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Coastal commissioners who violated meeting laws should cover their own legal fees

Coastal commissioners who violated meeting laws should cover their own legal fees
The sun sets along Malibu's Escondido Beach, accessible via an access pathway mandated by the California Coastal Commission. (Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

To the editor: Let’s be clear: Spotlight On Coastal Corruption, the successful litigant against California Coastal Commission members who violated ex parte meeting laws, also filed a lawsuit to prohibit use of public funds to pay the commissioners’ legal expenses. (“State to pay $1 million for Briggs' legal fees in Coastal Commission lawsuit,” April 5)

All five defendants were found to have violated state law prohibiting coastal commissioners from holding secret meetings with developers without timely and full disclosure of the substance of those meetings. They alone broke the law, and they alone should pay the price.

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Most concerning is that state officials appear to have learned nothing from the two lawsuits. Even though the five defendants lost because they were found to have intentionally violated ex parte laws, the Department of Finance and the Coastal Commission have been working in secret to save the defendants from the consequences of their own wrongdoing.

Spotlight on Coastal Corruption believes that agreement is an illegal gift of public funds and is confident that a judge will agree.

Kathryn Burton, Susan Turney and Gerald Sodomka, San Diego

Burton is president of Spotlight on Coastal Corruption; Turney and Sodomka are members of the group’s board of directors.

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