For immediate release
February 17, 2016
Serge Dedina, WiLDCOAST, firstname.lastname@example.org, 619.606.0537
Susan Jordon, California Coastal Protection Network, email@example.com, 805-637-3037
Speaker Atkins releases bill requiring lobbying transparency at Coastal Commission
Sacramento, CA – In the wake of the controversial vote to oust Executive Director Charles Lester last week, Speaker Toni Atkins has released a bill designed to increase transparency and accountability at the California Coastal Commission and reduce the influence of special interests. The Commission reviews projects worth billions of dollars. Yet, for decades, lobbyists have been able to woo Commissioners without the public’s knowledge of how much these lobbyists are paid or by whom. The bill is co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Stone and Levine.
Atkins was clearly troubled by the Commission’s decision to terminate Dr. Lester, who was widely regarded as a fair and competent public servant. Following hours of public testimony at the February 10 hearing, the Commission chose to retire to closed session, despite the advice of legal counsel that they could deliberate in public. Following the 7-5 vote to fire Lester, Atkins tweeted, “Let me apologize to the public. I truly thought my appointees would be better stewards of the coast.”