Home > California Coast, Coastal Commission, environment > Douglas retiring from Coastal Commission

Douglas retiring from Coastal Commission

Peter Douglas, Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission, has announced he is taking medical leave and will retire in November.  Douglas is fighting cancer.

Commissioner Steve Blank wrote about Douglas’ tenure on the CCC in a post called Going Out With His Boots On.  Excerpt below.

There’s an old political science rule of thumb that says regulatory agencies become captured by the industries that they regulate within seven years. Yet for the 26 years of Peter’s tenure he’s managed to keep the commission independent despite of enormous pressure.

The Commission has been able to stave off the tragedy of the commons for the California coast. Upholding the Coastal Act had it taking unpopular positions upsetting developers who have fought with the agency over seaside projects, homeowners who strongly feel that private property rights unconditionally trump public access and local governments who believe they should have the final say in what’s right for their community.

Peter opened the commission up to public participation and promoted citizen activism. He built a world-class staff who understand what public service truly means.

Over the last 40 years the winners have been 37 million Californians and the people who drive down the coast and can’t imagine why its looks like it does. In spite of opposition the commission has carried out the public trust.

The coast is never saved, it is always being saved.  The work is never finished. The pressure to develop it is relentless, and it can be paved over with a thousand small decisions. I hope our children don’t look back at pictures of the California coast and wistfully say, “look what our parents lost.”

As commissioners it’s our job to choose Peter’s replacement. Hopefully we’ll have the wisdom in finding a worthy successor. The people of California and their children deserve as much.

Godspeed Peter Douglas.

[Image from the LA Times.]

  1. Anonymous
    August 14, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Here is a great read, straight from Peter


  2. Walt
    August 14, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Thanks for the link, 8:58. In an era of Koch brothers, Rupert Murdochs and Grover Norquists, Douglas is going to be hard to replace.

  3. jtimmons88
    August 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Best wishes and prayers to him.

  4. Just another anonymous guy
    August 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    A great man who worked tirelessly for the public good. Thank you for your service Peter.

  5. Anonymous
    August 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Sorry he’s sick. Regime Change is good.

  6. Anonymous
    August 14, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Perhaps in retirement he can spend more time at his home in Hiouchi overlooking the Smith River along with assisting with the projects of the Smith River Alliance and the Tolowa Dunes Stewards at Lake Earl. The commission’s loss is Del Norte County’s gain. Welcome home, Peter.

  7. Anonymous
    August 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Interesting point. A fancy home where no one else could get one. The perks of power. Sorry he is sick. Happy to see him go!

  8. Anonymous
    August 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Actually, his home is one of several overlooking the Smith River in Hiouchi. He did not use any perks of power to get it. He is a big fan of the Lake Earl coastal lagoon and Tolowa Dunes State Park, the largest coastal lagoon on the west coast.

  9. Anonymous
    August 17, 2011 at 11:15 am

    The home is quite modest and far away from the stream.

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