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Courts: Ex-Mayor's Civil Rights Lawsuit

March 09, 1995

It's been over four years since the city of South Pasadena decided to violate former Mayor Lee Prentiss' civil rights. During this period of extreme hardship for the Prentiss family, they managed to persevere and won one court battle after another, clear up to the state Supreme Court. They have proved to the high court that they were right and the city of South Pasadena was wrong.

Last year a jury voted 11 to 1 to award the Prentiss family damages in the amount of $1.2 million. Recently the judge in that case lowered the award by $700,000.

Although dissatisfied with such a huge reduction, Prentiss reluctantly agreed to accept the judge's award of $500,000. On Jan. 4, the South Pasadena City Council unanimously voted to appeal the $500,000 award.

I suspect that the cadre of attorneys who got fat defending the city over the past four years feel they can milk the cow to death. This is udder foolishness.

Two council members, Dick Richards and Harry Knapp, are holdovers from the body that acted to violate Prentiss' civil rights. Since 1990, three new representatives of the people--Paul Zee, Wally Emory and Dorothy Cohen--appear to have inherited (through osmosis?) the mind-set of their predecessors: Pay the attorneys all the money they want--the taxpayers will never miss it.

ROBERT O. COOK

South Pasadena

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