Readers React: Losing California’s precious coastline, one development at a time

Charles Lester

California Coastal Commission Executive Director Charles Lester at the site of a proposed development project near Newport Beach in 2014.

(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Firing Charles Lester as executive director of the California Coastal Commission would be a huge blow to the environmental community and open the door for more rampant development along the entire coastline. (“California Coastal Commission members to consider firing executive director,” Jan. 20)

Even under the conservation-minded Lester’s watch, the Coastal Commission has laid down the “welcome mat” to developers with greater frequency in recent years. A prime example is the commission’s approval of the destructive ridge-top development in Malibu by U2 guitarist the Edge, which had been strongly opposed by a host of environmental groups.

The commitment to carry out the strong conservation protection mandates of the 1976 Coastal Act has been weakened and somewhat buried under the crunch of bulldozers, razing sensitive coastal lands that should have been protected and left undeveloped.

Enough already.


Mary Ann Webster, Culver City


To the editor: I had the honor of being appointed to the California Coastal Commission by Senate President Pro Tem David Roberti in 1991 and served until 1995. During that time there were several attempts to remove Executive Director Peter Douglas. Fortunately, they failed.

I didn’t always vote with the recommendations made by Douglas. However, I knew they were fair, unbiased and were not unduly influenced by pro-development forces.


The public needs to know about the large amounts of money paid to lobbyists hired by developers to “wine and dine” commissioners and staff in an attempt to influence them to support their proposed projects. An independent executive director is absolutely essential to continue to protect and provide public access for 1,100 miles of our beautiful California coastline.

Linda Moulton-Patterson, Fountain Valley


To the editor: It is so disappointing that once again big business and development have bought another public agency created to protect the public and our beautiful coastline. The foxes are guarding the hen house.

I liked Gov. Jerry Brown last week. Since it became clear that his appointees to the California Coastal Commission are undermining the goals of that body, I have changed my mind.

Sandra Fazio, Huntington Beach 

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