An attempt by Los Angeles city attorney candidate Murray Kane to delay approval of a controversial provision in the Pacific Palisades oil drilling agreement between Occidental Petroleum Corp. and the city was denied Monday by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Kane had asked the court to prevent Acting City Atty. Gary Netzer from signing off on a legal provision designed to shield the city from damage awards should landslides occur on the bluffs overlooking Occidental's drilling site.
Kane, who is opposing four other lawyers in the city attorney's race, has used the Occidental agreement with the city as one of the key issues in his campaign. Kane has said the shield provision, known as an indemnification agreement, does not fully protect the city from liability.
Under the agreement, Occidental would shield the city only if it could be proven that the cause of a landslide was a drainage system to be installed on the bluffs by the oil company. Although he refused to hold up the signing, Judge Irving Shimer said "common sense" would dictate that the city await the further studies that Kane suggested in his lawsuit.
"What's the rush,?" the judge asked Deputy City Atty. Julie Downey, representing Netzer.
Downey denied that the city attorney is rushing to approve the agreement. However, she said the City Council wants the agreement approved before the drilling plan is submitted to other agencies, such as the California Coastal Commission.