the CCC staff members are related to their understanding of science and biology. None that have claimed to have knowledge in marine biology or related areas have adequate knowledge or analysis capability to be considered for employment in a field where actually knowing what you are doing counts.

    If the scientific staff are just bureaucrats who made PC opinions, the whole CCC must just be an arbitrary institution interested in its own power.

  15. Scott says:

    I agree with Courtney Friegh. The coast is for everyone. That is why the Coastal Act does not allow people to stake their private claim on land zoned for recreation. This rule applies to everyone, whether they are a land owner or a long term renter. The goal is to provide access to people that have not secured their own private slice.

  16. Kegan says:

    My mother has been harassed by the CCC for years, they have requested over 50k in fees and permits from her and she is constantly in ‘violation’ for things like building a small shed by her horse corral. It brings her to tears regularly that they can essentially extort money from her without any kind of oversight or limit. She is going broke and getting near retirement and I can sense that her fight will soon become mine. I am desperate to help her because I have seen how this has ground her down, but I don’t know how. HOw can I help expose the crimes of this psudo-environmentalist agency? They quickly grant permits to large, moneyed and polluting corporations such as Triton but harass my poor old mom relentlessly.

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