Don Kinsey has been appointed to a two-year term as chairman of Heal the Bay as part of a planned executive board transition announced today by the regional environmental group.
The move marks the first time that a South Bay resident has held the top reins at the organization during its 29-year history.
Kinsey, who has served on the board for nine years, succeeds Stephanie Medina, who completed her chairmanship Jan. 19. An avid surfer and Manhattan Beach resident, Kinsey is a partner in West Coast Realty Services Inc., a diversified real estate investment group.
A graduate of Harvard Business School, Kinsey has chaired Heal the Bay’s finance committee and played a lead role in recruiting the organization’s new CEO, Ruskin Hartley, who joined in September.
“As a surfer I’m in the water regularly, so I see first-hand the challenges facing Santa Monica Bay,” Kinsey said. “But thanks to Stephanie’s steady leadership and the hard work of Heal the Bay staff and our many community partners, the Bay continues to get healthier, safer and cleaner.”
Kinsey, who has lived with his family in Manhattan Beach for 21 years, is spearheading several initiatives to expand Heal the Bay’s education, community engagement and advocacy programs in the South Bay this year.
“When you think of the South Bay, you think of the beach,” said Kinsey. “So I’m really looking forward to extending our brand and seeing if we can’t get more people involved in protecting what we all love. We can’t take our ocean for granted.”
Under Hartley and Kinsey’s direction, Heal the Bay staff is focusing on several key policy issues this year. Among them:
Upholding the moratorium on oil drilling deep into Santa Monica Bay. The risks from offshore oil drilling could once again become a threat to the health of our local waters. Voters in Hermosa Beach this year will decide whether to allow energy company E&B Natural Resources to conduct slant-drilling operations off the Hermosa shoreline.
Advocating for a regional funding measure that would underwrite numerous multi-benefit, clean-water projects throughout the Los Angeles region. Urban runoff remains the number one source of pollution along our shoreline.
Supporting strict limits on a planned string of ocean-based desalination plants along the California coast. If unchecked, these plants could suck in massive quantities of seawater — and marine life — to meet our region’s ever-growing demand for water.
In other board news, Craig Perkins, president and executive director of the Energy Coalition, has been selected first chair.