Rescue Our Waterfront and Building A Better Redondo filed an appeal today with the California State Supreme Court. It asks to overturn a lower-court ruling undermining the California Coastal Act and weakening citizen-led ballot initiatives.
If this ruling were left unchallenged it would allow cities to approve construction projects in the coastal zone without approval from the California Coastal Commission. In an ironic twist, this case originates from Redondo Beach, which was the epicenter of overdevelopment along our coastline decades ago, and the reason the California Coastal Act and Coastal Commission were created.
For the past 3 years the City of Redondo Beach has endured 5 lawsuits from real-estate developer CenterCal Properties. One of the most absurd was a lawsuit against the city for allowing citizen-led Measure C to be put on the ballot. From the beginning, the city was doing a poor job defending Measure C and the will of the residents. At one point, after mounting public criticism, Measure C proponents Wayne Craig and Martin Holmes, and Building a Better Redondo, were asked by the City Attorney if they wanted to intervene in the case. They agreed to, and the court agreed as well, stating “interveners have demonstrated that their interests in defending Measure C are not adequately protected by the city.”
“We took on the effort to defend the voter-supported Measure C, help the city win the lawsuit, and prevent residents from having to pay $15 Million to developer CenterCal for absolutely nothing” said Rescue Our Waterfront President Wayne Craig. Craig also stated “At personal expense, our attorney, environmental law expert Frank Angel, helped the city prevail in 2 out of the 4 key issues in court. For that, all the thanks we got from Redondo Beach City Attorney Mike Webb was a motion to the court to deny our attorney’s legal expenses.” Legal experts stated this action was unheard of, as the expenses paid would be from CenterCal, not the city of Redondo Beach. It is unconscionable for the city attorney to ask for intervener help, then aid the party suing the City in not trying to recover the intervener legal fees for the very help he solicited!
We are not sure of the reason, but it may be animosity from a City Attorney who has lost prior cases in court to attorney Frank Angel. Perhaps City Attorney Mike Webb should instead reflect on why he didn’t more vehemently urge the city council to wait to vote on the CenterCal shopping mall until after the vote on Measure C. If no vote by the City Council on the mall had occurred prior to the 2017 election, it would have eliminated the basis for CenterCal’s lawsuits and eliminated the $15 million city liability. A simple delay of a few months requested by the City Attorney of the City Council would have saved Redondo Beach residents millions of dollars, possibly tens of millions. There was no good reason to rush this vote.
City Attorney Webb should also consider how making a more vigorous defense in this case could have resulted in a more positive ruling not requiring us to once again defend Redondo. Instead we are now left with a ruling that must be appealed to preserve the California Coastal Act at our personal expense.
If Rescue Our Waterfront is successful in this appeal, it will preserve the California Coastal Act, and finally end this $15M lawsuit nightmare against Redondo Beach residents.
Rescue our Waterfront is currently building a statewide coalition, collaborating with the California Coastal Commission, major environmental groups and activists.
ROW needs your help to fund the legal fees for this effort to protect the California Coastal Act, so please donate Here
Paid for by Rescue Our Waterfront PAC #1387229