News & Advocacy

Spring California Coastal Commission Update

April 15, 2019
by Alison Rose Jefferson, PhD


The California Coastal Commission adopted a new Environmental Justice Policy for equity and inclusion in the coastal zone at its March meeting. The Governor signed Assembly Bill 2616, sponsored by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, which amends the Coastal Act to give the Commission new authority to specially consider environmental justice, non-discrimination and civic rights law in government code and action, and to appoint an Environmental Justice Commissioner to the Board.

Environmental justice is defined in the Government Code as β€œthe fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” This policy will impact permits for new and rehabilitation housing and other projects in Santa Monica, as well as heritage conservation and historic preservation issues and policy. See for more information.

Coastal Commissioner Effie Turnbull-Sanders (fifth from right) and staff pose with leaders of various organizations following a victory of the California Coastal Commission’s Environmental Justice Policy approval.

During the March meeting, I also worked successfully with the Commissioners in attaching a public history education and public art program as a condition for a permit for the City to build a new soccer field at 4th Street and Pico Boulevard at the Civic Center. This programming will recognize the history of the site, a former neighborhood of African Americans and other marginalized groups, which was razed to build the Civic Center structures between 1940 to 1950.

Updates on this development will be forthcoming.

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