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Hermosa Beach's oil mess

August 08, 2008

Re "On-again, off-again oil deal sends a small city to court," Aug. 3

I told your reporter that one concern (of many) about the now-defunct Macpherson Oil Co. project was that it set a precedent for violating ocean sanctuary prohibitions. Even if the effects were limited to Hermosa Beach, the project is still unjustifiable on the safety issues alone, never mind the lack of a sound business case to drill.

The fact that Macpherson's lawyers are now asking us to get out our hankies and play the violins shows that they know they have a fatally weak legal case. I am not without personal compassion, but just because the driller's father died, at 79, of natural causes does not mean there is a compelling argument to hand the city's treasury over to these operators.

Rosamond Fogg

Hermosa Beach

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It never ceases to amaze me how arrogant local government can be. Why is the mayor of Hermosa Beach surprised that the city is being held responsible for breaching a contract? Probably because few people injured by city government have the resources to hold the city accountable for its conduct.

Truthfully, too often the courts let cities off the hook for conduct that would not be acceptable for private citizens. We can only hope that Hermosa Beach's experience will be a lesson to other cities.

Pam Schmidt

Los Angeles

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