Joe Edmiston, the only executive director in the 25-year history of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, might be the most powerful unelected official in California, Lewis MacAdams writes in the July issue of Los Angeles magazine. The story talks about his legacy and his enemies, among them KABC radio's Doug McIntyre.
There is hardly a large, privately held parcel of rural land in Southern California that he doesn’t have his eye on...Edmiston is a patient man, but when a mountain property comes up for sale, he can move fast. The history of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is Joe Edmiston’s history—he’s the only boss the 25-year-old organization has ever had. During that time he has brokered, threatened, cajoled, lobbied, networked, orchestrated, and generally outplanned, outthought, and outfought anyone who has stood in the way of the acquisition, restoration, and opening to the public of 55,000 acres of once-private land. The last two years have seen what many regard as his greatest triumphs, the purchase in 2004 of the 2,983-acre Ahmanson Ranch, which forms the mountainous barrier between Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and this spring’s purchase of the King Gillette Ranch.
Some detractors complain that he pays too much money for land. Others say he drives down prices with threats of eminent domain. Many view him as arrogant, less than honest, a wheeler-dealer, responsible to nobody, at the helm of an out-of-control agency...
Many of Edmiston’s detractors have gathered in cyberspace at joemustgo.org, a Web site created by Woodland Hills resident Doug McIntyre, a libertarian talk-show host whose "McIntyre in the Morning" airs on AM radio station KABC. McIntyre says he and his wife had never heard of Edmiston’s MRCA until he noticed a new assessment “from out of the blue” on their tax bill: $40 a year to retire bonds and clear brush. He was even more surprised to learn that the estimated $26 million a year would go not only for brush clearance but for additional parkland acquisition.
In the same issue, but not online, Steve Oney takes a journey through the stormy life of Robert "Bo" Belinsky, who flashed in the pan as a pitcher with the Angels in the 1960s. He dated starlets, went through alcoholism and recovery, and was working at a Las Vegas Toyota dealership when he died in 2001.