March 30, 2012
by Ken Stone

“It’s shameful that you would try to marginalize and detract from [her] legacy,” he tells council.

The husband of late Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan has blasted the City Council for covering up her image on the backs of banners hung on lampposts as part of the Arts Alive program, according to a report in The Coast News.

“It’s shameful that you would try to marginalize and detract from the legacy of a woman who made so many contributions in so many ways to this community, especially in death when she is no longer able to defend herself,” the paper quoted widower Ian Thompson as telling the Encinitas City Council at its Wednesday meeting.

The Coast News reported:

Organizers of the Arts Alive banner program, a decades-old tradition where local artists create works of art on banners to hang on street side lampposts and later auction off, sought to display a likeness of Houlihan, on the backs of the banners only to be denied by City Manager Gus Vina during the permitting process. The banners received the necessary permits after organizers decided to place a blue vinyl sticker over Houlihan’s image, which could be removed once the banners came down.

The Encinitas-based paper said attorneys for the Coast Law Group and ACLU warned the council that its decision amounts to ‘viewpoint’ decision-making and is a violation of the First Amendment.”

Livia Borak, an attorney at Coast Law Group, was quoted by The Coast News as saying:  “These rules cannot be made on the spot, they simply cannot.”

Houlihan, first elected to the council in 2000, died in mid-September at age 63 after a battle with endometrial cancer.