New Times / Breaking News Story
Pismo's Howell appointed to Coastal Commission
By RHYS HEYDEN
Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Pismo Beach City Councilman Erik Howell to the California Coastal Commission's vacant South Central Coast seat on Feb. 21, putting an end to months of political jockeying.
Brown's office and Howell both confirmed the appointment to New Times.
The commission's South Central Coast seat, which had been held by former Ventura City Councilman Brian Brennan since April 2011, must be held by an elected official from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, or Ventura counties. Brennan chose not to run for re-election on his City Council in November 2013, putting the seat up for grabs.
The last SLO County politician to serve on the Coastal Commission before Howell's appointment was Pismo Beach City Councilwoman Mary Ann Reiss. Reiss held the South Central Coast seat for a brief two months in early 2011 before she was dismissed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Reiss had been nominated by former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the waning days of his administration.
Aside from Howell, there were four nominees for the seat.
Howell and Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson were nominated from San Luis Obispo County.
Goleta Mayor Michael T. Bennett was the sole Santa Barbara County nominee.
Oxnard City Councilwoman Carmen Ramirez and Port Hueneme Mayor Jonathan Sharkey were Ventura County's picks.
The Board of Supervisors in both SLO and Santa Barbara counties nominated Howell. The Santa Barbara supes and the Ventura County City Selection Committee (a group of mayors from all county cities) nominated Ramirez. The Santa Barbara supes and the Santa Barbara City Selection Committee nominated Bennett.
Ramirez and Howell were the only candidates to receive nominations from multiple counties.
Brown's office announced their appointment of Howell one day before the 30-day appointment period was set to expire.
Howell will be sworn in during the Coastal Commission's March 12 meeting in Long Beach.