City Council Wants to ‘Kill’ Bill
• AB 226 Would Give the Coastal Commission Power to Impose Civil Penalties for Violations
BY BILL KOENEKER
BY BILL KOENEKER
Although it was not on the agenda, the Malibu City Council this week discussed proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 226, that would allow the California Coastal Commission to impose civil penalties for violations of the Coastal Act.
The council had been prodded to do something after Norm Haynie brought the matter up. “The Coastal Commission can impose penalties from $5000 to $50,000 for violations,” Haynie said, adding that the bill would allow the coastal agency to impose such fines without the matter going through court.
A synopsis of AB 226 indicates that it would give the Coastal Commission the same authority that various other state environmental protection agencies now possess to impose administrative penalties on individuals found to be violating the Coastal Act, after the matter was the subject of a public hearing before the commission.
“Surprisingly, right now the Coastal Commission is quite unique among many regulatory agencies in its inability to utilize administrative penalties to improve enforcement efforts,” the synopsis states.
“We are aware of AB 226,” said City Manager Jim Thorsen. “We have talked to our lobbyist to try to slow it down or about stopping it. It is generally supported along party lines.”
The bill, which passed the Assembly and is in committee in the Senate, is also opposed by businesses, construction and real estate companies.
The author, Assemblymember Ira Ruskin. who represents the 21st Assembly District, contends the administrative enforcement authority will reduce litigation costs and enhance environmental resource protection within the coastal zone.
Councilmember Sharon Barovsky suggested that residents call their assembly and senate representatives and “tell them how you feel. It is pretty onerous.”
“It is pretty scary,” said Mayor Andy Stern. “My neighbors are alerting legislators and the governor.”