New Coastal Commission head


The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously last week to appoint Dr. Charles Lester as its new executive director. Lester, 49, has served as interim executive director since Peter Douglas announced his medical leave and retirement in August. He is the fourth individual to head the influential agency, which was established in 1972 and now oversees development along the state’s 1,100-mile coastline on an approximately $16 million annual budget. Prior to the appointment, Lester served as the commission’s senior deputy director. He holds a doctoral degree in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law and a bachelor’s in Geochemistry from Columbia University. “While Peter Douglas leaves very large shoes to fill, Charles fits into them quite comfortably,” said commission Chair Mary Shallenberger. Upon his departure, Douglas recommended naming Lester as his successor.