Despite the apparently true saga of Poway Councilwoman Betty Rexford’s use of city staff to go after her neighbors, have the mainstream media picked up on something way worse than that, her demands for a fire truck to be stationed at her house during the devastating wildfires? OHMY.
Read a recent missive from the Recall Rexford effort, as well as Logan Jenkins’ piece from a few days ago for some more compelling details on Cruella DeRexford…
How’d you like to have fire truck at your house during a wildfire? Betty Rexford did!
Betty Rexford’s special privileges know no bounds!
The deeper I dig into the hundreds and hundreds of pages of sworn testimony in the Betty Rexford case, the uglier it gets.
But my most recent discovery takes the cake – according to sworn testimony in the recently settled Federal lawsuit against Betty Rexford and the City of Poway . . .
during the 2003 Cedar Fire, though fire equipment and personnel were spread thin as wildfires raged from the San Bernardino area south to San Diego – and despite the fact that according to published reports Poway Fire Chief Mark Sanchez was left with only 15 firefighters to protect the city’s 49,000 residents – somehow the city was able to spare a fire truck and crew to sit in front of the home of City Councilmember Betty Rexford.
According to the testimony given under oath, the firefighters said they were only there because their boss said they had to be there – and the firefighters weren’t happy about it. The sworn testimony is contained in the deposition of Rexford’s longtime neighbor Robert Heimpel. You can read that testimony here.
Of course, Rexford and the City of Poway recently settled a lawsuit that accused Rexford of abusing her power as a City Councilmember by pressuring city employees to delay and/or deny her neighbors’ attempts to build homes. The settlement cost the taxpayers of Poway over $495,000.00
It was bad enough that her behavior with the neighbors cost the city nearly half a million dollars. Then she refused the unprecedented and unanimous request for her resignation by her fellow councilmembers. Now, we learn that one of the special privileges Rexford enjoyed as an elected representative in Poway was personal fire protection while the nearby homes of hundreds of families less privileged than her, burned to the ground. The thread, through all of this, is that Betty Rexford’s sense of entitlement and arrogance is breathtaking. Every single day, with every new stone I turn over in this mess, I become more convinced she needs to go.
Please use the link at the bottom of this email to forward this information to your Poway friends and neighbors. Encourage them to visit RecallRexford and use the link on that site (in the lower right) to tell Betty how they feel and demand her immediate resignation.
Meanwhile, don’t ever hesitate to contact me if you have any ideas, information or questions.
by Logan Jenkins
Whenever I used to run into Betty Rexford, she made a point of reminding me that I wrote a glowing 1994 editorial (in the late Times-Advocate ) endorsing her for Poway City Council.
What a difference 15 years make.
Today, I’m endorsing Rexford’s resignation.
In the past year, the unsinkable community activist has turned into a pathetic public figure who, for her own health if nothing else, should retire from the stage.
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in Poway, or you’re a careful newspaper reader, you probably don’t know much about a four-term councilwoman named Betty Rexford.
Well, that’s understandable.
As a rule, the City in the Country’s leaders don’t exactly burn barns on council night. In fact, they put conflict-seeking reporters to sleep.
Influential pols have served on the Poway council — San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, for example, and the late Mayor Mickey Cafagna — but memorable ideological or personal fireworks? Not in the rural retreat known for its pro athletes and horse stables.
In San Diego County, Poway has the second-highest number of people living in each residence, but it also has the lowest housing density per acre.
Big families in big houses on big chunks of dirt. That’s the Poway way of life.
Collegial continuity, not edgy conflict, is the council’s M.O. A city manager recently retired after serving 25 years at the pleasure of the council.
With 17 other cities in the county — and one of them a tormented King Kong — you’re forgiven for wondering: Betty Who?
But I’m here to tell you that Poway’s current agony is the stuff of Shakespearean drama.
Rexford’s histrionic sense of betrayal by her perfidious city mirrors King Lear’s by his favorite daughter.
And we know how well Lear turns out.
The bare bones of the plot:
Rexford, a development official and the city were sued by two couples who said Rexford leaned on city staff to obstruct construction of their homes near Rexford’s house.
In August, the battle ax fell.
A judge ruled that the plaintiffs’ evidence pointing to an abuse of power was quite compelling. To contain its losses, the City Council settled with Rexford’s neighbors for $500,000.
Then, in a unanimous vote, the council asked Rexford to go quietly into the good night. She had “irrevocably damaged” the public’s trust, they concluded.
Rexford, in Nevada tending to her dying son, received over the phone the council’s request to effectively end her public life.
Here she was, enduring a terrible personal nightmare, and her colleagues were asking her to fall on her civic sword for the good of the city.
Her angry response (in my poetically licensed words):
Hell, no, I won’t go! You’ll have to drag me off my seat! I’ve done nothing wrong! Go ahead, hate me! I hate you!
Rexford, 67, believes in every molecule of her being that she is a victim of a dark conspiracy.
As you would expect, Rexford has a few die-hard supporters, old friends who place the blame for this unpretty pass on Rexford’s neighbors, Machiavellian council members or the pitchfork-waving villagers who have come out of the woodwork to urge Rexford to resign — or face a recall in June, five months before her fourth term expires.
But Rexford’s friends are doing her no favor by encouraging her to stand and fight to the bitter end.
It may be a close call if she criminally abused her office in this and other cases, but it’s not a close call that at this point, Rexford is so embittered it makes one cringe.
I went to a council meeting last week. It was Rexford’s first physical appearance in some time. During public comments, a parade of Rexford’s critics politely prefaced their remarks with condolences for the death of her son, a loss she had brought up in earlier remarks.
One gentleman began to say that he understood her grief, that he, too, had lost a child, but Rexford angrily cut him off and said: “I would appreciate it if all you people (would not) keep talking about my son and your condolences. I don’t want them. My son wouldn’t want them. So don’t phony-baloney me.”
She later said that anyone who wanted her to resign, a cohort that includes all her fellow council members, could not feel genuine sympathy for her grief.
The human alienation behind such a statement is stunning.
It was the saddest scene I’ve ever observed on a council dais.
If this play isn’t stopped soon, my fear is that Rexford will be found someday wandering the chaparral in a robe, muttering to herself in blank verse.