Under the Dome

Who is watching the coast? Coastal Resources Commission largely vacant

The Coastal Resources Commission has been pretty much of a shell of itself recently, after most of the commission had their terms ended as a result of a legislature-ordered reorganization.

But that may be about to change. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to announce new appointments in the coming days according to Ryan Tronovitch, a spokesman for the governor.

The legislature this summer voted to reduce the commission from 15 to 13 members, and ended the terms of 11 of the 15 members as of July 30th. It kept four members on until next June.

The four-members met in August, but cancelled a meeting in September in Nags Head because of the lack of membership. Their next scheduled meeting is in December. But they did hold a special session in August to respond to a court case with just four members, deciding that four members constituted a quorum.

"Essentially the commission is out of business for the moment," said Frank Tursi, a spokesman for the North Carolina Coastal Federation, an environmental advocacy group.

"The commission has been operating under a cloud all year because of a bill to get rid of all or most of the commission members,'' said Bob Emory, the commission chairman from New Bern. "That has had an effect on what the commission has wanted to take on, knowing it could be replaced at any time..''

The commission has a lot on it agenda including variances to coastal rules, an update on the sea level rise report, a feasibility report for the Cape Fear region, and new rules for erosion rates should apply for inlet areas.

The new commission includes two appointments by the House Speaker Thom Tillis, two by Senate leader Phil Berger, and the rest by McCrory. Berger named his two choice in the budget bill, but they have not yet gone through the ethics clearance process.

The Coastal Resources Commission was created under the leadership of Republican Gov Jim Holshouser in 1974 to adopt rules and policies for coastal development along the 320 miles or oceanfront and 2 milion acres of sounds, creeks and marches.


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Shezanne Cassim, the American jailed in the United Arab Emirates after posting a video parody, was sentenced Monday to one year in prison and a fine of 10,000 UAE dirhams (approximately $2,700).
The young American living in the UAE has been imprisoned since April, his family says, for posting what was intended to be a funny video on the Internet.
He was accused of defaming the UAE's image abroad, according to The National, the country's main English-language newspaper.
The video in question is a 19-minute short that pokes fun at a clique of Dubai teens who are influenced by hip-hop culture. In the 1990s, the label "Satwa G" was coined for a group of suburban teens who were known to talk tougher than they really were.
The video depicts a look at a "combat school" in the suburb of Satwa, where these "gangsters" are trained. The training includes how to throw sandals at targets, using clothing accessories as whips, and how to call on the phone for backup.Cassim's family says the 29-year-old has been charged with endangering national security.The charges were not read out in court. UAE officials would only say "Mr. Cassim was charged under the UAE's penal code. Anyone charged with a crime under the laws of the UAE is entitled to the fair trial protections contained in the UAE's constitution."
Cassim, from Woodbury, Minnesota, moved to Dubai in 2006 after graduating from college to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He and some friends made and posted the video online in 2012. He was arrested in April. He was interrogated and arrested in Dubai before being transferred to a maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi. His family says it was five months before he was notified of the charges against him.

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