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P-G: Council tentatively approves paying legal bills
Trib: Council says taxpayers should pick up legal bill
KDKA: City Council votes to pay controversial legal bill
"I don't care if it's one dollar. We can't just dismiss this concept of [not] using city funds for private purposes," [Dowd] said.
Huh? The council members were defending their obligation under the Code to represent their constituents on zoning matters that clearly fall under the Conditional Uses category -- and were doing so in the pointed absence of any assistance from the city Law Department. No one has yet alleged what the council members "personally" stand to gain from any of this.
Mr. Shields suggested that [Mr. Dowd] was a "straw man" for Lamar throughout the billboard battle.
Unlikely. If anything, Mr. Dowd was acting as a straw man for himself and his own position as the Lone Ranger in the legal dispute against Lamar et al. Aesthetically and even tactically, he may have a point that it would have been preferable to handle the protest appeal as a private matter, with a humble attorney and no legal pyrotechnics -- but that is his own judgement call. That is very different from saying, "You are raiding the public purse for your own benefit, and you ought to be barred from considering it."