The City Council hired the Los Angeles law firm of Talcott, Lightfoot, Vandevelde, Woehrle and Sadowsky to defend the city on a misdemeanor charge of violating the Endangered Species Act.
The charge, filed last week, accuses the city of eradicating the Palos Verdes blue butterfly. Found only on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the blue butterfly larvae fed exclusively on locoweed. One of its last known habitats were plants that were destroyed when the city developed a baseball diamond in 1983 at Fred Hesse Community Park on Hawthorne Boulevard. The butterfly is now believed to be extinct.
City Atty. Steve Dorsey recommended the firm, which specializes in federal criminal law. The city will plead innocent to charges on Monday, said Mayor Melvin Hughes. He expects the case to go to court within two months.