Supervisor Deane Dana's letter (Aug. 10 in response to the criticism by State Sen. Gary K. Hart (D-Santa Barbara) and others of Los Angeles County for its Malibu land-use policies misses the point.
The Board of Supervisors, fueled by large contributions, has ignored the primary role of Malibu as a recreational haven and is marching to the demands of those who could not care less about the overriding public interest.
Within the recent past, the county has supported onshore oil drilling in Malibu, the leveling of a mountain ridge and the filling of a canyon to facilitate the expansion of Pepperdine University and intense development at the entry to disaster-prone Topanga Canyon and along the Mulholland Highway.
The county has failed to learn from its planning disasters of the past, which resulted in substantial cost to the taxpayers from tort liability law suits and subsidized disaster loans.
Dana criticizes the process following by the Coastal Commission in its review of the county's proposed local coastal plan. He suggests that the commission adopted recommendations that the county had not had time to consider. In fact, the recommendations adopted have been aired in various forms for several years. The problem is that the Board of Supervisors has been deaf to such recommendations because the supervisors were confident that they could conduct business as usual.
Dana is correct when he says that "the legacy of environmental protection we leave to our children is no less important than leaving a legacy of faith and confidence in our public institutions." Perhaps the county can help restore that faith and confidence by divorcing campaign contributions from the county's planning policies and no longer entertaining or lobbying coastal commissioners at taxpayer expense.
MARSHALL B. GROSSMAN
Grossman is a member of the California Coastal Commission.