Hot Orange County housing: $100,000-plus price gains in 56 of 83 ZIPs

The pandemic era’s homebuying binge has created six-figure price gains in 56 of Orange County’s 83 ZIP codes.

My trusty spreadsheet, filled with Orange County homebuying stats at the neighborhood level from DQNews/CoreLogic, found in the 12 months ended in August prices rose in 77 of 83 ZIPs — 56 with gains of $100,000 or more.

The countywide median for the month of $900,000 was up 12.5% in a year. That’s a $100,000 price gain 12 months. The buying binge resulted in 3,708 closed sales of all residences — existing and new, single-family houses and condos — countywide. That’s up 5% in a year and the busiest August in four years.

The feeding frenzy added up to the number of million-dollar Orange County neighborhoods growing by 11 to 29 in the year ending in August. Yes, 35% of ZIPs countywide have seven-figure medians. There were 10 seven-figure ZIPs in August 2019.

In those seven-figure communities, 1,489 purchases were completed last month, equaling 40% of all homes sold countywide. In August of last year, 686 residences were sold in ZIPs with $1 million-plus medians, or 19% of all transactions.

At the other end of the pricing spectrum, there are only eight neighborhoods remaining with pricing below what I defined as benchmark for “reasonable” value: a median under $666,667. Yes, that’s a lot of money. But at the start of 2017, $666,667 bought you a median-priced home in Orange County.

Orange County’s “bargain” communities are down from 26 in August 2020 and 30 in August 2019.

August’s sales in these “affordable” ZIPs totaled 205 — making “bargains” 5.5% of all purchases. In August of 2020 there were 821 purchases in “bargain” ZIPs — or 23.1% of all sales.

Note: Monthly sales data for individual ZIPs can be volatile, so price data may reflect a different mix of homes that sold — not changing values. Data for all Orange County ZIPs can be found online at bit.ly/augustmedians

Here are the new members of the million-dollar club ….

San Clemente 92673: $1.36 million — up 40% in 12 months.

Huntington Beach 92649: $1.25 million — up 36%.

Irvine 92620: $1.21 million — up 34%.

Huntington Beach 92648: $1.16 million — up 16%.

Irvine 92618: $1.12 million — up 25%.

Yorba Linda 92886: $1.09 million — up 29%.

Costa Mesa 92626: $1.08 million — up 22%.

Laguna Hills 92653: $1.08 million — up 40%.

Ladera Ranch 92694: $1.05 million — up 28%.

Santa Ana 92706: $1.03 million — up 32%.

Laguna Niguel 92677: $1.01 million — up 22%.

Costa Mesa 92627: $1 million — up 18%.

And established members on the seven-figure list …

Newport Beach 92662: $3.58 million — up 111%.

Newport Beach 92661: $3.3 million — up 38%.

Newport Coast 92657: $3.15 million — up 4%.

Corona del Mar 92625: $2.9 million — up 6%.

Laguna Beach 92651: $2.65 million — up 10%.

Newport Beach 92660: $2.21 million — up 6%.

Dana Point 92624: $1.94 million — up 68%.

Villa Park 92861: $1.68 million — up 22%.

Irvine 92603: $1.6 million — up 31%.

Newport Beach 92663: $1.48 million — off11%.

Dana Point 92629: $1.4 million — up 21%.

Irvine 92602: $1.39 million — up 10%.

Los Alamitos 90720: $1.39 million — up 26%.

Seal Beach 90740: $1.31 million — up 20%.

Trabuco/Coto 92679: $1.29 million — up 29%.

San Clemente 92672: $1.21 million — off 1%.

Santa Ana 92705: $1.2 million — up 14%.

And Orange County’s sub-$666,667 ZIPs in August …

Anaheim 92801: $655,000 — up 9%.

Santa Ana 92703: $645,000 — up 23%.

Santa Ana 92707: $620,000 — up 16%.

Orange 92868: $600,000 — up 29%.

Garden Grove 92844: $570,000 — up 5%.

Stanton 90680: $531,250 — flat.

Santa Ana 92701: $469,750 — up 6%.

Laguna Woods 92637: $382,500 — up 1%.

