Coastal Commission chairpersons might have to put themselves on some kind of endangered species list.
First, Humboldt County voters remove one–former District Four Supervisor Bonnie Neely.
Now her successor, Sara Wan, loses her political appointment for double-crossing a former aide to John Burton–who just so happened to be the man who appointed her to the commission these last 16 years.
Wan’s appointment as chair became controversial in January when former Senate President pro Tem John Burton sent her a profanity-laced letter on State Democratic Party letterhead (he is the current chair) accusing Wan of having “screwed Mary Shallenberger (a former longtime aide of Burton) out of the chair of the commission in order to gain it yourself.
(The “profanity” wasn’t all that interesting by Burton standards. One little bullshit, as in “No need to respond to this because I have no need to hear any of your rationalizing bullshit on this issue.” That barely counts.)
Importantly, Shallenberger had also been one of Wan’s staunchest defenders, a position that could easily have been a full-time job given Wan’s reputation as an obdurate, conniving, power-hungry ass.
Arnold York, publisher of Wan’s hometown daily the Malibu Times, describes Wan as follows:
Wan was never an easy appointment for a politician. She has many fans in the environmental movement, but she has also made many enemies along the way. Anyone who has ever sat at a Coastal meeting and watched Wan, as chair (she has served as chair once before), juggle the speaker slips so causes she favored came up early and the opposition usually put off to the end of the meeting, couldn’t help but come away with a feeling that they had been railroaded. Most politicians try to hide their power, but not Wan. She loves power and loves people knowing that she has power. She delights in rubbing everyone’s nose in her power and wants you to know that she’s doing it, which is one of the reasons Wan is detested by many, as, I certainly would venture, a significant portion of Malibu’s residents does.
Now who does that remind us of?
For those so inclined, see the news bit announcing word of Wan’s removal.Photo credit: Wan family