First Voting Member From Long Beach City Council Since 1978
George Economides - Publisher
January 15, 2013 – For the first time since 1978, a member of the Long Beach City Council has been appointed to the 12-member California Coastal Commission.
First District Councilman Dr. Robert Garcia, who also serves as the city’s vice mayor, was appointed last week by Darrell Steinberg, president pro Tem of the California Senate.
The commission, formed 40 years ago last November by California voters (Proposition 20), was created to plan for and regulate new development and policies to protect public access to and along the shoreline. Its mission is to, “Protect, conserve, restore, and enhance environmental and human-based resources of the California coast and ocean for environmentally sustainable and prudent use by current and future generations.”
Garcia, who was elected to the city council in 2009 and holds a doctorate in higher education, is on the faculty at the University of Southern California, where he teaches public policy and communications. He holds a masters in communication management from USC and a bachelor’s in communication studies from California State University, Long Beach.
“I am honored to serve the people of California and to begin the important work of protecting the California coast while ensuring public access to this incredible natural resource,” said Garcia in a prepared statement. “The California coast is not only one of the most important assets in our state, but in the country.”
According to its website, “The California Coastal Commission has 12 voting members and 3 non-voting members. Six of the voting members are ‘public members,’ and six are local elected officials who come from specific coastal districts. All voting members are appointed either by the governor, senate rules committee, or the speaker of the assembly; each appoints four commissioners, two public members and two elected officials. Each commissioner may appoint an alternate to serve in his or her absence. The secretaries of the resources agency, the business and transportation agency, and the chair of the California State Lands Commission serve as non-voting members and may appoint a designee to serve in their place.”
The last Long Beach city councilmember to serve on the coastal commission was Russ Rubley in 1978. Rubley, who owned a small manufacturing business, represented North Long Beach on the city council. Former councilmember now-Congressman Alan Lowenthal, and current 2nd District Councilmember Suja Lowenthal have served as coastal commission alternates.