I didn't know Peter Douglas, but I knew his work.
The longtime executive director of the California Coastal Commission has died after a battle with cancer. The best tribute to him might be a nice walk along the beach.
Indeed, access to the sea is, in California, a constitutional right. But it is a right that is always under pressure and challenge from property owners, developers and others. Douglas did battle with such groups over the coast throughout his whole career.
He helped write Prop 20, the 1972 ballot initiative that established the coastal commission to govern, and protest, California's coast. In 1985 Douglas became the body's executive director.
His battles were legendary. And the coastal commission wasn't always right, and didn't always win. But it served as a crucial counterpoint to the tendency by those with means to lock up slices of the coast for themselves.
The LA Times obituary on Douglas is here.