Saturday, March 9, 2013

Another California Bureaucratic Nightmare

Coyote Blog provides a guest post from Gregg Stevens, a horrifying example of the bureaucratic, Kafkaesque nightmare that is California.

I used to think there wasn’t much a hole in the ground could do. The hole could get bigger, or it could get smaller. And that’s about it. But I’ve recently learned that a hole in the ground can not only suck an enormous amount of money, time and energy from a fellow, it can drive him to the edge of madness as well.

I run a small campground on a river in northern California, and one winter day a big old fir tree blew over into the water. It’s fairly common for trees to fall here on the heavily wooded, storm-battered Mendocino Coast. But this particular tree was a bit different than most. For it fell under the benevolent gaze of the California Coastal Commission.

The Coastal Commission came into being in the 1970’s as part of the Coastal Act, a law enacted primarily to stop the construction of a nuclear power plant at Bodega Bay. In retrospect, stopping this project was probably a good thing. For they have since discovered that building a nuke plant on Bodega Head may have been unwise, what with the San Andreas fault running directly beneath it and all.
But like all commissions, boards, bureaus and departments in California, the Coastal Commission soon grew like some weird bureaucratic bacteria culture into something far beyond their original charter. So instead of only reviewing construction projects west of Highway1, they now rule vast stretches of the state reaching miles inland. They are forever overruling the plans of counties and cities, and they have become a real thorn in the side of homeowners throughout the state. And right at the bull’s-eye of their target group are commercial property owners.

As part of my job I try to stay abreast of the continuous changes in the countless pages of codes and regulations that affect our business. So I knew that on this river, once a tree hits the water it is considered a salmon habitat. And if you want to remove it, it must be extensively permitted first. Permitted California-style.

Read the rest and if your blood is not boiling bu the end, you must be a Democrat.

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