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How about a Doric column?

Your reckless disregard for the truth sunk to a new low in your “From the publisher” column last week. This forces me for the second time in a month to correct your misstatements of fact. If this keeps up, I’ll need space for a weekly column.

City Attorney Christi Hogin was not fired as your editorial implies. She was not “asked to resign” as the Fourth Malibu City Council (1996-98) “asked” former City Manager David Carmany to resign in 1996. Ms. Hogin made the decision to resign. Per the terms of her contract, approved by the Third Malibu City Council (1994-96), Ms. Hogin was entitled to a compensation package including earned, unpaid wages, notice (pay in-lieu of), accrued, unused sick leave, unused vacation and unused administrative leave and severance pay. This totaled $118,000.

In addition, since Ms. Hogin served as Malibu’s first full-time city attorney for five years, the City Council asked her to remain as a legal consultant to our new city attorney until January, 2000. I am very pleased that Ms. Hogin agreed to our request, which clearly demonstrates her commitment to the city she served for nine years. For that service, the City Council agreed to pay Ms. Hogin the equivalent of her annual base salary and COBRA benefits since the amount of her time needed to perform her legal consultant responsibilities to the city is unknown and could pre-empt her ability to seek and secure full-time employment during this transition period. This compensation offer totaled $109,000. Added to the aforementioned contractual obligations to Ms. Hogin, incurred by a contract approved by a past city council, Ms. Hogin’s total compensation package is $227,000.

As to your “supposed” reporting that I “cut a deal” with Mayor Walt Keller and Mayor pro tem Carolyn Van Horn to remove Ms. Hogin as City Attorney in return for their endorsement of my 1998 candidacy, well, obviously your imagination is overheating again, Arnold. There was no such deal. But, I’ll file this false accusation away with all of the others you’ve leveled against me over the years. It’s grown to be quite a collection. There was your classic 1994 fib-a-roo that claimed I said I’d take the mobilehome park rent control ordinance all the way to “the Supreme Court.” I never said such a thing. Your 1997 Big Whopper was that I told the Los Angeles Times the city of Malibu was “going bankrupt.” Not only did I never say the city was going bankrupt, but you can imagine my surprise when the Associate Press reported you were the source for the bankruptcy quotes. That revelation was certainly an eye-opener into how you operate.

Of course in last year’s election you went into spin cycle overdrive claiming (1) I didn’t want Kanan-Dume Road re-opened (Wrong again — I supported its re-opening from its initial closure in 1996); (2) You claimed I was Keller and Van Horn’s puppet (I’m nobody’s puppet, Arnold, as my voting record clearly demonstrates, and, of course, least of all your puppet, which I suspect is the cause of much of your misreporting); and (3) My ’98 election would mean the city’s intergovernmental relations would die. Frankly, I inherited an intergovernmental relations mess thanks, in part, to your constant badmouthing of the city of Malibu to anyone who’ll listen. I’ve led the effort on this council to hire two experienced lobbyists to help us actually get results. In fact, just three weeks ago, I spent the day in Sacramento with our lobbyist meeting state legislators trying to do just that.

Finally, your remarks last week at our City Council meeting where you claimed “we all know” that the city attorney’s resignation was “tied in” to the current 1998 campaign finance investigations and prosecution was not only out of line for a supposed “objective” journalist, it clearly demonstrated, once again, your obsession with this issue. For the record, as I have told you repeatedly, I publicly recused myself from any City Council deliberation on this subject last year in order to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest although I legally did not have to do so. And I have refrained from even inquiring about any city prosecutions (code violation cases, parking tickets, etc.) including the camping finance case.

Your constant spin doctoring is substance abuse, Arnold. The community deserves factual, fair and balanced reporting from the publisher of this newspaper, not a weekly malicious prosecution in the court of public opinion. Ironically, the only one “gagging” a free and fair press in Malibu is you.

Tom Hasse

city councilmember

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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