02 Mar California Coastal Commission Fires Executive Director
Earlier this month, the California Coastal Commission voted in favor of dismissing their Executive Director, Charles Lester. This came as a shock to the over 14,000 stakeholders who wrote letters supporting Dr. Lester and voicing concern over the Commission’s intentions for firing him. FoLAR was one of those concerned stakeholders, as the southernmost portion of the Los Angeles River is included in the Coastal Zone, under the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission. It concerned FoLAR that this area could be under threat of irresponsible development, where there is so much potential for improved habitat, expanded recreation, and other beneficial public uses. You can read our letter in support of Dr. Lester here.
The Commission, which is tasked with protecting and enhancing California’s coast for current and future generations, must take into account the interests of both conservationists and developers to ensure that all stakeholders have their voices heard. With the termination of Dr. Lester, however, it seems the commission’s chair members heavily skewed in favor of developer interests. Out of the 14,000 letters that were submitted, only 4 of them were in support of firing Dr. Lester from his position as Executive Director, and the Chair Members still agreed to terminate him with a vote of 7-5.
The Commission is, or soon will be, in the process of hiring a new Executive Director. FoLAR and other advocates are following this process closely; and we will provide an update when we learn more information about who they may be hiring, as there may be an opportunity for the public to weigh in.
There are a lot of unanswered questions concerning the decision to fire Dr. Lester. If you’re interested in learning more about this situation, check out this recent article from the LA Times.