The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Peter Douglas to retire from California Coastal Commission

The announcement by Peter Douglas as head of the California Coastal Commission has received mixed responses.

Whilst all regret the reason for his retiral, in November (he has cancer), there are those who say that there are few individuals who have done more to singlehandedly destroy jobs, wealth, and opportunities in California -- all in the name of advancing a radical environmental agenda that puts weeds, bugs, and "views" above the needs and rights of people.  Under Douglas's leadership, they say, the Commission has cavalierly abused the rights of private property owners time and again, with the United States Supreme Court once declaring one of its policies (which required property owners to give up land in exchange for permits) to be "an out-and-out plan of extortion."

But there are those who praise him for his stand against a projected Malibu hilltop residential complex sought by Edge, the guitarist in the U2 rock group. Douglas himself said it was one of the worst projects ever to come before the commission.

Douglas, a former legislative consultant who helped draft the original ballot initiative, has served on or near the commission’s staff from its inception. He was named chief deputy director in 1977, and eight years later was appointed executive director.

Born in Berlin, Germany, Mr. Douglas immigrated to the United States in 1950. He earned a law degree from UCLA in 1969, with an undergraduate degree in psychology. Mr. Douglas has been a guest lecturer, presented University of California extension programs, written numerous articles dealing with coastal management, land rights, and environmental stewardship. He has provided technical assistance on coastal management issues to other countries and serves on the China-U.S. panel on integrated coastal management. He is a member of the first NOAA Science Advisory Board and previously served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science and Policy for the Coastal Ocean. A former local school board member, he also co-founded and chaired two successful non-profit community organizations. In 1984, he led a successful grassroots campaign to enact a special parcel tax to support public schools.

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