New candidates for Coastal Commission

March 8, 2011

UPDATE: Jan Marx, mayor of San Luis Obispo, and Joe Costello, a member of the Arroyo Grande City Council, were added unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday  to a list of recommended candidates for appointment to the California Coastal Commission.

By Jack McCurdy

San Luis Obispo mayor Jan Marx and Arroyo Grande City Council member Joe Costello are likely to have their names added to those already recommended for appointment to the California Coastal Commission when the Board of Supervisors meets today.

The names go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will appoint one person–either a supervisor or city council member from San Luis Obispo, Ventura or Santa Barbara counties–to represent the south coast area on the Commission, a position that can be very influential in matters of importance to this county as well as the three-county region that come before the Commission.

If the Supervisors add their names to the list, Brown will have three Democrats and one Republican to choose from, and the Republican, Pismo Beach City Council member Marry Ann Reiss, seems a longshot because she already was serving in the position but was removed by Brown about a month ago. She had served as an alternate for former supervisor K.H. “Katcho” Achadjian until he was elected to the state Assembly last November, and then former Arnold Swarzenegger as a lame duck governor appointed her to succeed Achadjian.

Achadjian had the next-to-worst voting record according to a list compiled by environmental organizations in his four years on the Commission, which may be another big negative for Reiss in being his protege.

Her appointment also was tainted by complaints that the process that led to her being recommended for the position was partially hidden from the public, which reportedly  prompted a large number of requests that Brown replace her, which he did.

County Supervisor Bruce Gibson, who represents district two along the coast, and Reiss have already been recommended for appointment to the Commission by the Supervisors, but apparently Marx and Costello did not have the opportunity to submit their names when the Supervisors made those recommendations last month. So they asked that their names be added.

And supervisors chairman Adam Hill submitted an agenda item, which says it provides the opportunity for the board to add “two more names” to fill the vacancy on the Commission from this region.

Gibson and Reiss have also been recommended by the City Selections Committee, which is composed of mayors of cities in the county who also make the same recommendations for appointment to the Commission. They did so unanimously on Feb. 23, even though Marx and Costello appeared and asked for their recommendations, as did Gibson and Reiss. The Morro Bay City Council on Feb. 22 voted 4-1 to recommend Reiss for appointment, even though she is a Republican candidate with a Democratic governor making the appointment and despite her link to Achadjian with his voting record on the Commission.

The letter from Brown’s office to the Supervisors on Jan. 28 requested the names of “at least” one supervisor and one city council member as nominees for appointment to the Commission. His office said the governor has until mid-April to make an appointment to the south central coast seat on the Commission or could choose to start the process over at that that time.

It leaves a vacancy in that south central coast position when the Commission meets in Santa Cruz on Friday, March 11, to consider on its agenda whether to beginhearings on the Morro Bay-Cayucos wastewater treatment plant project, the first step toward possible approval. The two communities are asking the Commission to approve plans to build a new multi-million dollar plant after five years of planning, but the Commission staff has found project to be completely unacceptable and has recommended that it be rejected and sent back to Morro Bay and Cayucos for a complete overall, much like what happened to the Los Osos sewer project on orders of the Coastal Commission.

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Would appreciate some info on competing candidates from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Thanks.

Supervisor Janet Wolf from SB-Brian Brennan from city of Ventura, Jon Sharkey Pt Hueneme