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Coastal Commission to consider dismissal of executive director during Morro Bay meeting

Tom Wilmer

Public and political support is growing for the executive director of the California Coastal Commission, who is faced with an upcoming termination vote by its 12 voting members.

The Commission will hold its next meeting in Morro Bay on February 10, during which it will consider the dismissal of Executive Director Dr. Charles Lester.

During a closed session in Monterey last December, the panel decided to consider Lester's termination. Since then, the Commission says it has received roughly 14,000 letters in favor of keeping the current executive director and two in favor of letting him go.

This week, several California lawmakers sent a letter to Governor Brown outlining their concern with the potential action.

Central Coast Senator Bill Monning (D- Carmel) co-signed the letter and said he and other co-signers are concerned those who want to see Dr. Lester leave seek special coastal access for development.

"We have a set of rules. Dr. Lester is in the position to protect and enforce those rules. And my interest and the other co-signers' is to make sure the integrity of the Coastal Act is protected," said Senator Monning.

Members of the public and Dr. Lester will have a chance to speak during the consideration.

The commission may deliberate in a closed session after the public hearing. If termination action is taken, votes will be reported to the public.

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