Friday, September 14, 2012
Most land use decisions are made locally, but our governmental system presumes that basic directions about land use policy come from state legislation. State legislation, for instance, is what protects our coast. The Coastal Act, with its protective policies for coastal resources, and with its protection for public access to the coast, is what prevents local governments from doing what they used to do; namely, giving private developers the right to fill in wetlands, and to pave over farmland, and to shut out the public from our coast and beaches, as proposed private developments got local government approval.
Well, get ready. Proposition 31 on the November ballot would amend the California Constitution, to provide loopholes for local governments to disregard the Coastal Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, and other state legislation. Proposition 31 is opposed by environmental organizations because it would have massively negative impacts on the California environment. Proposition 31 presents itself as a “good government” measure, but it is not clear that letting local governments ignore state environmental standards, and other state laws, will have a lot of “good government” impact.
Proposition 31 is sponsored by a group called California Forward, and is backed by billionaire Nicolas Berggruen. You can read up on Proposition 31 by checking the links at kusp.org/landuse.