Coastal Commission’s Douglas dies at 69

April 3, 2012

Peter Douglas fought many battles during his quarter-century as executive director of the California Coastal Commission, but he lost his fight with throat and lung cancer, succumbing Sunday at his sister’s Palm Springs home where he spent his final days. He was 69. (Sacramento Bee)

Douglas’ passing was noted by former San Luis Obispo County resident and commission spokesperson Sarah Christie. He was appointed to the commission’s top spot in 1985, and relinquished his post last year because of his illness. Before that he had served as the agency’s chief deputy and a legislative aide.

“It was a very difficult decision and it was disease driven,” he told the Associated Press at the time of his retirement announcement. “I’m at peace with it – it’s been an incredible 41 years. It’s been a meaningful, purposeful legacy.”

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I don’t know if he smoked but he’d been fighting cancer for about 6-7 years. When he was first diagnosed, he took a leave of absence to get treatment and everyone thought he was going to retire then. But he bounced back and went right back to work.

The Coastal Commission was his life and he did a bang up job making it one of the most feared and one of the most powerful agencies in state government.

He must have been quite brilliant considering that he co-authored the Coastal Act while working in the Legislature, pushed for its passage by voters, helped draft the enabling legislation that created the Coastal Commission and then got the job of director.

Takes a pretty smart guy to create a job for himself and wind up being canonized by the public.

It will be interesting to see how the Coastal Commission evolves with Charles Lester in charge. I’m told that he is a much more pragmatic person and is more picky in choosing battles to fight. Douglas seemed to pick fights with anyone and everyone.

Does anyone know if he smoked ?

Peter made a positive imprint on the minds, souls and hearts of many people. He made the world a better place to live.

He changed our world. A classy guy and a class exit.

My heartfelt condolensces to those who are touched by this passing. Blessings.

sad day.

R.I.P. Mr. Douglas.