From the Union Tribune:
Houlihan sues, says neighbor defamed her with big sign
By Angela Lau
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
October 12, 2006
ENCINITAS – Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan filed a lawsuit yesterday against a neighbor, alleging he defamed her by using a vulgar term to describe her on a large sign he put up in view of traffic on Interstate 5.
Houlihan is seeking unspecified damages against Russell Bowman, owner of American Landscape and Tree Services Inc., located across the street from Houlihan's home on Union Street. The lawsuit asks the court to stop Bowman from erecting defamatory signs.
“It was not a statement related to a matter of public interest,” said Ken Cariffe, one of Houlihan's attorneys. “This is libel.”
I'm not a lawyer but I think Bowman crosses the line from free speech and making a political statement to slander but attempting to state "Houlihan is a whore" because he can't prove this statement. It's, like his opinion man. Are opinions protected under free speech? Yes, so it's a sticky one. Can he prove Houlihan is a whore? Is there a legal defination of the word whore?
He was referring to the latest and most controversial of a series of anti-Houlihan signs put up since last year on Bowman's 5-acre property, which faces the freeway.
The latest sign, about 72 square feet, called Houlihan a “whore.” It was removed Tuesday after being displayed for 10 days.
If I'm not mistaken Houlihan is married right? I don't think I would have the self discipline to keep myself from beating the living shit out of Bowman if I were Maggie's husband. I know Bowman is a crackpot who has lots of guns and that Houlihan is a public figure so you gotta handle this the right way...but sheesh.
The size of that sign and others on the property violated city codes, and code enforcement officials cited Bowman in August and again last week. The municipal code limits personal outdoor signs to 16 square feet and business advertisements to 32 square feet.
The city also issued three citations between February and August for grading violations that Bowman has not corrected.
Instead of erecting the signs Bowman should have contacted Barratt American CEO and North County Times columnist Michael D. Pattinson so he could have been written up as a hero just like Rosa Parks. link
The City Council met in closed session yesterday to discuss the violations. Afterward, the city attorney announced that the council had authorized the staff “to move forward to full compliance, including but not limited to filing a lawsuit if necessary.” Houlihan did not participate in the meeting, he said.
The large signs on Bowman's property in recent months included several that read “Vote No Houlihan.” Those remained in place yesterday. Three large crosses, which fell under regulations for “structures,” had been removed.
Jesus H. Christ on a stick, this is some serious drama. He should have left the Jesus up there, I kinda liked him.
In an e-mail and subsequent phone interview this week, Bowman said Houlihan used her position to prevent him from developing or rezoning his property to build low-income housing.
He also said he never painted or erected the anti-Houlihan signs and that they were put up by Latinos offended by remarks she had made toward them.
Okay, maybe he paid some "latinos" to erect the signs but comon' dude, you can't weasel out of this now. This is so lame is just sad. Normally when a douche bag in the news puts one on a tee for me to knock out of the park I get giddy but this time it's just too pathetic to bother with.
He claimed the councilwoman had uttered racial slurs at his family and threatened to use eminent domain to turn his property into a bird sanctuary.
Uh yeah, I really see the council given that one a majority vote.
Houlihan said Bowman's charges are “100 percent untrue.”
“My neighbor is Mexican-American,” she said. “I love my street. The proof is in the ethnic mix on this street.”
Some of my best friends are black people. Really, Houlihan shouldn't even have addressed this.
She said she has recused herself from deliberations related to Bowman, who has addressed the City Council more than once in the past year.
This is the most important part of the story. Bowman is so dense he can't figure out that A. the rest of the city council doesn't like or listen to Houlihan anyway and B. SHE DIDN'T FREAKING VOTE ON HIS ISSUE.
In February, the council agreed to his request to overturn an earlier city decision, made in response to neighborhood complaints, revoking his right to operate a landscaping and greenhouse business in a residential neighborhood.
In September, the council denied his request to almost triple the permissible building density on his property.
Left out of this story is that Bowman falsified documents and that councilman Dalagher admitted to knowing this at a council meeting (that was a classic surreal Danny moment).
Yesterday, Bowman's attorney, Larry Marshall, said his client has offered to stop putting up large signs and to post a $50,000 bond while he corrects the grading violations within one year.
I was thinking somebody should hire some of those lame housing development sign twirlers to stand at the end of Union St in color coordinated outfits and signs that read BOWMAN IS A DOUCHE BAG.