Claremont Insider: Act II

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Act II

There are no second acts in American lives.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tanned, rested, and ready...
However, Claremont, being a sovereign nation, offers up as many chances at redemption as its nobles need. Case in point, the comeback of one Karen Rosenthal (photo, left), a former Claremont mayor. After a long hiatus, Rosenthal was back on the Claremont political scene this year as a member of Joe Lyons' campaign committee.

In addition to hosting Lyons' campaign night party, Rosenthal was in charge of hospitality for Lyons' campaign. Those of you who were around when Rosenthal was mayor can appreciate the cognitive dissonance induced by the sight of Rosenthal's involvement in Lyons' election. While mayor, Rosenthal was best known for her eye rolling behind the dais when she disagreed with some speaker during public comment at council meetings. Rosenthal's official nastiness exceed even that of her fellow Weird Sisters Ellen Taylor and Sandy Baldonado.

Rosenthal's letter prompted this response by one of our readers:
Date: Sat, March 12, 2011 7:38:08 PM
Subject:the one thing at lyons4citycouncil that made me laugh out loud was listed under the "campaign committee" heading

Karen Rosenthal

If you are at all familiar with Rosenthal's history, you know that her defense of smear tactics is consistent with her remarkable ability to rationalize just about anything. In 2003, it was Rosenthal's heavy-handed mismanagement of the Irvin Landrum shooting that prompted voters to reject Rosenthal's reelection bid. Ever resilient, Rosenthal has from time-to-time tested the waters to see if people had forgotten how badly she behaved while on council.

Lyons' success has apparently emboldened Rosenthal's post-election renaissance. After the March 8 election, she had a letter in the Claremont Courier justifying the smear campaign on councilmember Opanyi Nasiali by a group that included members of Lyons' campaign.

Rosenthal was back in the council chambers Tuesday night, berating council member Corey Calaycay and trying to imply that he's a misogynist. Claremont's mean girls are using this as an opportunity to knock Calaycay down a peg or two and to soften up the ground for their next campaign. The Courier's Tony Krickl describes how Calaycay's comments about the diversity on the council are being twisted into an attack on women:
At the ceremony, he applauded the ethnic diversity of the new council. He also pointed out its geographic diversity since the 5 council members all live in different parts of town.

But he didn’t mention that there are no women on the council; a fact not lost several women sitting in the audience. It’s the first time since 1962 that Claremont doesn’t have a female councilmember.

After Calaycay’s remarks, a few women in the audience remarked about the lack of female council members and didn’t like that Calaycay pointed that out. Even though he actually didn’t.

As Krickl points out, these latest attacks by Rosenthal and her fellow former mayor Judy Wright (photo, right), prompted Calaycay to apologize for remarks he didn't make. One of our readers commented on the fact that Krickl rightly noted that the lack of women on the present council is quite possibly a result of the lack of women candidates (a total of two women versus nine men in the last two elections). Our reader also remarked that the missteps of mayors Wright and Rosenthal may have contributed to the council's present gender disparity:
Date: Wed, March 23, 2011 12:41:09 PM
Subject: Corey Calaycay

So I just read on the CourierCityBeat blog that apparently Karen Rosenthal and Judy Wright took exception to Corey’s remarks about diversity. Perhaps, as the CityBeat pointed out, if more women ran there would be a greater chance of having a woman on the Council. Or perhaps it is a case that the voters are smarter than Karen and Judy think……the matriarchs of Claremont didn’t do all that wonderful a job and perhaps women candidates lose because of that association in the voters’ minds. Perhaps they are thinking……well, how much worse could it get…..might as well give the guys a chance. After all, both Karen and Judy had their shot. Judy during the Orange County debacle, if I remember correctly, and Karen during the Landrum affair where her greatest achievements were opening her mouth and pouring gasoline on the fire.

[FYI, Claremont, with Wright on the council, invested and nearly lost $5.4 million dollars when the city used reserve money to buy into the failed Orange County Investment Poll in the early 1990's. After five years of litigation, the City got its principal back but lost out on that many years of interest on the money.]

The powers of rationalization possessed by Claremonsters like Judy Wright and Karen Rosenthal never cease to amaze us. For instance, we recall that one of the other items that caused voters to reject Rosenthal involved her husband's medical practice. Dr. Michael Rosenthal ran a birthing center in Upland and was twice disciplined by the Medical Board of California, once in 1997 and again in 2001. The first action resulted in a five-year medical probation. The second resulted in the revocation of Dr. Rosenthal's license.

LA Times reporter Tipton Blish covered the story:
The board accused him [Michael Rosenthal] of mishandling three abortions in 1999, when he was running his own Upland-based Family Birthing Center serving women with low-risk pregnancies.

He admitted to the board that he misled patients, lied to another physician, failed to reveal an abnormal pap smear result, failed to perform an ultrasound on a patient who had already delivered four babies by caesarean section, and started an abortion procedure on a patient in her second trimester.

At the time, Rosenthal was on probation for two other incidents, one in 1986 and one in 1992. In the latter case, medical board prosecutors said he gambled that a pregnancy would be without incident and didn't tell his patient that he had lost his privileges in San Antonio.

His privileges were revoked after his insurance company stopped his malpractice coverage in 1992.

Never mind that the medical board complaints state that Dr. Rosenthal was self-prescribing himself Prozac while he was operating his birthing center, that he failed to notify his patients that had no malpractice insurance or no hospital privileges, or that when serious complications arose in a couple procedures, he dumped the patients at San Antonio Community Hospital's emergency room.

No, for the Rosenthals, the biggest concern wasn't the medical board's findings or Dr. Rosenthal's treatment of the patients listed in the complaints, but rather, personal responsibility be damned, that their reputations remain untarnished, which is ever foremost in the minds of our Claremonsters. The Tipton Blish article conclude with a pair of quotes from the Rosenthals:
"The single biggest thing is embarrassing Karen," he said. "I have resolved this in my own mind a long time ago.... For myself, I just don't care."

Karen Rosenthal defended her husband, saying that none of the charges were ever proved in court.

"He is a great doctor. He delivered over 5,000 babies and is very well loved in the community," she said.

* * * * *

It's not too hard to see where all this is headed. This isn't about gender disparity on the Claremont City Council. This is all about Plan B for getting former Assistant City Manager Bridget Healy (image, left) on the council. Healy, who lost badly in 2009, desperately wants her own second act. Plan A, spearheaded by failed candidate Robin Haulman, didn't work out, so now the Claremonsters are trying to claim that we need more women on the council. They plan on arguing this for the next two years and then offering up exactly one woman, their woman, to run in 2013.

What they don't get is that as long as they keep offering up the wrong women, their candidates are going to fail. Not because voters don't like women, but because the rest of Claremont isn't quite as stupid or forgetful as the Claremont 400 would like them to be.