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Coastal Commission Senior Deputy Director temporarily fills Lester's role

Jordan Bell, KCBX News

The California Coastal Commission and Staff are in the hands of a new leader this week. This comes after a vote Wednesday night in Morro Bay to oust Executive Director Dr. Charles Lester. 

Senior Deputy Director Jack Ainsworth will serve as the interim executive director for the Coastal Commission effective immediately, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Coastal Commission voted 7 to 5 on Wednesday to remove Lester from his role as executive direction a position he'd held for the past five years. The vote followed a lengthy hearing, during which hundreds voiced their support of Lester and disapproval of Commission members for a lack of transparency.

Many attendees also accused Commission members of cozying up with large developers. Several council members flatly denied those claims, including commissioner Dayna Buchco.

"What's not fair is to characterize us as a bunch of developer hacks. I don't see a single hack up here," said Buchco.

Members said they could not legally disclose reasons for firing Lester because he did not motion to make hours of performance reviews available to the public. 

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