Mr. Bobko and Mr. diVirgilio should be commended for settling the nagging questions and pestering concerns of those in Hermosa Beach who differ and dispute the settlement reached by the City Council with MacPherson Oil and their successor E and B Natural Resources.
I applaud that the City Council invested in mock juries to determine whether they had a chance of winning at trial. After repeated attempts to discern if their defense could past muster, the City Council determined that they had no real luck, and that a costly appeal would be fruitless against a judgment in the plaintiff's favor.
The members of the Council were also wise to seek out the help of a retired federal judge, who determined with careful analysis that filing for a municipal bankruptcy perhaps would have done more damage to the beach community than seeking a settlement. Because this jurist had overseen the bankruptcy proceedings for Orange County, his opinion was well worth heeding.
Because of the passage of time, because of the financial issues which still overwhelm Hermosa Beach, Bobko and diVirgilio, with the rest of their elected colleagues, decided to forgo an outrageous trial and seek a quick way out. They came up with a solution which may annoy environmentalists, but at least permits the residents to choose how the settlement will be decided with the rest of the community.
In the future, municipal councils must take every precaution to evaluate the sense and sensibility of investing in extensive contracts with private companies. The intersecting environmental, political, and economic issues which have come to a point with these issues all suggest that the voters should have made the final decision as to whether the City of Hermosa Beach would entire into contractual negotiations with an oil company in the first place.