BREAKING NEWS: California Coastal Commission Fires Executive Director

by on February 10, 2016 · 5 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

calif coast comm 2-10-16

Lester received a standing ovation from the audience despite being fired. Many were angry.

After 7 hours of public testimony – most in favor of Charles Lester – the embattled executive director of the Coastal Commission – and after an hour of closed session, the Commission just announced that they had fired Lester in a 7 to 5 vote.

This vote will go down in California history as a sad victory for developers and developer lobbyists who want a weaker staff and a more developer-friendly California Coastal Commission. Now our 1,100 miles of coastline will be up for grabs by the wealthy and those with connections.

Charles Lester LAT

Charles Lester

The vote took place at the Commission’s monthly hearing in Morro Bay. The hearing room was packed with Lester supporters.

Something must be done. Environmentalists and people who care about the coast must mount some kind of protest, some kind of resistance. perhaps sit-in at every Commission hearing.

This is terrible news.

Despite a tsunami of opposition to the coup against Lester – and really against the rest of us – Governor Brown’s appointees led the move to oust Lester. Here is the list of Commissioners who voted to dump lester: McClure, Mitchell, Vargas, Howell, Uranga, Diaz, Turnbull Saunders.

San Diego’s rep, Supervisor Greg Cox, apparently did not join the coup. But if this is Diaz’s first foray into state politics, she just blew it.

“This hearing is not about Charles’ performance, it’s about yours,” said Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, a representative of the Surfrider Foundation.

Perhaps there will be mass resignations of Commission staff. Perhaps the Legislature will move to quash or override this vote – but can they legally?

It’s time to dump these pro-developer Commissioners, most Brown-appointees. Thanks Gov. Brown, for taking the time to ensure your legacy got burned.

Something must and will happen. Just because San Diegans are not too in tune with what’s being going on at the Coastal Commission, many others from other parts of the state are. There will be a thundering response, another storm, another tsunami.

Here’s the LA Times report:

Coastal Commission fires executive director over objection of hundreds of supporters

For the first time in its 44-year history, the California Coastal Commission on Wednesday fired its executive director — a decision made despite an overwhelming show of public support for the land use agency’s top official.

The panel disclosed that it voted 7 to 5 in a private session to dismiss Charles Lester. Commissioners offered no public explanation.

After announcing the vote, the panel gave Lester a few moments to speak and adjourned.

“I’m disappointed in the vote,” Lester said. “It’s been a privilege to serve the commission for the past 4 ½ years. If there is a silver lining, I’ve been energized by all the people who came together on this.”

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie February 10, 2016 at 9:34 pm

Big win for the super-rich, for gentrification, for land-grabs up and down the coast. It will be a green light for Banning Ranch, a Newport Beach development of multi-million dollar homes at the coast.


Patty February 11, 2016 at 5:45 am

Sad day…


Cholly February 11, 2016 at 8:31 am

Please advise of any organized effort to reverse this idiocy, and what we can do. And to built a better and stronger Coastal Commission. The bright side is that a great many voters will be aware of just sleazy, sneaky,depraved and downright irresponsible the developers and their supporters are. Viva Bernie and Hillary!


Micporte February 11, 2016 at 8:59 am

Would there be recall vote possibilities for coastal commission board members? we recalled our governor some years ago, never figured out why, so there must be a way to recall some commissioners?


Frank Gormlie February 11, 2016 at 9:01 am

I mis-wrote. Cox didn’t take a vote either way, as he wasn’t there and Diaz was sitting in for him.


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