State to Hold Hearing on Reforming BCDC

In February, a California lawmaker introduced a bill recommending targeted reforms to the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, or BCDC. On Wednesday, bill AB 2809 — which was introduced by Assemblymember Kevin Mullin — will be up for discussion in Sacramento. The public is encouraged to participate (please see below for links to the hearing).

In 2018, Mullin led a bipartisan effort to audit the BCDC. Last year, the Auditor of the State of California found that the “BCDC has failed to perform key responsibilities . . . to protect the San Francisco Bay and the Suisun Marsh.”

This tug boat became a symbol of the BCDC’s neglect in protecting San Francisco Bay and its backlog of enforcement cases  “In April 2013, the US Coast Guard contacted the commission to report an abandoned tugboat in the commission’s jurisdiction. Later that year, the commission elected to close the case with no action and without addressing the Coast Guard’s concerns.”
© 2020 Auditor of the State of California

Last week, the BCDC voted to “oppose unless amended AB 2809 due to its lack of a funding stream,” the commission said on their website. Bob Wilson, the co-founder of the SF Bay Stewardship Alliance, a group that’s been working to reform the BCDC, said, “The State of California is facing a $50 billion budget deficit. [BCDC] has had assurances that [AB 2809] would not cut their budget.” Wilson added that the BCDC has been reluctant to embrace reforms suggested as a result of the audit.

AB 2809 will require within the next fiscal year “That the commission create and implement procedures to provide managerial review of staff decisions in enforcement cases, timelines for resolving enforcement cases, and a penalty matrix for assessing fines and civil penalties.” The bill would also require the BCDC to complete a review of the Suisun Marsh Preservation Act of 1977 by July 1, 2021.

Finally, AB 2809 would prohibit the BCDC from using money from the Bay Fill Clean-Up and Abatement Fund — a coffer built in part from violation fees levied against permit holders — to pay for the commission’s staff salaries or enforcement actions. The fund is meant to be used for “removing bay fill, resource enhancement, or performing any other remedial cleanup or abatement actions,” according to the bill.

“We just think the BCDC needs to change leadership and adopt a different method of governance,” Wilson said.

If you’d like to comment, you can send letters to Assemblymember Mullin’s office here. If you’d like to listen to Wednesday, May 13’s hearing, go to www.assembly.ca.gov, then scroll down to “Daily Schedule” on the bottom right-hand corner, then click on “View Live Stream.” Assemblymember Mullin’s office told us there will be opportunities for the public to comment.

5 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Kevin Parker 3 months ago

    In all the back and forth about BCDC we often forget that the “C” and “D” are for “Conservation” and “Development.” Having been to numerous BCDC meetings their focus is always Enforcement and More Budget for Enforcement. Rarely is there any conversation about Conservation and never any about Development. The State Auditor made it clear that, after decades without any oversight, BCDC is way off course, following an out of date chart, and the skipper is literally and figuratively out of his depth. Please support AB 2809.

    • Avatar
      David James 3 months ago

      Yes, any “D” seems anathema to the BCDC. For example, the City of Sausalito would like to put the bronze mermaid statue (currently sitting incongruously by the Shell Station) on the water maybe by the Spinnaker or at the new Dunphy Park. One of the obstacles to the perfectly sensible proposal is BCDC permitting.

    • Avatar
      E Salt, Esq 3 months ago

      Umm, I culd swear the mermaid is on a rock right off the sidewalk about halfway between the Trident and Sally Stanford’s ?

  2. Avatar
    Ken Brinkley 3 months ago

    It’s time to give the BCDC the BOOT and start over !

  3. Avatar
    Lawrence D. Murray 3 months ago

    I have a few comments about BCDC and their enforcement… would love to testify to that before the Senate… disgusting… happy to explain to anyone who might listen…

    Larry Murray
    415 240 2382

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