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L.A. television producer Dayna Bochco named to Coastal Commission [Updated]

May 18, 2011 | 12:32 pm

Dayna Bochco at the Vision Awards in Beverly Hills in June 2005. Los Angeles television producer and environmental activist Dayna Bochco is expected to be named this week to the California Coastal Commission, replacing longtime commissioner Sara Wan on the influential panel.

Conservation groups heralded the selection of Bochco, calling her an advocate for the environment who has fought for marine life protections and worked to battle storm-water pollution, marine debris and climate change.

Bochco runs a production company with her husband, well-known Hollywood producer Steven Bochco, that has produced television shows such as "NYPD Blue," "L.A. Law" and "Doogie Howser, M.D." She is a board member of Heal the Bay and sits on the Natural Resources Defense Council's Southern California Leadership Council.

Wan, a longtime Malibu environmental activist and chair of the panel, was told earlier this week she would not be reappointed after 15 years on the commission. She was widely regarded as the most consistently conservation-minded member of the panel, which wields broad regulatory power over development along the state's 1,100 miles of coastline.

The state Senate Rules Committee could vote on Wan's replacement as early as Wednesday afternoon.

Wan earlier this year riled the state Democratic Party leadership with her unexpected election to the chairmanship of the panel. In a Jan. 13 letter, California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton wrote Wan to tell her that he believed she had "screwed" another candidate out of the position.

On a panel that is often closely divided on some of the state’s biggest, most sensitive projects, Wan enjoyed the adoration of environmentalists and the ire of developers, who often saw her strongly oppose their projects on environmental grounds.

She also has been an aggressive advocate of preserving coastal wetlands, marine life and public access to the coast, at one point setting up her towel in defiance of security guards on Malibu's Broad Beach to protest beach-access restrictions.

"Dayna has some big shoes to fill. Sara was the best coastal commissioner California ever had,” said Heal the Bay President Mark Gold. “Every time anyone watches birds or marine mammals, visits a wetland or enjoys the beach, they should remember Sara's courage and conviction for coastal protection."

Environmental groups said they expected that Bochco's views concerning projects along the coast would be similar.

Bochco worked three years ago to defeat the proposal to extend the 241 toll road through southern Orange County, one of most contentious projects in the panel’s history, and she campaigned in 2006 for the state's landmark global-warming law, AB 32.

"I have been impressed with her from the very beginning as someone who is smart, strategic, focused and committed to environmental values," said Joel Reynolds, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Southern California program.

The appointment comes during a substantial turnover at the commission, with about half of the 12-member panel being replaced or reappointed within a few months. The panel is selected by the governor, the state Senate Rules Committee and the speaker of the Assembly, and is made up of six elected officials and six members of the public at large.

[Updated at 5:40 p.m.: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg formally announced the appointment Wednesday afternoon, expressing gratitude for Wan’s years of service and excitement over Bochco joining the commission.

“Her demonstrated passionate work to protect our natural resources, coupled with her background in business and law, brings a valuable fresh perspective to preserving both the environmental splendor and economic vitality of our treasured coast,” Steinberg said in a statement.

Also appointed to a four-year term on the commission by the Senate Rules Committee was Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey, who replaces San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.]


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Photo: Dayna Bochco at the Vision Awards in Beverly Hills in June 2005. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images