Helping Our Peninsula's Environment


What is the Public Interest?

By David Dilworth 2002-2004

At an April 2002 County Planning Commission General Plan Update hearing, Nancy Isakson, a Monterey Peninsula business lobbyist, after stating she was hired to represent Salinas Valley Business interests - claimed she was working in the "public interest."

What do you think of that? Can someone be advocating for profit be representing the public interest?

Is it about the financial wealth of the greedy or

the human health of the needy?

In my opinion, while it may be possible to represent profits and the public interest, it occurs extremely rarely and certainly not in the case described above.

  • The public interest is not about financial gain for a few.

The public interest is the exact opposite of 

Personal or business financial gain. 

Public Interest definition -- 

Benefiting the general public, a large class of persons or the natural world. Not something which only benefits a small number of people at the expense of the general public or our environment.

The public interest is about the greater good for a community of humans or biota.

It is about protecting humans' physical health - not the financial wealth of a greedy few.

The public interest is about the

Environmental health of the needful,

Not the financial wealth of the greedful.

California Courts seem to agree. 

"The enforcement of an important right affecting the public interest if a significant benefit whether monetary or not] has been conferred on the general public or a large class of persons." Grimsley v. Board of Supervisors (1985) 169 Cal.App.3d 960

What is in the public interest?

  • Broad Consumer Protection 
  • Broad Environmental Protection 
  • Broad Human Health Protection 
  • Democracy and Fairness for All

What is NOT in the public interest?

  • Business Profits 
  • Personal Enrichment in money, services or goods


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This Page Last Updated July 21, 2004