Letter to the Editor

Words mischaracterized

Former chair, California Coastal CommissionDecember 15, 2013 

I have become aware that my remarks at last January’s Coastal Commission hearing, at which the Coastal Commission denied the permit for the Morro Bay/Cayucos Wastewater Treatment Plant, are being cited in support of an effort to recall Morro Bay’s mayor. I am distressed to see my words mischaracterized so inappropriately.

At the time, I was frustrated that the commission was in the position of having to deny a project that should have been denied by the local government. The newly elected mayor was not to blame but bore the brunt of my frustration because he was representing the city at the hearing. True culpability lay with the former City Council majority and the city’s consultants, who advised the city to press ahead, at great expense to all concerned, with an ill-conceived project.

The commission made a fully informed decision, supported by your sitting mayor. Our staff recommended denial of the permit, and commissioners agreed because the project as designed clearly failed to meet the requirements of the California Coastal Act and Morro Bay’s Local Coastal Program.

The mayor and current City Council should be commended for diligently acting on the strong message the commission sent: Alternative locations for the plant must be identified and thoroughly analyzed before seeking a Coastal Development Permit.

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