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Pacific Legal Foundation slithers back 

Morro Bay

This is my Nov. 22, 2004 comment to the Morro Bay City Council.  It is still relevant since the Pacific Legal Foundation, by backing Franco DeCicco in Cayucos (“DeCicco fights a two-front battle,” Oct. 15) is once again fighting the California Coastal Commission and all environmentalists:


“It would be a wonderful thing for the reputation of Morro Bay if the new City Council could dissociate itself from a reactionary anti-environmental group, the Pacific Legal Foundation. The California Chambers of Commerce founded the PLF in 1973 as a means of bringing lawsuits for the business community under the guise of “public interest” actions. This terminology turned out to be right out of George Orwell.  Public interest, as sponsored by big business, means private interest.  The PLF organization is ultra-conservative right-wing, tax-exempt, non-profit—although funded by big business, such as Coors. With almost limitless money, PLF lawyers have launched assaults on wetlands, on equal employment, on protections of consumer health and safety, on rent control, on labor unions, on First Amendment protection of free speech, on public right to beach access, on equal rights for gays, and on affirmative action as well as assaults on the Endangered Species act. In 2002 the local council majority hired the PLF to sue about the western snowy plover as a way of keeping dogs on the beaches, according to the mayor: ‘The whole snowy plover thing—it’s all about dogs.’   For the PLF it was not all about dogs, and not about money from Morro Bay. It just wanted the cover of the name of Morro Bay.


Now, according to the Tribune on 16 November [2004], the PLF is filing suit in Fresno federal court to challenge habitat protections for 48 endangered or threatened species of animals and plants in California—ranging from the peninsular bighorn sheep to the yellow larkspur to the western snowy plover (and not just in SLO County this time).


Cities earn their reputations. You know there’s an Internet Speed Trap Exchange to let tourists know what locations to avoid in certain towns, Agoura Hills, Bodega Bay, wherever speed traps are documented.   We don’t want to be known to tourists as Morro Bay, that town the PLF owns—Morro Bay, the former Bird Sanctuary, where they are trying to remove the Western Snowy Plover from protected status.  Do we?”

-- Hershel Parker - Morro Bay

-- Hershel Parker - Morro Bay

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