HERMOSA BEACH (CBSLA.com) — The heated debate in Hermosa Beach about whether oil companies should be allowed to drill there just got overly heated with one side comparing the other to Nazis and a flyer blasting the man who came up with that analogy.
The “Committee Against Hermosa Beach Oil” paid for a new mailer that just went out.
The mailer shows an oil company (E&B) representative’s Facebook post saying, “I don’t know a single anti-oil person that wouldn’t have been a Nazi or sympathizer in 1938.” On the other side of the flyer, a large swastika.
KCAL9’s Erica Nochlin spoke to the man who created the dust-up with the controversial Facebook post.
“I’m hardly the first person to post something late at night and cringe at myself in the morning,” Raymond Dussault says.
Dussault said the mailer was in response to nasty messages he was receiving at the time and that he took the post down quickly.
He also said oil company E&B sponsors some of his events but he doesn’t work for the company as his Facebook posts suggest.
An E&B spokesperson confirmed that but also defended Dussault.
They also said in a statement, “We are disappointed that the opponents of Measure O would personally attack a Hermosa resident in a mailer as opposed to discussing the merits of the project.”
“I can’t help but wonder if this was meant as retaliation against me, as a resident, for bringing up what I believe is a violation of the Brown act,” Dussault said.
Not long before the mailer went out, Dussault criticized soon-to-be mayor Nanette Barragan for a Facebook post she had written. The City Attorney even thought the post came close to breaking an open government law.
“It is a slippery slope,” the city attorney said.
Barragan told Nochlin she’s donated to the committee that paid for the flyer but had nothing to do with it. She said she did find the Nazi comment offensive.
While the leader of another group opposed to the drilling feels Dussalt’s comment was offensive he doesn’t think the attack mailer on Dussalt was the right tactic.
“That just creates a kind of tit for tat that takes people’s eyes off the issue,” said George Schmeltzer of Stop Hermosa Beach Oil.
Nochlin spoke to the Hermosa resident who said he was single-handedly responsible for the anti-Dussault mailer. He said E&B should have taken this opportunity to denounce Dussault’s Facebook post instead of defending him.
Voters will get to decided on Measure O in March.