Offshore Drilling Advisory Measure on Hermosa Ballot
In addition to a City Council election next week, voters here will be asked to vote on an advisory ballot measure on whether oil drilling should be allowed in Santa Monica Bay.
The measure, which has not been an issue in any of the City Council campaigns, is intended to send a message to Washington that Hermosa Beach residents oppose proposals by the federal government to allow oil and natural gas exploration off the California coast, according to Councilman Gary Brutsch, who proposed the measure.
The ballot measure asks voters if the federal government should be allowed to lease federally controlled tracts in the bay for offshore-platform oil and gas exploration. A yes vote would approve leasing, a no vote would oppose it.
The local measure will have no legal effect on leasing decisions made by the federal government, but supporters said a series of similar measures in Santa Monica Bay cities could persuade legislators and federal officials to exclude tracts in the bay from leasing discussions.
Brutsch and Councilmen Tony DeBellis and John Cioffi signed a ballot argument urging voters to vote no on the measure. All of the candidates for City Council, except for Mayor Jack Wood, also favor a no vote.
“The Santa Monica Bay is used my millions of boaters and swimmers annually,” the councilmen wrote. “We . . . contend with the beach tar from the Chevron tankers and the pollution outfall from the Los Angeles Hyperion plant. We do not need further pollution from offshore drilling operations.”
There has been no organized effort to promote a yes vote on the measure, although Mayor Wood, who is seeking reelection next week, was opposed to placing the measure on the ballot. Wood said the city is too small to exert influence on the issue, and said he feared approval of the measure might be misinterpreted by state officials as opposition to onshore drilling.
As a result, Wood said, the measure could jeopardize efforts by the city to gain state approval for its onshore drilling plans.
Brutsch and others, however, have said the two issues are not related.