Support for California Coastal Commission’s Executive Director, Dr. Charles Lester

Village Laguna’s January 24, 2016, letter to Governor Jerry Brown and later to the Coastal Commission

On the 40th anniversary of the California Coastal Act we find it ironic that there is a behind the scenes effort to oust The California Coastal Commission’s Executive Director, Dr. Charles Lester, without any public accountability or transparency in an effort to make the staff less independent and the commission more development friendly.

Village Laguna has been an active organization in Laguna Beach for 45 years and has relied on the California Coastal Act and the California Coastal Commission to protect our coastline and maintain public access to our beaches. The California coastline has never been in more need of protection as the threats mount from raising sea levels and other impacts from climate change, as well as rising land values. Our relatively pristine coastline has remained so because of the passing of The Coastal Act and the formation of the California Coastal Commission. The Commission is charged to protect, conserve, restore, and enhance the environment of the California coastline and now that very Commission wants to weaken their responsibility by undermining the integrity of the California Coastal Act, gain control over an independent staff, and make the Commission more developer friendly. We believe an independent staff is the foundation of protecting the coast for ALL Californians.

Village Laguna strongly objects to the efforts to terminate Dr. Charles Lester and urges you to support the Executive Director and his entire team.

Respectfully, Johanna Felder, President, Village Laguna

On February 6, The Coastal Commission, in the face of massive opposition, fired Dr. Charles Lester from his position as Executive Director. In a quote from the LA Times on February 11:  “The California Coastal Commission’s decision late Wednesday to fire its executive director, Charles Lester, after closed-door deliberations sparked outrage by environmentalists and is expected to leave deep divisions.”