|(May 6, 2021, 5:45 p.m.) -- Following up on a story reported (first again) on LBREPORT.com, we've confirmed that the state Senate Rules Committee has sent letters to the Los Angeles County and Orange County Boards of Supervisors and their respective city selection committees, seeking the names of L.A. and OC Supervisors, Mayors in L.A. and OC cities, and City Councilmembers in LA and OC cities, for nomination to possible appointment to the California Coastal Commission seat (term expiring May 20, 2021) occupied since 2015 by LB Councilman Roberto Uranga,
The letters, dated April 23, 2021 and signed by state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D, San Diego), state that the nominating entity should provide the names of one or more Supervisors and one or more Mayors or City Councilmembers from the Counties of Los Angeles and Orange for nomination to the Coastal Commission appointment.
CA Public Resources Code section 30301.2 provides in pertinent part that within 45 days of receiving the request for nominations, "the board of supervisors and city selection committee of each county within the region shall nominate supervisors, mayors, or city council members who reside in the region from which [the state Senate Rules Committee] shall appoint a replacement." The statute provides that "in regions composed of two counties [the Coastal Comm'n South Coast region consists of L.A. + OC], the board of supervisors and the city selection committee in each county within the region shall each nominate not less than two supervisors and not less than two mayors or city council members" and then immediately forward theikr names to the state Senate Rules Committee that will appoint the replacement.
When the LA and OC Board of Supervisors and respective city selection committee nomination items are eventually agendized, the public will learn which County Supervisors, Mayors and City Councilmembers seek the Coastal Commission appointment.
Once the names of nominated Supervisors, Mayors and Councilmembers are forwarded to Sacramento, the state Senate Rules Committee decides the appointment, and has hisorically done so on Coastal Commission appointments behind closed doors with no public discussion.
None of the Coastal Commission's 12 voting members are elected to their Coastal Commission positions; they're chosen by either by the Governor, the Assembly Speaker or the Senate Rules Committee. Each chooses four commissioners, two "public members" and two elected officials. Uranga's seat is among those occupied by local elected officials, expires on May 20 and isn't term limited. Presumably the state Senate Rules Committee could simply reappoint him...but for whatever reason(s), it appears the state Senate Rules Committee chair (Pro Tem Atkns and part of senior state Senate leadership) appears to want someone else for that position.
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Councilman Uranga was appointed to the Coastal Commission effective March 18, 2015 after Robert Garcia -- who was appointed to the Coastal Commission in January 2013 when he was a voting LB Councilmember -- was surprised to learn he was legally precluded from remaining on the Coastal Commission when he became LB's non-voting Mayor in mid-July 2014.
An attempt was hastily made to change state law to let Garcia remain on the Coastal Commission using a "gut and amend" bill nominally carried by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D, Lakewood-Paramount) but its driving force was widely reported to be then-state Senator Ricardo Lara (D, Long Beach).
After news outlets (including LBREPORT.com) reported the Sacramento maneuver, the bill failed passage (LBREPORT.com coverage here.)
Uranga was subsequently chosen in a closed door meeting of the state Senate Rules Committee. Reporters and the public were instructed to physically leave the Committee meeting room while it discussed and decided its choice.
Councilman Uranga was re-elected to his 7th district Council seat in 2018 and can legally seek a third Council term in 2022 but at this point hasn't filed paperwork to do so.
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