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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Councilmember Questioned on Role in MHS Lighting Campaign

BY BILL KOENEKER

Former council candidate Hamish Patterson took Councilmember Laura Rosenthal to task for what he claimed was use of her council office to influence outside agencies and other public entities involving the night lights for the football field.
Patterson read from a letter to the editor written by activist Lynn Norton, who indicated she had researched Rosenthal’s communications.
Patterson read excerpts from the letter. “Based upon public records I obtained from the high school, Councilmember Laura Rosenthal coaxed the principal of the high school to have students use their class time writing letters to the Coastal Commission about what night games would fill the need for teen’s nightlife.”
 Patterson went on to read, “When a key light supporter emailed Rosenthal that ‘reliable sources,’ including Jeff Jennings, [said] several neighbors…initially supportive of the lights are no longer feeling that way, given the [story pole]  balloon,' Rosenthal forwarded this to school officials, saying, 'Cheerleaders need to go…alumni too [to the meeting to advocate for lights].'”
“I would like Councilmember Rosenthal to comment,” said Patterson, who also asked City Attorney Christi Hogin to reply. “Is this legal? I would like you to comment,” he said. Hogin did not.
Rosenthal seemed somewhat taken aback.  “I thought we had an understanding. You came and apologized to me and we talked about how it was politics. Now you find some thing to blast me. I don't believe I have the power. It was not an editorial. It is a letter to the editor in which you can say anything. I have no power over that whole group. You can't believe everything you read in the newspaper,” Rosenthal answered.
“Four years ago I brought up telescoping lights. There are no legal telescoping lights in the United States,” she said.
Councilmember Joan House commenting on the letter and Patterson's comments said, “Half truths are the worst possible lies. There was always a group working on the lights,” she added.

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