Humboldt County supervisors Virginia Bass and Mike Wilson have both applied to become the North Coast representative on the California Coastal Commission. | Portraits via County of Humboldt.


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California Governor Gavin Newsom sure is taking his sweet time selecting a representative from the North Coast to sit on the California Coastal Commission. In fact, after inexplicably rejecting all the nominees put forward earlier this year, Newsom has now missed the deadline to select from the second batch of candidates, which includes Humboldt County Supervisors Virginia Bass and Mike Wilson.

Image from the Coastal Commission website.

The North Coast has been without a representative on the commission since March, when former Humboldt County Supervisor Ryan Sundberg attended his last meeting. Per commission rules, the seat must be filled by an elected official from the North Coast District, comprised of Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties. And while some commissioners get appointed by the Senate Rules Committee or the Assembly speaker, Sundberg was a governor appointee, meaning it’s Newsom’s job to pick his successor.

On March 22 Newsom’s office sent a letter to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors requesting “additional nominations of at least one board supervisor and at least one city council member.” Similar letters were sent to the supervisors and city select committees (comprised of mayors, generally) in Mendocino and Del Norte County.

The letter gave local officials 45 days to submit their additional nominees, which they did. State law — specifically, California Public Resources Code 3031.2(b) — then gives the governor an additional 30 days to either appoint one of those nominees or start the whole process over again. Those 30 days expired this past Saturday.

Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Chair Rex Bohn confirmed earlier today that his board has yet to be informed of Newsom’s selection. 

We reached out to the governor’s office this morning to ask what’s taking so long. Brian Ferguson, Newsom’s deputy director of public affairs — whose own appointment Newsom announced this very afternoon! — responded via email, “As is the case with all appointments, our office is looking for the best, most qualified candidate to fill this opening. When there is more to share [we] will be sure to let you know.”

Which is fine and all, but what about that deadline? We followed up, referencing the state law and asking whether Newsom will be making an unprecedented third call for nominees, but two emails and a phone message have thus far gone unreturned.