Late Wednesday, the California Coastal Commission voted 7-5 to remove its executive director, Charles Lester, after a long day of public testimony and social media rallying.
Toni Atkins, the speaker of the Assembly, seemed shocked as the decision became more and more obvious: “Let me apologize to the public. I truly thought my appointees would be better stewards of the coast,” she wrote.
The push to oust Lester was widely seen as driven by those frustrated by red tape hampering construction along the coast. But they were not open about their reasoning.
San Diego’s Olga Diaz was there as an alternative to County Supervisor Greg Cox, who couldn’t go. Diaz voted to remove Lester and that turned out to be decisive. She told KPBS she was able to “fill in some gaps” about his performance. Here is the vote breakdown. Capitol Public Radio says it is a win for developers.