Water and Blood in the Golden State

A new California Coastal Commission staff report rejects approval of the Poseidon Water desalination plant in Huntington Beach, the California Globe reports, “potentially depriving Southern California of a major future source of fresh water.” 

Arid California desperately needs new water sources, but the people don’t get to make this call. Neither do their elected representatives. The California Coastal Commission decides, and there is a backstory here people everywhere should know. 

The Santa Barbara oil spill in January 1969 prompted environmental activist Peter Douglas to author the 1972 Proposition 20, which created a temporary 15-member commission to devise policies aimed at protecting coastal ecosystems. Douglas went on to author the California Coastal Act of 1976, which made the commission permanent.

The following year, Douglas became deputy director of the agency he had conceived and in 1985 became the California Coastal Commission’s executive director. His reign lasted more than 25 years and Douglas and his fellow commissioners never once had to face the voters.

The unelected commission overrode scores of elected city and county governments on land-use issues. Douglas ran roughshod over property rights, and on his watch, the CCC combined regulatory zealotry with high-level corruption. Commissioner Mark Nathanson, for example, extorted payments from Hollywood celebrities and others seeking coastal building permits.

It bothered Douglas that state courts sometimes had the temerity to rule against the CCC, so Douglas pushed for the power to levy fines directly. Despite concern from the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, in 2012 the CCC gained the power to bypass the courts and levy fines directly. 

In 2019, the commission fined a seaside Ritz-Carlton hotel $1.6 million, for alleged failure “to display signs informing the public that beaches are free and open to anyone.” The CCC transferred $1 million of the fine to “a commission fund that provides signs, trails, stairs and other amenities to help the public use state beaches.” For all but the willfully blind, this is taxation without representation. 

According to the Globe, Poseidon Energy has spent some $100 million to get the Huntington Beach desalination plant in place. The highly scrutinized project would provide 50 million gallons to arid Southern California and help end the state’s water crisis. 

The staff of the unelected commission, apparently unaware of the need for tradeoffs, cites environmental problems and the appointed commissioners rarely vote against the staff. Meanwhile, as the May 12 final commission vote awaits, California’s elected representatives have also rejected a measure addressing public safety. 

False-documented illegal David Mora, protected from immigration authorities by state law, murdered his three daughters and their adult chaperone. That prompted Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin), to author Assembly Bill 1708, to repeal the state’s sanctuary law, fatuously titled the California Values Act. 

Democrats killed Kiley’s measure in a 5-2 committee vote last week. California will continue to protect violent criminal illegals such as Gustavo Perez Arriaga, also known as Paulo Virgen Mendoza. In late 2019, the gang-affiliated Mexican national gunned down police officer Ronil “Ron” Singh, a legal immigrant from Fiji. 

Thousands of police officers and community members showed up for Singh’s funeral but governor-elect Gavin Newsom was a no-show and failed even to condemn the murder as “gun violence.” California protects illegal aliens, even the criminals among them, for a reason. 

When illegals get their driver’s licenses, the Department of Motor Vehicles automatically registers them to vote. The “motor voter” program has produced more than 1 million “new” voters. State Democrats reward the illegal voters with in-state tuition, health care, and other benefits. 

An imported electorate needs permanent protection from deportation. For Democrats, the murder of police officers and innocent children is an acceptable tradeoff. On the other hand, when it comes to the basic need of water, environmental trade-offs are not acceptable. Californians who need the water have no say in the matter. 

In the Golden State, unelected bureaucrats override the rights of the people and obstruct their most basic needs. The state’s ruling class privileges and protects illegal aliens, but remains indifferent to the lives and safety of citizens, legal residents, and police officers. 

This is the model Democrats want for the entire country. In the meantime, to paraphrase Lincoln Steffens, Californians have seen the future and it irks. 

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

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