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Call it an insurrection, an uprising, a rebellion; what else could you call it when four out of a five-person city council demand the resignation of one of their own?

That's what happened in Poway on August 18.

It was on that night that councilmembers Carl Kruse, Jim Cunningham, Merrilee Boyack, and Mayor Don Higginson emerged from a late-night, closed-door city council session and called for long-time city councilmember Betty Rexford to walk the plank over allegations that she used her pull at city hall to interfere with a neighbor's construction project.

In a prepared statement, the four councilmembers claimed the allegations had "irrevocably damaged" public trust in the city council, not to mention cost the City nearly $500,000 to settle the case and pay for legal fees.

"It is clearly inappropriate for any city councilmember to interfere in the city's administrative functions...even the appearance of self-interest is unacceptable," read the August 18 statement.

For that, the statement continued, "It is with great sadness that we ask Councilmember Rexford to consider stepping down from her position on the Poway City Council."

But, Rexford is holding fast and not willing to abandon ship.

On the same night the council released their statement, the four-term city councilmember attempted to quell the unrest with a statement of her own.

"I was very pleased to learn that the City has settled this lawsuit," reads the statement. "I hope that the media and the public will not jump to a conclusion that because the settlement involved a payment to the plaintiffs, the accusations against me were justified. It is also worth remembering that no judge and jury found me to be at fault."

Rexford concluded the letter saying: "I feel my personal reputation has been unfairly tarnished. Nevertheless, I am pleased to be able to put this painful distraction behind me and to now move forward in serving the citizens of Poway as a City Council member."

Councilmember Rexford was out of town and not available for comment.

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Comments

poff Aug. 21, 2009 @ 11:42 a.m.

I would like to have seen some more about the construction project and lawsuit.

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Visduh Aug. 21, 2009 @ 12:28 p.m.

It needs to be noted that the lawsuit was filed in federal court as a civil rights matter. The local federal judge, in a preliminary ruling, made some strong comments about the evidence that would be taken to trial. That is, she said the case had strong merit and refused to dismiss it. Rexford was part of the settlement, agreeing to pay a part of the total award. If she really believes that "the accusations against [her] were unjustified", then why did she agree to the settlement?

The Poway City Council has generally avoided such incidents in the past. This harassment of Rexford's neighbors was a long, drawn out affair, and calls the council into discredit. While other cities in SD County have had things like this and worse, this is the first for Poway, and Powegians hope it will the the last.

The City of Poway folded; it is now time for Rexford to fold.

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PistolPete Aug. 21, 2009 @ 3:50 p.m.

As much as I find all the fault lies with Rexford,I don't agree that she should step down. Isn't that what the voting process is for? We ALL want due process. We all deserve due process. Why is she any different? Let time run it's course and if the majority of voters feel that the city image has been tarnished and it's Rexford's fault,they'll fire her. It shouldn't be done in a closed door meeting. Politics in this county makes me want to punch babies. When is the American public going to grow a set of balls and take back THEIR cities by force via the polls? I digress though. Most voters not only have their heads up their a$$es,they are too busy voting for America's Next Top Model and America's next Idol....

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