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South Bay Digest

P. V. Estates : Peafowl Costs Pretty Penny

December 12, 1985

Peafowl are pecking at the city treasury, and City Council members expressed frustration this week at the lingering quarrel over the freely roaming birds, which are friends to some residents and foes to others.

Councilman Ronald Florance said the city spent $11,440 in October in attorney fees related to the peafowl issue. There are 57 now so the cost is about $197 per bird, said Florance, adding that the bill was for 101 hours of work at $109 an hour.

Mark Allen of Burke, Williams and Sorenson, the Los Angeles law firm that does city legal work, said most of the charges were for representing the city in Los Angeles Municipal Court after a pro-peacock citizens group sued to block the city's plan, approved in September, to trap bothersome birds.

In a settlement in October, the city agreed to conduct an initial study on whether trapping will affect the environment, and the court delayed trapping until the study is completed. A few days later, nine peafowl were found dead, victims of arsenic poisoning.

"I want to get this thing behind us," said Mayor James Kinney following a staff progress report on the study. He said the council will decide Jan. 8 whether the city has to conduct a full environmental impact study or whether it can declare that the plan, which limits the number of birds that may be trapped and removed from the city, will not significantly affect the environment.

Members of Friends of the Peacocks, which argued in its suit that removing peafowl is an environmental change requiring study under state law, have said they will insist that a full study be conducted.

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