Jonathan Lansner is business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com

How an unofficial military network helped 2 families of Afghan interpreters evacuate from Kabul

Hours before the deadly bombing attack at the Kabul airport’s Abbey gate, the 20-year-old wife of an Afghan interpreter and his mother made it through and joined the tens of thousands evacuating on flights before the U.S. completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Farid, 30, who had interpreted for American forces and is now a U.S. citizen living in Orange County, had flown back to Afghanistan in May to wed the young woman, Wajmah, immediately filing the request for her visa, but thinking there was time for the process. But as the Taliban gained control of the country much faster than expected, his bride was in danger because of his service to the U.S.

Retired Marine Lt. Col. Jamey Federico, who had previously helped his interpreter get out of Afghanistan in 2015, jumped in again to help find safe passage for Wajmah and Farid’s mother, who now had the appropriate immigration documents in hand, but had to pass through checkpoints and various dangers along the streets of Kabul to get to Marines waiting at the airport gate. (Only their first names and those of other Afghans interviewed are being used because of safety concerns.)

Federico, now the mayor of Dana Point, first tried official government channels, but ultimately relied on a network of veterans, Marines he worked with before– some on the ground in Kabul – and friends of friends to complete the mission.

While the State Department officials manning the airport where overwhelmed by crowds looking to evacuate, military veterans cut through the red tape and built their own networks using social media, encrypted phones, Google maps and military training to get hundreds of former interpreters they served with and other Afghans at risk to safety – people who had helped Americans and were supposed to be eligible for passage out of the country. Even after the Aug. 30 withdrawal, they continue to aid where they can.

“The whole network was just everyone trying to do what they can and see what sticks,” Federico said.

To get Wajmah and Farid’s mother to the airport, Federico and Farid worked from Federico’s Dana Point home for at least 12 hours straight. Using texts, emails and phone calls, they navigated through six people – including some of Farid’s relatives in Afghanistan – to get an evacuation plan in place and the correct directions to Wajmah. Dozens of people helped gather the information.

“Ultimately, we learned what gate was open, and where the Taliban checkpoints were so we could drive around them,” Federico said.

With the plan set, they woke Wajmah up at 2 a.m.

“We did a screen grab of Google Earth showing them where to go and avoid the Taliban checkpoints,” Federico said. “It was difficult to do when the person driving didn’t have a map and many of the roads have no names. It took them an hour to finally get to the gate. The first time, it was the wrong one.”

Farid’s mom had gone with Wajmah for support. She had no ID, passport or cellphone, but when Wajmah got to the Marines waiting to help, they asked if there was any more family.

“They made sure she got through despite the fact that she had only the clothes on her back,” Federico said. “Wajmah had her passport, copy of her husband’s passport and all the documents she submitted for the visa.”

Hours later,  they flew out of Kabul headed for Qatar, Federico said.

“It was just such a sense of relief.”

  • Zak, his wife, baby and three young children are shown here after making it into the Kabul Airport and onto a flight to Qatar. Zak was a Marine interpreter for a Camp Pendleton unit in 2010 -2011 in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Tom Schueman)

  • Lt. Col. Jamey Federico worked with Farid, an Afghan interpreter in the Helmand Province from 2012 -2013. (Photo courtesy Lt. Col. Jamey Federico)

  • Zak, an Afghan interpreter who served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines in the Helmand Province, is just feet away from reaching Marine standing sentry at the Kabul airport. (Photo courtesy of Zak)

  • In this file photo, 1st Lt. Thomas Schueman meets with villagers in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. He is flanked by two Afghan interpreters. (Courtesy of Thomas Schueman)

  • Jamey Federico, a retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, helicopter pilot and current mayor of Dana Point, stands in the Veterans Memorial Park in Dana Point on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. Federico has been helping get his interpreter’s wife out of Kabul, Afghanistan. His interpreter, now a U.S. citizen, was able to get through the Special Immigration Visa process in 2015 with the help of Federico. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Thirteen service members were killed in the Kabul airport bombing on Aug. 26, 2021.
    Top Row from left: Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, and Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco.
    Middle Row from left: Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah, Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska, Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana, and Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas.
    Bottom Row from left: Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri, Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming, Navy Corpsman, Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio, Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee and Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Roseville, California.

  • In this image provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, a Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) lifts an evacuee during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Samuel Ruiz).

  • FILE – In this Aug. 21, 2021,file photo provided by the U.S. Marines, U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, provide assistance at an evacuation control checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/U.S. Marine Corps via AP, File)

  • In this image provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, a Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, escorts a young girl at an evacuation control checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla)

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Networks spring out of chaos

Despite 13 American service members killed (including three from Southern California and several based at Camp Pendleton), 17 more injured and at least 159  Afghans killed in the Aug. 26 bombing attack at the airport, evacuations efforts resumed almost immediately and the U.S. airlifted out more than 124,000 people, including 6,700 U.S. citizens.

