New Councilman Takes Hot Seat - NBC 7 San Diego

New Councilman Takes Hot Seat

John Mullin takes over for ousted Rexford



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    John Mullin was sworn in as the newest member of Poway's City Council on Tuesday and was welcomed with a standing ovation from his supporters.

    Then a few minutes later, he was promptly scolded by a citizen, who reminded him that there were thousands of people who did not vote for him during a contentious June election.

    Such is the life these days of a city council drawing attention for all the wrong reasons.

    Mullin was elected to replace Councilwoman Betty Rexford, who became the first person to be recalled in Poway's 30-year history. Mullin defeated Poway resident Steve Vaus by a mere 103 votes, according to Poway's City Clerk, who officially certified the vote count at Tuesday's council meeting. Vaus was the man who led the recall drive against Rexford.

    Rexford served four term and 16-years on the council before she was accused of improperly interfering with a neighbor who was attempting to develop property by her home. The council settled a lawsuit for about $500,000. Rexford declined to step down from her position despite requests from numerous citizens and fellow council members.

    Rexford was also accused of having two fire engines posted near her home during the 2003 Cedar Fires. Ironically, in a letter written by Poway's City Attorney on Tuesday, it was ruled that the fire engines were dispatched properly.

    "Its a portion of our history that is there, but I want to return to the attitudes where the council collaborates, the council works together, that we know what's best for Poway and we just need to do that," said Mullin, 60, a painting contractor.

    But minutes after taking his new seat on the council, a citizen stepped up to the podium and reminded him to be mindful of the thousand of voters who stood behind Vaus and the recall effort.

    Mullin will fill the remaining five months of Rexford's term and then plans to run for reelection in November.

    Rexford, who technically was still a member of Poway's council until Mullin was sworn in, did not show up for the meeting. She did not return phone calls for comment.