E&B FACT CHECK: County Tax Assessor Opinions Questionable

Rick Auerbach, retired L.A. County tax assessor, gave his opinion on Hermosa property values and the Hermosa oil project.

  1. Auerbach is not a realtor.
  2. In 2010  Auerbach endorsed John Noguez for Los Angeles County Assessor, and said “I strongly endorse John’s candidacy for Los Angeles County Assessor and know he will continue to treat both taxpayers and employees fairly and with respect.   In 2013 John Noguez was hit with more felony charges and was “accused of orchestrating a wide-ranging pay-to-play scheme, were hit with a dozen new felonies Monday charging them with illegally lowering taxes on three more commercial buildings.”  As of November 2014, Noguez is still awaiting trial.

The city’s own Cost Benefit Analysis said that property values would be negatively impacted.

E&B FACT CHECK: “Trust the Scientists” Ad

There a 2 areas where this ad is misleading.

  1. Canadian company Intrinsik’s definition of “significant” means permanent illnesses occurring throughout all of Hermosa.  The HIA lists MANY health impacts, including the possibility of death. If you read the details of the HIA, it is not a healthy project for the people who live, work, and visit in this area. Click here for the detail from the Health Impact Analysis (HIA) and to listen to Intrinsik actually making a joke about death from this project in a city council meeting last year.
  2. As for the Robert Kennedy Jr. comment in the ad (regardless of your opinion of vaccines), there are a couple of things that are wrong.
    1. Robert Kennedy Jr.is NOT the leader of the anti-vaccine movement.
    2. Robert Kennedy Jr.was quoted today as saying:  “I am pro-vaccine. I had all six of my children vaccinated. I believe that vaccines have saved the lives of hundreds of millions of humans over the past century and that broad vaccine coverage is critical to public health. But I want our vaccines to be as safe as possible.”  While many disagree with him on banning thimerosal in vaccines, this has NOTHING to do with the health and safety risk of this oil drilling project and has nothing to do with the upcoming discussion on environment in which Robert Kennedy Jr. is a panelist, among many panelists.

E&B FACT CHECK: On the “Day at the Beach” ad

Over 80% of the petroleum products we use are used for fuel.

A very small amount of oil is used to make plastics.  In the U.S. plastics are not made directly from crude oil, but from Natural Gas Liquids, Liquid Petroleum Gas, and natural gas.

As we move to renewables for energy production, hybrid and electric vehicles, the military exploring seawater for jet fuel, etc., the demand for oil will continue to soften.  So there are plenty of other sources in places far from homes, like in North Dakota, that can supply the oil used for “stuff”.

Barrel of Oil EIA

Click image for source article from the U.S. Energy Information Association

E&B’s PR Firm: Specialists in Lobbying, Crisis Management, Litigation Support, Advertising

With the recent press releases and ads that have become more and more outrageous and false, let’s meet the man and PR firm behind it all.Word PR on newspaper

Eric W. Rose is a partner at Englander Knabe & Allen PR firm. It’s his name we see quoted in the press.

One case study on the PR firm’s website highlights the City of Whittier and how they influenced the city council to vote for oil drilling. Here are some quotes from Englander Knabe & Allen on their Whittier strategy:

  • Wrote signs that said “Our Family Supports Whittier’s Future”.  — Comment:  Sounds like E&B’s “Protect Hermosa’s Future” signs/citizen’s group.
  • “Through our program we were able to find local spokespeople who agreed to sign letters to the editor and who also agreed to comment at the public hearings of the Planning Commission and the City Council.”Comment:  Hmmm…. Wonder if E&B’s supporters are writing their own letters and ad statements or just signing what E&B wrote.
  • “Our program not only increased citizen awareness of the project, but it provided the appointed and elected officials with the “political cover” they needed to make the right decision.” — Comment:  Interesting statement on the “political cover”. The Whittier city council voted 5-0 in favor of the oil project.

Unfortunately for the oil company, later the LA County Board of Supervisors rejected the project, and it’s now on hold.  “The supervisors voted unanimously to deny the city the change in use from habitat preserve to oil and gas drilling operation on land bought by county taxpayers.”

As of January, 2015, the city of Whittier plans to defy the county and drill anyway, says the Wittier Hills Oil Watch Group.

Not only do we need to vote “No on O”, but we need to also support our city officials who are also “No on O”.

— Comment: Wonder if E&B was really behind that ballot argument lawsuit. It seems highly unlikely a resident, who is not a specialist in election law, could have raised the argument and paid the lawyers and court costs.