“Of that number, the vast majority, 75%, 80%, are Afghans at risk,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a recent press briefing.

The State Department has come under heavy criticism for not doing enough and not acting quickly enough to get American citizens, legal U.S. residents and Afghan allies out of the country. More than 18,000 Afghan special visa holders feared stranding as the process got backlogged and mired in red tape and many sought help from the American service members they had worked with.

As the Taliban gained power and the Afghan government disappeared, many Americans were troubled by the images they were seeing. Military veterans resorted to the training and tactics they perfected during their service, adding on their social media savvy to coordinate with those on the ground who were working “off books” to identify eligible Afghans and pluck them from the amassing crowds with code words or other signals.

Among them was a group of veterans calling themselves Digital Dunkirk, a reference to the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces from Dunkirk as France was falling in 1940.

“That was a turning point of World War II,” said Gregory Daddis, USS Midway Chair in Modern U.S. Military History at San Diego State University. “It was seen by many as a humiliating defeat turned into a moral victory. I think the attempt to rescue Afghan allies from their war-torn country was a similar effort, not only to remain loyal to those who aided us, at tremendous personal risk, but also a way for Americans to demonstrate something positive out of a heart-wrenching withdrawal.”

Just retired Marine Lt. Col. Worth Parker – who served 15 of his 27 years with the Special Forces – joined evacuation efforts after hearing pleas for help.

One story that caught his attention on social media was Marine Maj. Tom Schueman, who was desperate to get his interpreter, Zak, out of Afghanistan. Zak had translated and guided the Camp Pendleton-based Marine, part of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines – the Darkhorse Battalion –  that saw heavy fighting in 2010 to the town of Sangin in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

“I just called Tom, and said, ‘You don’t know who I am, but I can help you move your guy out.’”

Saving Zak

Months ago, Schueman had set up a GoFundMe. The money was earmarked to help Zak and his family transition to a new life in the U.S. But, with the withdrawal imminent, Schueman had to make use of the money now and spread his quest out across social media asking for any help from those he knew or their contacts.

“This outpouring of public attention was a risk,” he said of the threats Zak had received over the years from members of the Taliban for helping the Americans. “I realized this was a life-and-death issue, and I didn’t have time to do this behind closed doors. Putting a character to the story was the only way I knew we could get support.”

Zak, 30, has a wife and four children under the age of five.

“We raised money to smuggle him out of Kunar, raised more money to get passports and lodging in Kabul,” Schueman said.

Seeing Schueman’s posts, Parker reached out to his own circle of sources. A network was forming. Once contacts fell into place, the efforts to help Zak and his family started rolling.

The first time Schueman got word that his contacts at the airport’s gate were ready to receive Zak, the family walked through the congested streets of Kabul and through Taliban checkpoints only for the gates to slam shut as panicked crowds breached them. Two days later, Schueman’s contacts were ready again. A British officer saw Schueman’s post. He referred him to an Afghan contractor he knew, Malad, who could help Zak and his family.

“He picked Zak up and drove him to the gate,” Schueman said. But again, the overwhelming crowd forced the gates to close almost in front of their faces.

As Zak sent Schueman a photo to confirm he was at the right gate, the Taliban fired shots for the crowd to disperse.

“It was a series of tragedies where we were so close,” Schueman said. “Malad kept the vehicle running and held his ground despite the Taliban shooting. What Malad didn’t tell me was that his father-in-law was murdered by the Taliban that day and he was still helping.”

Zak, though now terrified for his family, tried one last time. He was given a new name and password to use at the gate.

In the confusion, he went to the wrong gate. He was frozen and overwhelmed. Schueman, in real-time from his home in Rhode Island and looking at a map, told him to go 500 meters to the right. Thousands of people were pressing past him and he was in the middle with his family; he told Schueman, “I can’t go.”

Desperate, Schueman messaged a friend inside the airport now serving as an Air Force pilot.

“He was my ace in the hole,” Schueman said. “I messaged him to get Zak.”

Then Schueman messaged Zak to put his son, who was wearing a blue shirt, on his shoulders.  Schueman’s friend grabbed another airman and went to the gate, picking Zak out of the crowd and jumping a wall to go and help the family through to those guarding entry to the airport.

