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Coastal Commission Member Aldinger Quits

Times Staff Writer

A California Coastal Commission member said Sunday he had stepped down after neglecting to disclose a decade-old public-intoxication charge and a 1998 temporary restraining order.

In a letter, dated Thursday, Manhattan Beach City Councilman Jim Aldinger told state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) that he was resigning, effective the next day.

Perata had requested Aldinger’s resignation last month, but Aldinger initially refused, saying he inadvertently omitted mention of a 1995 public-intoxication charge and a temporary restraining order that an ex-girlfriend had obtained after their 10-year relationship ended.

“I think there’s a big difference between accidentally forgetting something and lying,” Aldinger said. “I made a mistake; I didn’t do a thorough job researching my background.”

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Perata was unavailable for comment Sunday, as was his spokeswoman, Alicia Dlugosh. When a replacement for Aldinger will be chosen is not known.On Sunday, Aldinger, 44, said he was stepping down because it would be expensive to defend himself against possible legal action seeking to remove him from a post that paid no salary.

As a candidate for the Coastal Commission, Aldinger was asked what turned out to be two crucial questions: Whether he had ever violated the law and whether there was anything in his background that would embarrass him or the Senate if it were to become public.

Aldinger said he wrote “a couple of things I’d done but left off the infraction I got for disturbing the peace.”

This charge, Aldinger said, occurred during a bachelor party in Manhattan Beach when he was sitting on a curb, smoking a cigar. Someone called police saying the party was too noisy, and when police arrived, Aldinger said, he was arrested.

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“I hadn’t really been drinking that much,” said Aldinger. “They didn’t have any real case.”

Aldinger said he omitted mention of the temporary restraining order because he was not embarrassed by it. The order, he said, was later lifted by a judge.

“I’ve done everything with integrity,” Aldinger said. “I’ve done everything aboveboard.”

Background questions are completely appropriate, Aldinger said. “If I’d thought about it, I would have done a background check on myself. That was the mistake I made."In June, to the applause of several conservationists, Aldinger was appointed to the 12-member Coastal Commission.

All voting members are appointed by the governor, Senate Rules Committee or the speaker of the Assembly; each appoints four commissioners, two public members and two elected officials. Perata chairs the Senate Rules Committee. Aldinger was appointed by the Senate Rules Committee.

The Coastal Commission regulates the use of land and water along the state’s 1,150-mile coastline and holds monthly meetings lasting three to five days. Under ordinary circumstances, Aldinger would have served four years.


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