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California Proposition 20 (1971) | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: California Proposition 20 (1971)
Variant Name: The Coastal Initiative, The Coastal Conservation Initiative


Historical Note:

The voters of California, by an 800,000 vote margin (55%-45%), passed the Coastal Initiative, Proposition 20, in November 1972. The proposition created six regional commissions and one statewide commission to oversee the use and development of California's 1,000 mile coastline. Members of the regional and state commissions were to be locally appointed in some instances, with a percentage of the appointments filled by the Governor, state Senate Rules Committee, and the Speaker of the Assembly.

Proposition 20 was designed to address the state legislature's failure to produce an acceptable compromise measure regarding coastal ecology, protection, and preservation. Ecology groups and interested private citizens drew up the initiative and obtained the required number of voter signatures to qualify the proposition for the November 1972 ballot within two months of the Legislature's final defeat of the previous coastal bill.

Proposition 20 was, from the start, very controversial. Business and labor banded together in their opposition to the initiative; two of every three daily newspapers in California joined this odd coalition, as did numerous civic and service groups. Although an effective and vigorous campaign by the proposition's opponents was the result, the Proposition's supporters were ultimately successful.






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