“Over an hour later, we got the message they got him,”  Schueman said.

Zak and his family were flown to Qatar and now are at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

“I’m so thankful for Zak’s persistence and for all the people who rallied around his cause,” Schueman said. “I’m just really thankful he’s alive.”

Mission not over

On the same day Zak got out, Parker also helped another Afghan interpreter through the gate. It was among his proudest moments as a Marine, he said.

“You join the Marines to do something great,” he said. “I’ve been fighting for 17 years. After you fight that long, to do something like this, that felt good and righteous. That felt like a Marine moment. That happened because Marines were talking to Marines, and Marines don’t quit.”

But, Parker realized there were more Afghans to help. So, he went back to again tap his network of retired and active Special Operations guys and CIA veterans.

“You’ve shed blood with Afghans; what are we going to do?” he asked them.

Within hours, Parker’s Task Force Dunkirk was officially geared up. The network contacted Team America, a group of 200 volunteers including  active-duty and military veterans, State Department staff and social workers, that was running operations on the ground in Kabul. Parker also partnered with No One Left Behind, nonprofit helping Afghan interpreters navigate the special visa process.

By the time U.S. troops withdrew, Team America had helped evacuate more than 500 people, Parker said. No One Left Behind helped bring out 1,000 people.

With the U.S. withdrawal, Parker and his network continue to help Team America however they can to aid those still in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, he said. “It’s absolutely going forward.”

For example, for Afghan interpreters still stranded in Afghanistan, Team America is helping warehouse critical paperwork needed to get out.

“If you have documents showing you supported American forces that’s not to your advantage to carry around,” Parker said. “We can upload them to a secure space.”

They are connecting Afghans with legal and advocacy resources wherever they are in the world, and they are helping authorized Afghans leave their country without breaking any U.S. laws.

Joe Saboe, a former Army infantry captain who fought in Iraq and now leads Team America, said the mission remains critical. Each day, he receives hundreds of messages asking for help.

With the lens of scrutiny on the Taliban fading – few journalists remain in the country – there is less accountability, he said, and he fears the worst for those who remain behind.

Saboe said he has sometimes wondered about the cost of the war he lost friends fighting. But, the desperate evacuations at the airport underlined why his and other service members’ efforts really mattered, he said.

“These people were free for 20 years,” he said. “The fact that they had it and we are watching it become annihilated, it’s just devastating. I think back on my friends and their commitment, it did make the world better.”

A new chance at life

Zak and his family and Wajmah and her mother-in-law are now among 9,000 refugees in Germany waiting for permission to come to the U.S.  A measles outbreak with more than a dozen cases stalled their flights.

Conditions are cramped, Zak said, but added once their paperwork is processed and the family flies out, “I will be extremely happy to see my brother, Tom, again.”

Farid said he is “super excited and can’t wait” for his wife and mother to get to the U.S.

“It’s her first time traveling and being locked up on a military base is not easy for anyone,” he said of his young bride. “But, she has to deal with it because she would have been in danger if she were in Afghanistan.”

Farid said he will forever be grateful to Federico and his wife – also a Marine veteran – for helping settle in Orange County. He considers them his parents.

“They held me in their arms and taught me how to live,” he said. “I owe them a lifetime.”

But, he also thinks about those service members who died – very likely some of them helped his wife and mother through the gate just hours before the bombing.

“I feel terrible about those warriors that lost their lives,” he said. “They were there to save the lives of others, but instead, they lost theirs. I pray for their families.”

HOA Homefront: Boundary basics for HOA team members

For many years, advising associations was at times very stressful, as boards would sometimes disregard my best advice for them. However, a defining moment in my HOA law career came when I realized my role is to tell the board the truth and provide to them my best advice, but compelling the board to follow my advice was not my responsibility.

Once I had a better understanding of my role, things became less stressful. Each member of the HOA team has its own boundary, and each team member staying within that role helps the entire HOA team.

Managers: They take action managing the association, carrying out board directions and providing important advice helping boards operate within the Business Judgment Rule. Managers do not make decisions, except those specifically assigned to them by the board.

Boards: The board decides things but doesn’t implement its decisions. The board provides direction to management and approves contracts with other HOA vendors. Boards should not co-manage the HOA but should allow the manager to carry out the board’s directives. Boards normally don’t oversee vendors; that is what you pay management to do.

