The Coastal Access Initiative also caught the attention of Assemblyman Alan Sieroty, who with Assemblyman Dunlap came to Sonoma County to hold Assembly hearings on The Sea Ranch and to ask COAAST to organize statewide all the groups involved in coastal protection. Sonoma County’s Bill Kortum of COAAST created a statewide network of coastal protection activists (the Coastal Coalition comprised of 12 environmental groups), which in 1970 advocated for a bill to establish a commission for the California coast. The Coastal Coalition morphed into the Coastal Alliance, comprised of 110 environmental groups interested in saving the California coast, chaired by Kortum.
In 1971 and 1972, Assemblymen Sieroty and Dunlap introduced Assembly Bill 1471 (AB 1471) to protect the entire California coast. Their idea was to introduce legislation to create a Coastal Commission to address statewide concerns for coastal protection. For three years legislation passed through the State Assembly but not the Senate Committee. The heavy lobbying from the energy sector, California Real Estate Association, County Supervisors’ Association, League of California Cities, and many others was effective in defeating the legislation calling for a Coastal Commission.
Recognizing that legislative efforts weren’t moving forward, the Coastal Alliance, with assistance from attorney Peter Douglas of Assemblyman Sieroty’s staff and attorney Lew Reid, wrote a ballot initiative measure known as Proposition 20 (California Coastal Zone Conservation Act of 1972 ) containing the main language of Sieroty and Dunlap’s AB 1471. Proposition 20 appeared on the November 7, 1972 ballot and was approved by voters.