Poway City Councilmember Betty Rexford was forced to listen to her accusers Tuesday night in what is shaping up to be a bitter public fight.
Even her own party has disowned her.
Poway Councilwoman Betty Rexford was asked to resign by her fellow councilmembers in August after she was accused of abusing her power and hindering neighbors' construction plans. Monday, the local Republican party leadership rebuked Rexford for her behavior.
On Monday, the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of San Diego voted to rebuke Rexford for "inappropriate behavior and abuse of power" and has asked for her resignation,Tony Krvaric, chairman of the party in San Diego told the North County Times. The decision came after Rexford declined to appear before the committee to tell her side of the story.
Council members made the request to Rexford after a closed session on Aug. 20. Rexford was in Las Vegas at the time, visiting her critically ill son, but listened to the meeting by phone and said at that time that she would not step down.
A lawsuit was filed in 2007 by Rexford's neighbors Allen and Dawn Basile and Nathan and Rachel Cannon, the North County Times reported. The suit named Rexford, her husband, Paul, the city and former Development Services Director Niall Fritz as defendants. The homeowners claim Rexford made numerous complaints about their projects and pressured Fritz to interfere with their construction plans. The lawsuit cost the city about $500,000.
Rexford, who is up for re-election next year, defended herself in a letter to the News Chieftain newspaper.
"I think it is important for the public to know that the amount of the settlement was based upon a reimbursement of the plaintiff’s legal fees, which I understand were approximately $364,000 prior to the settlement. There was no payment for damages," Rexford wrote. "Furthermore, the attorney litigating in behalf of the City has told me that there was no evidence presented to establish that I was at fault. Although the judge found that the case should not be thrown out and the plaintiffs should be allowed to have their day in court, there never was a finding of guilt or impropriety on my part or the part of any City employee."
In late August, a letter of intent to recall Rexford was served to the embattled councilwoman, reported the Pomerado Newspaper Group. That effort is being spearheaded by Steve Vaus, a longtime Poway resident and recording artist who has been nominated twice for Grammy Awards, according to the news group.
"This is a case where all indications are someone crossed such a well-defined line that, as a local citizen, I can't sit back and ignore it," Vaus told the local paper.
Rexford was a member of the party for 18 years until this week when she filled out paperwork to switch parties from Republican to undecided.