Ryan Sundberg often refers to his seat on the California Coastal Commission as a reason to re-elect him as Fifth District Supervisor. However, what he doesn’t tell you is that he has the worst voting record on the current Commission when it comes to coastal access and preservation.
For 20 years, Act Coastal has been issuing an annual report card on how each Commissioner voted on “the most significant permit applications and enforcement actions considered by the Commission.” Act Coastal (a project of the Surfrider Foundation, WILDCOAST, and Environment California) selected 21 votes to score in 2017, of which 16 had “good” conservation outcomes and only five had “bad” ones. The overall average score among the 12 Commissioners during 2017 was 72 percent.
Sundberg was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in March 2017 to fill a seat reserved for a North Coast representative. Since Ryan was not a Commission member for all of 2017, he had fewer votes, of which 5 were judged as “pro-Coast” and 6 were considered “anti-conservation,” giving him an average score of 45 percent. Thus, he voted more than half of the time against coastal conservation and the public interest.
Before Sundberg’s appointment, the seat most recently was filled by Del Norte Supervisor Martha McClure (for 6 years) and Humboldt’s Bonnie Neely (for 12 years), until each lost an election and had to be replaced. Since that seat is reserved for a North Coast representative, a loss by Ryan in the June 5 election does not necessarily mean that Humboldt County would lose a voice on the Coastal Commission. And it could mean that we get someone who better represents the majority of Humboldt County residents when voting on important coastal issues.
Published in Mad River Union May 23, 2018