Southern California environment news and trends

Port of Los Angeles director lauded with conservation award

madlyinlovewithlife (away for a bit...)/Flickr

Cargo cranes at the Port of Los Angeles.

It has been announced that Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, is among the 2012 recipients of the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards, specifically for “Excellence in Solutions.” The awards “celebrate outstanding achievements that lead to the protection of our coasts, oceans, and the communities that depend on them.” The Blue Frontier Campaign, a marine conservation group that works for the betterment of America’s coasts, presents the annual accolades.

The awards are named after the late author and famed conservationist Benchley, famous for penning such 1970s best-selling books as “Jaws” and “The Deep.” Knatz was chosen to receive the "Excellence in Solutions" award for her continued dedication to improving environmental efforts since being named Executive Director of the port in 2006.


Pebble Beach close to environmentally conscious compromise?


Actor Clint Eastwood is among the owners of Pebble Beach Co.

After years of contentious debate, the prestigious Pebble Beach golf property is confident the California Coastal Commission will approve a new development plan.

Under the heading of the last development proposal for Pebble Beach ever, the plans include a new 100-room hotel and restaurant, up to 90 new homes and expansions of the existing Lodge at Pebble Beach and Inn at Spanish Bay. The proposal also protects 635 acres of Monterey pine trees. The Coastal Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal this Wednesday. 

What the plans do not include are any new golf courses. As reported by the Oakland Tribune, the Coastal Commission shot down a 2007 proposal that included a new 18-hole course and would have leveled as many as 18,000 trees.

The storied grounds are co-owned by Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer and former Major League Baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who laid the groundwork for this new proposal through meetings with the late Peter Douglas, longtime executive director and defining presence of the Coastal Commission who died of complications related to lung cancer last month.


Directors David and Josh Lamb grab a final chat with Coastal Commission's Peter Douglas

Lamb Brothers/OWN

Peter Douglas at the Carrizo Plain

I blogged a lot about Peter Douglas before The Madeleine Brand Show did their conversation about him yesterday. I've been thinking about Douglas quite a bit. As they might say on the streets of Baltimore, his name rang out. For me that started during law school, when I learned about key decisions at the California Coastal Commission and the legal reasons for them.

For directors David and Josh Lamb, that started when they were researching people to put on an Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) video short series. They came to him at the end; David Lamb says the duo called Douglas during a retirement party. By the time the Lamb brothers met the "really engaging" Douglas, he was on hospice care, but still met them at the Goodwin Ranch on the Carrizo Plain National Monument.  

"My impression of Peter was that he had a quick wit,  was articulate and well spoken and had a passionate love of the landscape although he had slowed down quite a bit even then," David Lamb says. He calls Douglas "contemplative," aware and accepting of being attacked. "He said there were six hard full fledged attempts to remove him from his position at the coastal commission."


Peter Douglas dies: Longtime director and defining presence of California Coastal Commission was 69

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Peter Douglas, executive director of the California Coastal Commission, is shown at in his office in San Francisco on Wednesday, March 30, 2005.

A spokeswoman for the California Coastal Commission is saying that Peter Douglas, the longtime executive director and defining presence for the commission, died on Sunday in Southern California at his sister's house from complications related to lung cancer. The Washington Post writes that Douglas "spent a quarter century fighting to keep much of the state’s 1,100 miles of coastline natural." He was 69.

For a lot of Southern Californians, the San Onofre Toll Road issue made Douglas somewhat of a household name.

After he said he was stepping down from his seat as the executive director, Douglas emailed me to say he couldn't do an interview. I regret that. My native Californian life was just a bit shorter than the life of the institution he was around from the very beginning. I wrote a couple of additional posts about his announcement. And last August, I dedicated a Song of the Week to the commission, to Douglas, and his adversaries.