Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Coastal Commission to decide director’s fate

The California Coastal Commission is moving to oust executive director Charles Lester.
The California Coastal Commission is moving to oust executive director Charles Lester. TNS

A fight is brewing in Morro Bay.

After weeks of mudslinging, the California Coastal Commission will hold a hearing today to consider ousting Executive Director Charles Lester.

The debate began as internal drama among the 12-member commission and morphed into a public spectacle pitting environmental advocates against developers and business interests. Now schools of Lester supporters are expected to rally before the meeting, convinced his fate is tied to that of California’s 1,000 miles of coastline.

Peter Douglas, the former executive director of the commission and fierce protector of the state coastline, picked Lester to succeed him five years ago. The recommendation didn’t sit well with some of the other commissioners, and Lester supporters believe they want to replace him with a more development-friendly leader.

Earlier this year, the commission gave Lester the option to resign, but he elected to hold a public hearing instead. Rules allow the commission to vote to remove Lester at the hearing without any formal explanation.

Lester advocates will hold a press conference and rally at 9:30 a.m. at the Morro Bay Community Center Auditorium. Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer is expected to send a letter on Lester’s behalf and deliver a petition with thousands of signatures. The commission hearing follows at 10 a.m. at the same location.

POTUS IN SAN JOSE: President Barack Obama will make his way to the South Bay today in advance of fundraising events for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic National Committee on Thursday. The commander-in-chief heads to Los Angeles after the events to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, before moving along to Palm Springs.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: State Treasurer John Chiang talks about running for governor.

BLACK MINDS MATTER: The Legislative Black Caucus will hold a briefing to go over a report about the educational experiences of black students in California. An overview of “Black Minds Matter: Supporting the Educational Success of Black Children in California” will be presented by Ryan J. Smith, executive director at The Education Trust–West at 9:30 a.m. at the Capitol, room 447. Speakers include Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, among others.

JOBS FOR VETERANS: The chairs of the Assembly’s Business and Professions, Veteran Affairs and Labor Committees are hosting a joint hearing on employment opportunities for veterans in California. The legislative leaders, including Assembly members Susan A. Bonilla, D-Concord, Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, and Roger Hernández, D-Baldwin Park, plan to discuss hiring initiatives, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and programs to help veterans attain education requirements. The hearing will take place at the Capitol at 9:30 a.m. in room 4202.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE: California State Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma and Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa, are expected to introduce a measure to reform the state’s campaign finance rules at 12:45 p.m. in room 317 at the Capitol.

PUT ON YOUR BOWLING SHOES: It’s bowling night for California legislators and their staffs. The event is jointly sponsored by Northern California Bowling Centers and Bowling Centers of Southern California. In its 28th year, the sponsors expect over 50 legislators to show up ready to play.