|Description|| The March hearing of the Coastal Commission was heavily anticipated, as it was the first hearing since the upset in February resulting in the dismissal of Dr. Charles Lester. That action, still unanswered for, fueled a press conference that kicked off the 3-day hearing in Santa Monica. The frustration and calls for a responsible and transparent Commission ran over from the press conference to the public comment period, during which time public and a Commissioner alike spoke emotionally out of turn.
Trying to move the hearing forward, Chair Kinsey ended the morning's public comment before all the speakers had their turn and reallocated time to continue comment to the end of the day. After this, the next heated topic of discussion surrounded the appointment of an interim Executive Director and discussion regarding the impending search for a new Executive Director – one of the Commissioners who had voted to fire the Executive Director expressed surprise when she heard how much time and public dollars will have to be invested to hire a new ED.
After this, some degree of order returned and items such as the proposed resident-only public parking of a Rancho Palos Verdes neighborhood were discussed. In this case, it was a vote happily in favor of public access that resulted.
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|Amending Clause to Interim Executive Director Appointment|| As well vocalized by many public speakers at the March Coastal Commission hearing, deciding upon an interim Executive Director is not a position that the public desired. Virtually all in attendance reiterated what they asked of the Coastal Commission in February: Give us Dr. Lester. Unfortunately, that is not an option.
According to optimistic Commissioners, the search for a new Executive Director is projected to take at least six months. In the meantime, as articulated by Commissioner Bochco, it is critical that Commission Staff feel supported and that there is stability provided to ensure that work carries on. As a result, Chair Steve Kinsey, Vice-Chair Bochco nominated Senior Deputy Director Jack Ainsworth to act as Interim Executive Director while the search is underway. This was strongly supported by Commissioner Carole Groom and many members of the public.
However, Commissioner Roberto Uranga felt that having Mr. Ainsworth as interim director could have negative effects on the hiring process, “…having someone on an interim basis who would also be an applicant would be a hindrance… in encouraging people to apply.” He offered an amending motion that would require Mr. Ainsworth to step down from the position of acting Executive Director if he chose to apply in order to not discourage people from applying to the position.
|Rancho Palos Verdes Permit Only Parking||An issue of convenience for street residents or access for all, this appeal was filed because the locally approved development of permit only parking for Channelview Court was found to be inconsistent with both the Local Coastal Program and Chapter 3 policies of the Coastal Act. A case where residents of the street worked with the City of Rancho Palos Verdes to change the public street parking to resident permit only, such a move would have had significant impacts to public access to the local public resources. Fortunately between public comment given in support of maintaining public parking as well as Commissioners also seeing through to the heart of the issue – public access – resulted in a unanimous vote to deny the CDP.|