About six years ago, on a fabulously sunny day in Malibu, it became abundantly clear how in the dark I was about coastal development in California.
I stood on the ridge where U2 guitarist David Evans and friends wanted to erect five homes the size of airport terminals, and I was listening to Evans’ high-priced team argue in favor of fouling the natural habitat. To my surprise, a representative of the consulting firm hired by Evans told me his outfit had been arguing their case in meetings with members of the California Coastal Commission.
Wait a minute, I thought.
Is that legal?
It didn’t seem fair to me that an applicant — a...