State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson is taking a skeptical wait-and-see approach towards a handful of amendments forcibly added to a bill she introduced to prevent members of the California Coastal Commission from being privately lobbied by individuals with a financial interest in large coastal development projects.
Jackson’s bill — introduced in the wake of statewide controversy over the access enjoyed by private lobbyists to Coastal Commission members — has been the target of several amendments that Jackson worries may not be in keeping with the original intent of her bill. One amendment would allow developers and their agents to meet privately with coastal commissioners during on-site visits, for example. Others would require telephone or video access to any such meetings. And another would allow elected government officials to meet privately with coastal commissioners if they are acting in their capacity as elected officials.
Jackson first saw the fine print of these amendments early this week. “I am concerned several of them may have departed from the intent and purpose of this bill,” she said. Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee concluded Jackson’s bill would require the hiring of addition Coastal Commission staff — at a cost of $900,000 — to fill the breach because direct private communication with the commissioners has been curtailed. Jackson argued unsuccessfully that this estimate was greatly exaggerated.