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Interim chief gets permanent post with California Coastal Commission

Peter Fimrite & Steve Rubinstein, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
The California Coastal Commission named its acting executive director to formally head the agency Friday, exactly one year after firing his predecessor in a controversial ouster that caused a statewide outcry among environmentalists.
Named to the post was Jack Ainsworth, 59, who has worked for the commission for 29 years. Meeting in Newport Beach (Orange County), the commission voted unanimously to appoint Ainsworth, the agency announced in a news release.
“Jack’s depth of understanding of coastal issues, the challenges confronting this agency and his steady leadership over the last year thoroughly impressed us,” said commission chair Dayna Bochco. “We are all looking forward to continuing our work to protect California’s magnificent coastline and ensure access for all.”
Ainsworth’s promotion followed the commission’s decision last Feb. 10, with a 7-to-5 vote, to fire Charles Lester after a heated debate over the long-term mission of the agency. The decision prompted thinly veiled allegations of racism and intolerance to be hurled between commissioners and Lester’s staunchest supporter, the Surfrider Foundation.
Supporters of Lester alleged big-money developers were behind the move. His opponents said Lester’s staff was insufficiently diverse.
Surfrider, an advocacy group created more than 30 years ago to fight coastal development, said the commission pushed out Lester to appease builders and rich movie stars who wanted to construct Malibu mansions.
Read more at: Interim chief gets permanent post with California Coastal Commission – San Francisco Chronicle