Bruce Gibson, Mary Ann Reiss want California Coastal Commission seat

Two well-known local political figures are in the running to replace state Assemblyman-elect Katcho Achadjian on the powerful California Coastal Commission, which regulates land use along California’s 1,100-mile coastline.

County Supervisor Bruce Gibson and Pismo Beach Mayor Mary Ann Reiss are seeking to join the commission. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will make the appointment in early December, as soon as Achadjian — who held the commission seat as a San Luis Obispo County supervisor — is sworn in to the state Assembly seat he won earlier this month.

By law, Achadjian cannot hold both positions.

The district seat must be held by an elected official from San Luis Obispo County or other counties in the district. Reiss did not run for re-election as mayor but will sit on the Pismo Beach City Council. Gibson was re-elected to the Board of Supervisors.

The two bring different perspectives.

Gibson, a Democrat, represents San Luis Obispo County’s North Coast on the Board of Supervisors and is well-known for his environmental positions.

Reiss, a real estate agent, is, like Schwarzenegger, a Republican. She has been Achadjian’s alternate on the commission.

Both have long histories of community involvement, and each has support from other elected officials.

Melinda Malone of the governor’s press office declined to say whether other candidates are in the mix. The appointment process, she said, is confidential.

In addition, Malone said, whoever Schwarzenegger appoints serves “at the pleasure of the governor.”

Gov.-elect Jerry Brown could, after he is sworn in, replace Schwarzenegger’s commissioner with one he prefers.

The Coastal Commission was created by voters in 1972. It has 12 voting members and three nonvoting members.