You may have already heard about the California Coastal Commission firing its Executive Director, Charles Lester. This is a statewide issue, and beyond the scope of what I usually cover in this blog, but the CCC’s actions will have direct consequences for LA’s coastline. On top of that, it’s directly related to the threat this city faces from developers who want to gut our laws and public agencies so they can cash in.
On Wednesday the CCC board voted seven to five to fire Lester. The move is widely seen as a coup by the developer-friendly commissioners, and I have to say I totally agree. The commissioners who voted to get rid of Lester claim that this is all about performance, but the charges they’ve made publicly aren’t convincing in the least. Their criticisms of Lester’s management skills were not only disputed by the five members who voted to retain him, but also by numerous people who’ve worked with him. The seven who led the coup against the Director refused to present their complaints at Wednesday’s hearing, claiming that they were protecting Lester’s privacy. This is rubbish. Lester chose to have a public hearing to dispute his dismissal. The Commission’s legal counsel even advised them that they were free to discuss anything relating to his performance at the hearing. They chose not to because they knew their claims were bogus.
The California coastline is one of the state’s major resources. Precisely because it’s breathtakingly beautiful and largely unspoiled, developers see a huge opportunity. With the CCC now controlled by developer puppets, there are billions of dollars to be made, and you can rest assured that investors will not be shy about carving up our shoreline.
It’s real simple. Lester should stay. The seven who voted to fire him should step down. But that’s not likely to happen unless there’s a massive outcry from the public, and that’s where you come in. If you care about California’s coastline, you need to take action. You can start by sending Governor Brown an e-mail telling him how you feel about this.
Next, contact your state assembly and senate reps and give them a piece of your mind, too. If you don’t know who your reps are, you can find them by clicking on the link below.
For a detailed account of the whole mess, check out this story in the Times.
Numerous individuals and organizations have spoken out about this travesty. You can read the statements from the Sierra Club and Heal the Bay below.
Again, if you care about preserving the coastline, you need to make your voice heard. The only thing that will turn this situation around is a firestorm of public protest. Let’s turn up the heat on the folks in Sacramento.