"The Cove" Being Felt at the Hump Santa Monica's Sushi Probe
The owner of The Hump, the Santa Monica sushi restaurant where, until recently, an endangered species of whale was on the menu, has already publicly admitted to violating the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Charges have been filed. The restaurant, in its own way, has even said it is sorry, issuing a statement that included the phrase, We sincerely apologize" while also noting, whale meat in Japan is widely served as a delicacy."
Now the question is, What move, if any, will the city of Santa Monica make?"
Because the restaurant leases space in a City Hall-owned building at the Santa Monica Airport, its fate is in the hands of the seven-member City Council, which is set to discuss the restaurant's future in a closed session meeting March 23.
It's already clear the discussion will be lively one, with council members expressing drastically different views on The Hump since the federal charges against the restaurant were announced last week.
In a probe initiated by the producers of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove," which is about dolphin slaughter in Japan, federal authorities obtained evidence they say proves the restaurant was serving Sei whale meat to customers.
Mayor Pro Tem O'Connor told the Daily Press she believes the federal charges, and the potential $200,000 fine, are punishment enough.
Shutting it down I know that doesn't serve the many people who work there and would be out of a job in one of the toughest economies we've had in decades," she said.
There are lots of people with jobs that are going to be hurt and they had nothing to do with the decision to serve the whale. Nothing."
At least one council member sees things differently.
I'm for throwing their ass out today, not tomorrow," the person said in an interview Monday. The council member asked not to be named, citing an unwillingness to discuss publicly a topic that could be the focus of future litigation.