The Mayor's office has confirmed the common reading of those events: Debbie Lestitian exercised independent judgment, and for that she was removed.
I don't know Debbie Lestitian, so in that case I'm going solely by what I read in the media. I can add a personal observation, however, to today's coverage of city boards and their members.
Debbie Lestitian isn't the only person being pushed aside; Zoning Board of Adjustment member Alice Mitinger hasn't been reappointed. Is this a case of Lestitian-like retribution, given that she wrote the opinion that concluded that the city's approval of the Grant Street electronic billboard was improper? That opinion that produced a 1-1 vote on the Board, which the Court of Common Pleas just held properly put a stop to construction of the billboard. (
The Mayor's office says "no":
Ms. Doven sought to make a distinction between the zoning board moves and the decision to end Ms. Lestitian's tenure on the stadium panel.
"The mayor didn't agree with Debbie's decisions on the board," she said. "He has a vision for development on the North Shore and she doesn't agree with his vision, so it shouldn't come as a surprise."
"I wouldn't make a similar point about the [zoning board] changes," she added.
Here's my supplement. I don't know Debbie Lestitian, but I do know Alice Mitinger. While she needs no defense from me, I'll note that she is skilled, smart, accomplished, and independent -- precisely the sort of individual that the Mayor should want to continue to serve the City. That's partly because she's committed to serving and serving with integrity, and she has done so already. It's also because inviting people of that caliber to serve the City speaks well of the City itself, as a place and as a government that isn't afraid of what intelligent, committed citizens have to say -- whether or not her not being re-appointed is payback for the billboard affair.