By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
”There’s been a widespread perception that the coast is safe,“ says Commissioner Christine Desser, former executive director of Earth Day and a Davis appointee. ”But constant vigilance is required.“ She and fellow Davis appointee John Woolsey broke from the move against Wan and in favor of Potter, joining the four Burton appointees, while Davis appointees Cynthia McClain-Hill, an L.A. land-use lawyer, and Gregg Hart, a Santa Barbara city councilman, joined with the four Wesson appointees. Desser, Woolsey and the Burton appointees backed Wan until she determined she could not win a majority. Then they backed Reilly.
With the Davis appointees split, Wesson was in an exposed position with environmentalists. McClain-Hill and others then walked it back in. ”Potter delivered and sustained major blows“ in the fight, explains McClain-Hill. ”It was time to make peace.“
McClain-Hill, who represents giant Comcast Cable and Majestic Realty, insists that there was no issue in particular that prompted her to oppose Wan‘s chairmanship. Rather, it was her approach. ”Sara Wan was identified as an environmental activist,“ says McClain-Hill. ”The commission is supposed to be neutral. It should not be friendly to environmentalists or hostile to developers.“ McClain-Hill takes credit for starting the anti-Wan drumbeat in the last year.
So where does the Coastal Commission go, with feelings bruised from this public debacle? The big Pebble Beach project is coming up soon. And Desser’s term on the Coastal Commission is up in February. Davis has not yet said whether he will keep her on. If she is not reappointed, that will be an unwelcome signal to environmentalists about Davis and the coast.
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