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U2 Member Betrays Environmental Image

James Hirsen By Monday, 18 June 2012 12:05 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

U2 guitarist David Evans, aka The Edge, longs to build five luxury mansions on a 156-acre plot of land on a bluff above Malibu, Calif.

The California Coastal Commission has voted 8-4 in opposition to the musician’s plans.

David Evans, aka The Edge
(AP Photo)
About the project of the purported environmentalist-minded rock star, the commission’s executive director, Peter Douglas, indicated that in his 38 years of evaluating plans, Evans had submitted “one of the three worst projects” that Douglas had seen “in terms of environmental devastation.”

“It's a contradiction in terms — you can't be serious about being an environmentalist and pick this location,” Douglas added.

Despite the commission’s expressed opposition, Evans has persisted in his desire to build the expansive manors. After having given a $1 million donation to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and pledging to designate 100 acres as open space, the state-established environmental institution made a decision to remain neutral on the issue of whether Evans should be allowed to implement his luxury development.

Lobbyists who were working on Evans plans are now seeking assistance from the California legislature in the form a special bill, which would allow the U2 guitarist to move forward with the same project that the Coastal Commission saw fit to reject.

Bono’s guitarist does not appear to be all that concerned about carrying out construction on a section of the coastline that environmentalists have suggested is a sensitive habitat.

Over the past several decades, real estate developers have routinely attempted to circumvent the Coastal Commission’s authority. Paperwork, which shows separate ownership for each site in a development, is frequently filed in order to give the appearance that individuals are building their own homes.

Evans apparently used this technique when he submitted five separate applications, with a separate entity’s name for each home that was to be built.

The new legislation in California would compel the Coastal Commission to accept that the names on the deeds are the actual property owners, unless the agency can prove the contrary by using the same evidence laws that apply in court.

Since the Coastal Commission does not have available for its use the tools of discovery present in the court system, including subpoenas and depositions, Evans’ project, and others resembling it, could easily bypass the Coastal Commission’s authority.

However, environmentalists see the proposed legislation as a threat to the California coast.

“The forces who want to maximize their profit above all else are seeking to rewrite the rules in such a way that ensures the state government has limited ability to oversee and to take care of our public trust resources,” Adam Keats, a lawyer for the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Los Angeles Times.

The bill's author, Democrat Assemblyman Ben Hueso, was reportedly given the idea for the legislation from a lobbyist that Evans last year had enlisted to assist him in his dealings with the Coastal Commission.

A former assembly speaker, who was a consultant on Evans's project, has lobbied in support of the legislation. The bill contains language that is similar to the kind contained in the lawsuit that Evans filed against the Coastal Commission.

Evans' attorney also is lobbying lawmakers to pass the new legislation. The lawyer, however, denies that his involvement has anything to do with Evans.

According to Fiona Hutton, a spokesperson for Evans, all of the apparent connections to the guitarist are a coincidence. Hutton flatly denied that the rocker had funded any of the legislative lobbying.

“Edge is not paying any consultant to lobby,” Hutton said in a statement.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.

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Monday, 18 June 2012 12:05 PM
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