Mark Stone resigns Coastal Commission seat; Jane Parker on deck to replace him.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
California’s ruggedly inhospitable coastline could look far different today were it not for the state’s powerful, quasi-judicial Coastal Commission, charged with protecting habitat and public access.
The 12-member commission applies the California Coastal Act, casting what’s often the final vote on major developments statewide.
One seat is designated for a Central Coast elected official. County Supervisor Jane Parker is a likely shoe-in come December, according to people familiar with the appointment process.
For one, Parker’s got the blessing of Santa Cruz County Supervisor and current Coastal Commissioner Mark Stone. Stone is asking the Santa Cruz County supes to nominate Parker. Assembly Speaker John Pérez wrote a letter asking local jurisdictions to submit nominations by Nov. 3.
Stone will resign from the Coastal Commission Dec. 1, a move he’s making at Pérez’s request. After handily winning the Assembly District 29 primary with 55 percent of the vote, Stone is poised to move on to Sacramento next year, leaving an open seat.
Stone’s supporting Parker in part because she’s the only one who expressed interest in the job. (Stone also spoke with Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett, but Burnett says he’s focusing on local matters and his family for now.)
Parker and Stone are backing each other’s campaigns this year; Parker has contributed $600 to Stone’s Assembly campaign, and Stone gave $200 to Parker’s re-election bid.
Environmentalists have praised Stone’s voting record on the Coastal Commission. A Sierra Club scorecard gave him 100 and 71 percent, respectively, in 2009 and 2010. The Sierra Club was vocal in urging the Assembly speaker not to re-appoint Monterey County Supervisor Dave Potter after 12 years on the Commission, after his score peaked at 64 percent in 1999 and dropped to its lowest, 13 percent, in 2007.
Potter, who’s running a tight race for a fifth supervisorial term against Marc Del Piero, is not seeking the Coastal Commission seat.
The Sierra Club submitted an enthusiastic letter to Pérez, backing Parker as an appointee. “She’s never wrong,” says Rita Dalessio, conservation chair of the Sierra Club’s Ventana chapter. “Its one thing to be an environmentalist and say, ‘I’m opposed to this project,’ but she really reads everything and [is] so credible.”
Parker says her service as a supervisor speaks to her skill set: “It’s important that we have good people on the Coastal Commission who can understand the objectives of the Coastal Act and can really listen to all sides of an issue or a project.”
Pérez has until Dec. 3 to make an appointment. He’s asked each of three counties – Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Mateo – to nominate a county-level and city-level official for the job. Pérez did not respond to requests for comment by the Weekly’s deadline.
Monterey County mayors nominated Parker and Seaside Mayor Felix Bachofner. Santa Cruz and San Mateo county supervisors and mayors are expected to vote next week.
Bachofner says he’d be supportive of Parker, but as he pushes the Coastal Commission to approve a Local Coastal Plan for Seaside – which gives local jurisdictions authority to set their own policies regarding coastal development – he sees a role for city-level electeds to play on the commission.
“California-wide, there are lots of impediments to economic development,” he says. “Other cities might be having similar procedural problems [in getting Local Coastal Plans approved].”