FREE PRESS -- The California Coastal Commission has served a subpoena on documentary filmmaker Richard Oshen for a copy of his unreleased work, "Sins of Commission," a move which he fears may be preparatory to an efffort "to silence the film because
it reveals strong links between Californias increasingly catastrophic
wildfires and the Coastal Commissions prohibition of critical brush
"Sins of Commission" examines decades of the Commission's land use policies and questions how a government body could and, indeed did, unilaterally
extend its jurisdiction from 1000 yards landward of the coastline to 5
No matter what your politics, this isnt America if a
quasi-governmental body is going to dictate whether you have the right
to see a film. This is a very chilling development, and does not bode
well for documentary filmmakers or freedom of speech.
"Sins of Commission" is a work in progress. For a government body to demand a work print if like asking a journalist for their notes, or an author for a copy of their book before publication.
To think, if the government doesnt like what the see or readthey
could issue an injunction and prevent a story from getting out is
scary very scary.
Public interest attorney Ronald A. Zumbrun began his February 12 article in Freedom Advocates, "The Unrepentant Sins Of The California Coastal Commission," with the following reference to the filma reference that may have been the Commission's first clue that it was soon to get some unflattering publicity:
What do the former mayors of Malibu and San Diego, a former member of
the California Coastal Commission, and a former captain of the County
of Los Angeles Fire Department have in common? In a soon-to-be released
documentary film entitled Sins of Commission,
these former public servants, along with several other aggrieved
property owners, describe in painful detail the transformation of the
California Coastal Commission as a protector of the environment into a
radical bureaucratic monster.