MORRO BAY, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the leadership shakeup of the powerful California Coastal Commission (all times local):
The powerful agency that manages development on California's fabled coastline has voted to oust its top executive.
The 7-5 vote by the California Coastal Commission came after an impassioned hearing of nearly 12 hours Wednesday in Morro Bay that ended in the ouster of Executive Director Charles Lester.
Dozens of witnesses, from environmentalists to surfers, spoke in support of Lester's leadership and warned that his dismissal could open the way for unchecked development.
The commission then went into closed session and when they emerged, Lester was quickly dismissed.
Lester got an ovation from some in the crowd and said he was disappointed but it was a privilege to serve.
The shake-up raised questions about the direction of an agency often caught in the clash between property rights and conservation.
A powerful commission that oversees development on California's famed coastline could oust its top executive.
The 12-member California Coastal Commission is expected to consider the move Wednesday, a change that environmentalists fear could open an era of unchecked development.
Charles Lester has served as executive director since 2011. The panel has not provided an explanation for his possible dismissal.
The commission created by voters in 1972 has broad sway over construction and environmental issues in coastal areas that include some of the most coveted real estate in the U.S.
The challenge to Lester's leadership has raised questions about the direction of an agency often caught in the conflict between property rights and conservation.