Vendors: Service providers (including managers) should perform their contracts and avoid HOA politics. Endorsing or opposing board candidates is outside their role and is unethical – they must stay neutral.

Officers: In HOAs, individual officers (even presidents) have little power. Everything they do is only upon the express authorization of the board. HOA officers occasionally confuse their limited nonprofit role with the more powerful role given officers in for-profit corporations.

Individual directors: A single director has no power except the power to cast a vote on board decisions. The real power rests with the whole board. Well-intentioned directors can usurp the board’s role by acting without board authority; usually justifying it by claiming the action was needed. But the well-intentioned director becomes a “renegade” by taking actions, which is reserved for the board, such as instructing the manager or other vendors or making contractual commitments for the association.

Committees: Except for architectural committees, most committees are advisory to the board and do not act.  Committees typically are assigned an ongoing important subject and advise the board by issuing “reports,” hopefully written, suggesting certain board actions.  Committees do not make commitments to association vendors, and their meetings are less formal.  Boards should avoid doing committee work in the board meetings, just as the committee avoids doing board work.

Committee members: A committee member should be part of a team. However, sometimes extremely interested and active committee members step outside their role by speaking for the committee when the committee has not met.  A committee of one is not a committee!

Homeowners: The governing documents list certain matters that are subject to membership vote where individual homeowners can participate. Beyond these, let the board handle things because they are legally responsible. Non-directors should not participate in board discussions except for open forum input. Another common homeowner boundary issue arises when homeowners instruct HOA vendors, but that is the manager’s role. One of the great benefits of association living is that the board, manager, and vendors handle many community matters – so let them!

Check YOUR boundaries, and stay within your proper role. When everyone does THEIR job and allows others to do theirs, the HOA wins.

Kelly G. Richardson CCAL is Partner of Richardson Ober DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for community association advice. Send potential column questions to Kelly@rodllp.com

Laguna Beach ‘Ark’-inspired home lists for $10 million

  • The loft. (Photo by Thomas Pellicer)

  • The home underwent renovations that included the refreshing of all interior wood. (Photo by Thomas Pellicer)

  • The fireplace in the living room. (Photo by Thomas Pellicer)

  • Ocean views abound from this historic Laguna Beach home dubbed “The Ark.” (Photo by Thomas Pellicer)

  • The view from the deck whose railing resembles the bow of a boat. (Photo by Thomas Pellicer)

  • A sitting area along the bluff. (Photo by Thomas Pellicer)

  • French architect Jean L. Egasse designed “The Ark” in 1923. The home is currently listed at just under $10 million. (Photo by Thomas Pellicer)

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A bluff-top Laguna Beach home designed to look like an old wooden ship has floated on the market at $9.995 million.

Dubbed “The Ark,” the rustic 2,400-square-foot home has four bedrooms, five bathrooms and a stacked stone fireplace that anchors the living room.

French architect Jean L. Egasse took great pains when he designed the home in 1923. He rigged it with ship portals, ropework handrails and balusters, and rough-hewn timber beams, all of which remain intact.

The living room’s ceiling resembles the stylized ribs of an inverted ship’s hull.

Stained glass windows add color to the wooden interior.

Highlights include an ocean-facing sleeping porch, a loft, and separate guest quarters known as the Crow’s Nest perched above the garage.

Sited on a large lot, it overlooks Moss Cove and offers panoramic ocean views. Exterior features include covered decks, patios and art installations that enhance the seaside landscape, with specimen plants and trees.

Markus and Heidi Brown of First Team Estates at Christie’s International are the listing agents.

According to the listing agents, the Ark offers owners significant tax savings through the California Mill’s Act property tax reduction program. It also qualifies for the National Register of Historic Properties.

The home last sold in 2018 for $6.738 million, property records show.

State sea-level rise laws advance as urgency surges

As sea levels creep ever higher, state efforts to address it are surging, with Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signing the first of five ocean-related bills awaiting his consideration.

That bill, SB 1, formally adds rising seas to the list of issues to be addressed by the California Coastal Commission. It also creates a new entity to coordinate sea-adaptation efforts across multiple agencies, and it establishes a mechanism to provide up to $100 million a year in grants for local and regional governments to prepare for higher waters.

Related measures on the governor’s desk include a program to buy homes jeopardized by the rising sea and a bill calling for a study of a possible early warning system for coastal bluff collapses.

