Erosion bill addresses crisis

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    As the author of Assembly Bill 947, it is clear to me that there is a great deal of misunderstanding and thus mistrust about the contents of this bill and, more importantly, my intentions in introducing the measure. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify my intent.

    In the recent past, our state and local governments have been asked to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to protect coastal properties and the coastline itself through beach replenishment and coastal protection projects. My purpose in introducing AB 947 was to advance a meaningful discussion to prevent future development from being subject to those financial burdens. The bill was introduced based on the State of California Resource Agency’s thorough draft report to address this crisis. The bill was designed to reflect the broad purposes of that report. I fully expect my bill to evolve as comment and critique of the report creates constructive options to address this serious problem.

    To that end, I have always and do now welcome input regarding AB 947. I have been and continue to be willing to sit down with opponents and proponents of the draft policy to determine if we can come to a reasoned solution to an ongoing problem. The 35th Assembly district, which I represent, is primarily a coastal district covering approximately 80 miles of coastline from the Gaviota Coast through Santa Barbara and western Ventura County. Many of my constituents own or enjoy access to coastal property. I have no intention to undermine their rights to use and enjoy that property; indeed it is my goal to continue to protect them and their investments. I have stated that publicly, both in the Legislature and at home in my district.

    Nonetheless, the problems of coastal erosion are real. Sediment blocked from old, unused dams, poor planning in the past, and other causes have created a problem that has and continues to cost the taxpayers of this states hundreds of millions of dollars. If any of you are old enough to remember (or at least willing to admit it) the early TV commercial detailing the virtues of butter or margarine, we were reminded that “you can’t fool Mother Nature.” That admonition is true today and certainly applies to the issue of coastal erosion. Regardless of what we attempt, Mother Nature wins out in the end. It is time we found the most effective way to acknowledge and work with that reality.

    I look forward to constructive comment from the citizens of California as the Resources Agency’s draft policy continues to be developed.

    Hannah-Beth Jackson

    Assembly Member, 35th District