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State Assembly Bill Would Close Public Lands Loopholes

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Aired 4/19/09

The California State Assembly has approved legislation that would reinforce restrictions on use of public waterfront land by private parties. The bill was drafted in response to development along San Diego's waterfront. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

Public Trust Lands are areas set aside for public uses.

In the case of the San Diego waterfront the uses would include fishing, boating and tourism.

But San Diego Assemblywoman Lori Saldana says loopholes have allowed private use of these lands which are prohibited by the state constitution.
Saldana: We revisited the state constitution and looked under the sections that controlled the public tidelands and determined that there were some codes that needed to be repealed.
The bill would remove a statue that allowed cities to make special arrangements for public land use with the U.S. Government.

She learned of the loopholes when the Navy entered into a controversial 99-year lease in 2007 with a private developer on San Diego's waterfront.

Saldana says the bill would not affect current military operations in San Diego.

The legislation now moves to the state Senate.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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