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Coastal Commissioners Ready to Serve

The California Coastal Commission swears in three new voting members and selects a new chairwoman. Patch talks to Dayna Bochco, a new commissioner.

The California Coastal Commission now features three new members on the 12-person panel as it begins its three-day June session Wednesday.

The 12-member commission has been overhauled in the past few months with about half of its members being replaced or reappointed.

The panel consists of six elected officials and six members of the public at large and is selected by the governor, the state Senate Rules Committee and the speaker of the state Assembly.

Environmentalist Dayna Bochco of the Pacific Palisades, Del Norte County Supervisor Martha McClure, of Crescent City, and artist Jana Zimmer, of Santa Barbara, were sworn-in as new commissioners.

The commissioners then installed Mary Shallenberger as the new chairwoman and Santa Cruz County Supervisor Mark Stone as the vice chairman.

Bochco, one of the commissioners most familiar with the Southern California area, has many years of experience in the legal and entertainment fields and sits on the Heal the Bay board as well as the Natural Resources Defense Council's Southern California Leadership Council.

State Sen. Darrell Steinberg appointed Bochco to the commission as the replacement for 15-year member Sara Wan, a Malibu resident who had many supporters and critics of her environmental and public access advocacy.

Steinberg's decision not to reappoint Wan was met with applause and disappointment.

Bochco recently spoke with Patch about her appointment and her respect for the California Coastal Act, the 1976 document that permanently established the authority of the commission and set the rules for coastal development and public access in California. Bochco called it "a brilliant piece of legislation."

Hermosa Beach Patch: Did you approach somebody about wanting to be on the Coastal Commission or did your appointment come as a surprise?

Dayna Bochco: A couple years ago, I approached the governor's office and said I would be interested in any environmental seat that came up, whether it be the Coastal Commission or State Parks. In general, I was interested in being helpful to our state. Nothing came up. There was a little talk about the Coastal Conservancy, but nothing came up with that.

I restated my interest once Gov. Brown got in, although I wasn't appointed by him, I was appointed by Sen. Steinberg. So it was through those channels. So it wasn't a surprise to me, although I wasn't following what was going on with the commission, so I didn't know if there were seats open or not. It was nice to learn there was something opening.

Patch: What do you know about the Coastal Commission? Is this a body you are familiar with?

Bochco: Oh certainly. I'm a Californian. I've lived on the coast my whole life. The Coastal Act was one of the more important pieces of legislation. When I was in law school, we certainly studied it. It was a brilliant piece of legislation. And now, so many years later, certainly with how difficult it would be to get any environmental legislation of this magnitude passed, it's really quite wonderful to know it's there.

Patch: What do you think is the purpose of the Coastal Commission?

Bochco: To enforce the Coastal Act and protect the coast. I am an attorney and I've had a lot of experience reading legislation. And this is one of the few pieces of legislation that I've read that is truly clear on its purpose on how it is to be applied. And I'm sure there are many, many cases that we'll encounter that will be difficult to decide, but the Act itself is very well-drafted. And the test by which you are supposed to measure whether something fits within the Act or not is pretty clear.

Patch: This was the first time I've seen a Coastal Commission appointment mentioned in the Hollywood Reporter. Do you think your role will be scrutinized more because you have a name that is known outside of politics (Dayna Bochco is wife of famed television producer Steven Bochco)?

Bochco: I doubt it, seriously.

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