John Howard, CAPITOL WEEKLY
Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who was viewed as a strong environmental voice on the California Coastal Commission, has resigned his position, saying that the commission’s role was weakened by the death of long-time executive director Peter Douglas, and other factors.
Blank, who was appointed in 2007 by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and later reappointed by Gov. Brown, said the commission has been successful in protecting the coast because “it took unpopular positions upsetting developers who have fought with the agency.” The key to the effectiveness of the commission and staff was their being "unreasonable" — uncompromising — in their desire to protect the coast, he said.
“For the last three decades, the Coastal Commission has protected the coast while miraculously managing to avoid regulatory capture,” he added in his June 27 resignation letter to Gov. Brown.
“Unfortunately, Peter Douglas is gone. Current commissioners, including your appointees want the commission to be reasonable. In fact, they want a new reasonable director,” he wrote.
In a separate interview, Blank said environmentalists were not following the commission as closely as in years past, there has been a series of pro-development commissioners and those who appoint commissioners have not selected aggressive coastal protectionists.