Beach Access, Coastal Preservation, Updates, California Coastal Commission
February 11 2016

California Coastal Commission Fired Dr. Lester Despite Outpouring of Support

by Amanda Winchell

Photo Courtesy of Colin Nearman

Morro Bay was host to significant and dramatic events yesterday, February 10, at the California Coastal Commission hearing, which decided the fate of Executive Director Dr. Charles Lester. More than 1,000 people from all around the state turned out in support of Dr. Lester's continued tenure with the Coastal Commission and to demand a transparent and responsible process.

As a State agency, the Coastal Commission - and most significantly - the Commissioners are to work FOR the people and by the people. Based on the overwhelming support from thousands across the state, one would think that this would mean to continue letting Dr. Lester be a steward of the coast in his role as Executive Director.

However, after more than 6 hours of public comment and only 2 hours of hearing from Commissioners - during which time several focused largely on their own reputations - the Commissioners went into a ten minute closed session and fired Dr. Lester. Termination effective immediately.

This is obviously not a Coastal Commission working for the people, nor by the people. 

We will work to bring this action, the failure in service to the public for whom they should be working - to light.  But more productively, we will work to ensure that the Coastal Commission follows its founding purpose: to permanently protect the California coast, our “distinct and valuable natural resource of vital and enduring interest to all people and exists as a delicately balanced ecosystem.”

Thank you for all your support yesterday- the California coast needs it-and will continue to need it.