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Peter Douglas' departure marks end of an era

August 14, 2011 |  8:47 am

Some believe the departure of Peter Douglas from the California Coastal Commission leaves a major void.

His departure marks the end of an era and leaves many wondering how regulation of coastal development might change in his absence. It is ultimately up to the 12-member panel to choose a new leader, and staffers are not ruling out an outside recruit who could weaken the commission's clout.

"At this point, the name Peter Douglas and the Coastal Commission are synonymous: it's almost impossible to picture one without the other," said Sarah Christie, the agency's legislative director. "It's more than a retirement, it's like an amputation, and the post-operative care is going to be critical."

He began his career in the 1970s as an attorney, legislative aide and consultant, helping to draft Proposition 20, which created the commission and was passed in 1972, and the 1976 state Coastal Act, which made the commission permanent. After serving as the agency's chief deputy, he was named its third executive director in 1985.

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--Tony Barboza

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