Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California Coastal Commission faces audit

Former California Coastal Commission Executive Director Charles Lester speaks at a meeting of the commission in Morro Bay, Calif. on Feb. 10, 2016. A vote on the dismissal of Lester was the first item on the agenda.
Former California Coastal Commission Executive Director Charles Lester speaks at a meeting of the commission in Morro Bay, Calif. on Feb. 10, 2016. A vote on the dismissal of Lester was the first item on the agenda. AP

The California Coastal Commission has been under a legislative microscope in the months since the agency board’s February vote to fire former head Charles Lester.

A bill to expand lobbying rules to cover people who communicate with commissioners is advancing in the Capitol, as is another measure that would limit private, off-the-record conversations with board members.

The commission will soon get some scrutiny from the executive branch, as well. Gov. Jerry Brown’s Department of Finance plans to audit the commission’s fiscal management and internal controls, a decision made following an emergency $1.45 million general fund loan June 27 to cover the agency’s payroll and other obligations – the second straight year the commission had to turn to the state for help.

Commission officials and the finance department already have talked about the scope of the audit, which is meant to “strengthen fiscal controls to eliminate the need for cash flow loans in future years,” the department wrote to lawmakers last month. The audit’s fiscal portion, focusing on how the commission gets reimbursed by other agencies and related issues, should be complete by December.

Today, the commission will meet in San Diego for the first time since the loan’s approval June 27. The audit and the agency’s cash flow problems are expected to be part of a scheduled presentation on the agency’s budget.

GRADING SCHOOLS: The California State Board of Education will hear public input on a controversial change to how the state measures school performance. The current measure, the Academic Performance Index, was thrown out in June. The ultimate goal will be to develop a system that incorporates a variety of factors other than test scores into assessing schools’ performance that is simple enough for parents to comprehend. The board meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. at 1430 N St. and will be streamed live here.

NATIONAL NAMES: Both presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and current Vice President Joe Biden will be visiting Southern California today. Trump will hold a campaign fundraiser in Rancho Santa Fe at an undisclosed location. Recent reports have shown that Trump still lags behind his opponent Hillary Clinton in fundraising. Biden will speak in San Diego on trade enforcement at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal. Trade has become a high-profile issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. He will then travel to Los Angeles to present an ESPY Award. The awards show begins at 5 p.m.

WATER TALK: Jeffrey Kightlinger with the Metropolican Water District of Southern California will sit down with Sacramento Bee Editorial Page Editor Dan Morain to talk about how Northern and Southern California can cooperate to alleviate the worst of drought symptoms. The Bee Editorial Board has previously opined on the topic, writing that California’s water crisis continues, especially in Southern California. The conversation will take place at 6 p.m. on the third floor of the Bee at 2100 Q St. Admission is $20 for students and daily Bee subscribers and $25 for the general public.

NUMBER TEN: Steve Burns, who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Catina Salarno, in 1979 will have his tenth parole board hearing today beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla. Salarno’s family members will speak at the hearing in favor of keeping Burns incarcerated. Salarno’s mother, Harriet Salarno, started the California Victims United of California, a prominent victims’ rights advocacy group.

Jim Miller of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.

Rachel Cohrs: 916-321-1046, @rachelcohrs

  Comments