Editorial: My fax to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on AB1991


Posted by on Mon, May 19, 2008

Thanks to Kevin Lansing to reminding us to fax our objections on AB1991 to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. I’m not typically a writer-to-legislators. But this morning, I faxed the following message to Chairman Mark Leno.

Dear Chair Leno and Members of the Appropriations Committee:

I urge that the Appropriations Committee reject AB1991.  I publish a news website in coastal San Mateo County. I am writing as a resident of the community affected by AB1991 who has been following the lawsuit and settlement since the beginning.

There are a host of reasons why the bill should be rejected and I urge you especially to consider the detailed and thoughtful objections of the Coastal Commission, the state agency empowered to understand these issues. I want to focus on four particularly egregious problems with the law.


  • AB1991 implements a secretly-negotiated settlement that ignored important public stakeholders. The city of Half Moon Bay and the developer wrote the settlement to divide its advantages between themselves. No stakeholders from the community, Coastal Commission, environmental organizations, or state agencies directly affected by the settlement were consulted.

  • AB1991 is a template for selling exemptions from the law. In exchange for forgiving a debt that Half Moon Bay agreed to take on, a developer will be exempted from a host of local and state environmental, planning, and coastal access laws. AB1991 is a bad law that cannot be written in such a way as to not serve as a model for future legislation.

  • AB1991 arbitrarily exempts a second property with significant environmental issues. Glencree, which was not a part of the original federal judgment, has not been properly assessed for wetlands or endangered species habitat. It was included for no reason other than that the developer wanted it.

  • Half Moon Bay refuses to acknowledge that its actual cost will be significantly less than $18 million. Half Moon Bay will hardly be bankrupt if AB1991 fails. The city will be able to develop as many as 30 or more lots on the property, once it takes possession. Why has the city not provided the Assembly with an independent appraisal of their actual net costs?

Thank you for your consideration, and I hope you will consider the needs of all the citizens of California and not simply the city and developer in this matter.

Barry Parr

I wrote the Leno for Senate Campaign to register my opposition to AB 1991 and seek Mr. Leno’s position on the bill. The response from a staffer was “Mr.Leno opposes the bill as written. Thank you for your inquiry.”

However, some believe that Mark will respond to public pressure and do the right thing.

There’s still time to fax him at 916-319-2113.