“SB 1 puts down a marker,” said Donne Brownsey, vice chairperson of the Coastal Commission. “It’s a starting point. I think we’re going to see a lot more sea-level rise legislation in the future.”

The commission has been addressing issues related to the rising ocean for more than a decade as part of its responsibility to address coastal hazards, but the new law explicitly adds “sea-level rise” to the list of principle responsibilities outlined in the Coastal Act of 1976.

“When they wrote the Coastal Act, nobody was thinking of sea-level rise,” Brownsey said, noting the growing recognition of the threat.

Opponents of the measure, by Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, include the state Association of Realtors, the Building Industry Association, the Orange County chapter of the Association of California Cities, and the cities of Newport Beach and Del Mar.

Members of those groups have complained that the Coastal Commission unnecessarily interfers with coastal development, including restrictions on seawalls. The commission prefers maintaining the beaches, when possible, by allowing them to migrate inland, and has rejected some seawall proposals that would eventually eliminate the sandy recreational spaces.

A joint argument issued by opponents before passage by the Legislature said SB 1 “would give the California Coastal Commission unbridled authority over sea level rise.”

However, Brownsey said there is no new authority given the commission in the new law — that it simply modernizes the list of commission priorities. Susan Jordan of the Coastal Protection Network said the change of language should remove all doubt over the commission’s jurisdiction on the matter.

“What it does is make clear to those who try to assert that the (commission) does not have the authority to address sea-level rise that not only does it have the authority, it has the responsibility,” said Jordan, whose non-profit was one of at least 10 environmental groups to endorse the bill. Additionally, the cities of Carlsbad, Santa Barbara and Alameda backed it, as did the League of California Cities and the San Diego Association of Governments.

SB 1 doesn’t directly allocate money for local and regional ocean-related grants. But it provides the mechanism for distribution for as much as $100 million annually once appropriate funds are available, such as the $612 million aimed at sea-level rise that was part of the $15 billion climate package signed by Newsom on Thursday.

SB 1 also increases from $1.5 million to $2 million the grants available for environmental justice programs to address the effects of sea-level rise on disadvantaged communities, along with an allocation for that program.

The collaborative coordination component of the bill, to be overseen by the Ocean Protection Council, will help avoid duplication of efforts and conflicting strategies employed by the Coastal Commission, the Coastal Conservancy, the state Lands Commission and a host of other state, regional and local entities.

“The coordination role for the Ocean Protection Council is critical in … providing needed resources and support to local, regional and even state agencies responsible for coastal planning and implementing resilience actions,” said Alyssa Mann of The Nature Conservancy.

Threatened homes

The Ocean Protection Council, which provides sea-level rise projections for other agencies to plan by, has set benchmark targets to prepare for 6 feet of rise by 2050 and 7 feet by 2100.

Every dollar spent in pre-disaster preparation can avoid $6 in public and private losses afterward, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But those preparations can be particularly challenging when it comes to moving homes, roads and sewage plants inland. While a 2.8-mile stretch of Highway 1 in north San Luis Obisbo County and a coastal sewage plant in Morro Bay have been moved away from the ocean, such adaptation will be more difficult in urbanized areas.

SB 83 is an attempt to address of homes threatened by the rising sea. The bill by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, establishes a program for the state to loan money to coastal cities to buy such properties from homeowners and rent them out as long as they’re still safe. That rent money would then go back into the loan program.

Dan Jacobson of Environment California called the bill a “smart, innovative idea.”

“We applaud the Legislature for this kind of out-of-the-box thinking,” he said. “These ideas provide a viable exit strategy.”

Among the other sea-level rise bills on the governor’s desk, AB 66, by Tasha Boerner Horvath, D-Encinitas, would have Scripps Institution of Oceanography study coastal cliff collapse in Del Mar and Encinitas, and explore the possibility of developing an early warning system.

AB 63, by Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, would allow marine restoration in marine-protected areas, which are now off limits to such work. Restoring kelp beds, for instance, can help offset some consequences of sea-level rise by fortifying breeding grounds and reducing ocean storm surges.

AB 72, also by Petrie-Norris, would streamline approval processes and address other bureaucratic hurdles for sea-level rise efforts.

“Time is of the essence as seas continue to rise along our coast, and we cannot waste resources trying to navigate unnecessary green tape,” she said.

Newsom has until Oct. 10 to sign or veto this year’s legislation.