Would More Development on the Coast Be Such a Bad Thing?

For Charles Lester, it must have felt like a strange way to get fired.

The gym was packed on Feb. 10 with hundreds of people: environmentalists in Patagonia fleeces, surfers wearing flip-flops, aging hippies in flannel shirts — so many people that fire marshal Steve Knuckles had to make an announcement to clear the doorways.

They came from up and down the coast of California, wearing stickers and holding hand-painted signs: “Leave Lester Alone,” “I Support Dr. Lester,” “MORE LESTER.” Someone even brought a surfboard with carefully spray-painted lettering: “DON’T $ELL OUT OUR COAST.”

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