By Doug Porter
The City Council is on August recess. The Mayor is getting his head examined—one hopes from within, at least. And the campaign to get rid of Bob Filner continues, having failed to do much more than foster a gaggle of press conferences, one civil lawsuit, a nascent recall movement and whole lot of nastiness.
There is, of course, The Shame. Let’s face it; the Mayor is a masher. As Daily Show substitute teacher John Oliver put it, there’s a lot of “ewww” there. Admitting that there is a problem and doing something about it, however, are two vastly different things.
While the rollout, timing and (probable) coaching of the assorted witnesses against Bob Filner may not be a coincidence, denying that the Mayor has a problem doesn’t solve anything. I suspect he’s done enough denying in his lifetime to cover any quota imaginable.
Questioning the veracity of those women in comments around town won’t do squat either, except making the writer of the comments look bad and the Mayor look worse.
At this point the only arbiter of truth that counts is a judge or jury. And despite what some people would like us to believe, Trial by Twitter has not yet taken the place of our judicial system.
Bob Filner won’t back down under fire. It’s just not in his DNA. I didn’t coin that phrase, former Mayor Jerry Saunders did recently in a UT-San Diego interview. The current Mayor grew a thick skin during his civil rights years (a couple of months in prison will do that to a person) and has learned to suppress the urge to flee when confronted with threats.
You Must Be Evil
The “Mayor’s gotta resign” people around town are looking increasingly like they were plucked from a novella about the Salem witch hunts, i.e., “What? You haven’t renounced Satan yet? You must be evil, too.”
For an example, we’ll turn to VOSD
part– time ‘freelancer’ and fulltime comment troller Randy Dotinga:
Hey, has anyone seen Filner apologists Don Bauder and Nicole Murray Ramirez in the same room? Just curious.
— Randy Dotinga (@rdotinga) August 5, 2013
Both of the aforementioned human beings are not without frailties. But the mocking of them for supporting the Mayor is illustrates the kind of self-righteous faux morality inherent in this movement. It’s ‘he’s bad (Filner), so we get to be bad, too’. And this isn’t one sided. There’s been plenty of venom coming from the other side of the tracks.
At this point I choose “none of the above”. For many of these folks, that’s the same as saying you’re on the ‘other side’. I’ve been given the distinct impression that’s not an option.
After two years of urging people to attend and participating in the VOSD Politifest, I had no interest in attending this year, knowing full well from reading the points of view expressed by the panelists and promoters that there would be no room for the point of view that demanding resignation may not be a good or even the only answer.
Like many San Diegans, my point of view on hizzoner has evolved as the picture has become clearer. I hate the sins, but not the sinner. And because I truly care about what happens to the city, I’m not willing to subscribe to the “everybody knows” fan club.
Recall, which at least gives the people a say in the matter, isn’t likely to work.
The chances of any San Diego effort to recall succeeding are virtually nil. The bar to qualify is set high and any five dollar lawyer can tie it up in court for years.
As SDFP’s occasional contributor Jay Powell points out:
…my understanding of the court decision that the City Attorney and Council believe they need to fix is that it is unconstitutional to not let registered voters in the official jurisdiction vote on each matter separately. In essence they are two different issues on the same ballot: A. Do you want to recall the official? B. who do you want to vote for other than the current person holding that office from the list of those who have qualified as candidates. you can vote for A or B or A and B.
You can vote yes or no on A and still get to vote on the B list. They apparently have corrected State law to comply, but San Diego is still out of compliance. Regardless of whether that makes sense to you, it is apparently the law. The real fun will come as to whether it is constitutional to change the city rules in the middle of an official’s term (ie, I ran for the office and got elected under this set of rules…)
While we’re at it, I’d like to dispel the notion, propagated by some in the media, the recall leader Michael Pallamary is some kind of “land use consultant”. The guy has a decades old grudge against Bob Filner as evidenced via a posting over at SDRostra as part of a memoriam for deceased conservative activist Jim Sills. And I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg.
You Want Him Out? Here’s an Idea..
Assuming our Mayor has a problem and it truly is in the best interests of our city for him to resign, how does one get him to step aside?
The answer is not to threaten him in what he sees as his role of defender of the downtrodden.
You might, on the other hand, get away with promising that good governance will occur without him. Say it in a believable fashion (i.e., anybody but Todd Gloria or Jan Goldsmith mouthing the words), give Filner a way out that doesn’t increase (or at least abates) his legal problems and he could be gone.
The real work here would be defining good governance. A package of proposals and a commitment to back them, combined with a promise to not simply restock city hall with Jerry Sanders’ cronies might just do the trick
It wouldn’t be a fast process, but it’d be faster than any of the other choices available.
And it ain’t gonna happen.
Because the people pulling the strings here (Donna Frye, et. al., are really no longer players) won’t let it happen. His bad behavior has been a convenient excuse; the Recall Filner website domain registrations were done more than seven months ago.
Over the next few weeks we’ll see a Pandora’s box of bad policy being threatened (or enacted) in the hope Filner will back down. It’s gonna be almost as cringe inducing as watching those assorted women describe his conduct.
It’ll be like “Resign Bob or we’ll shoot this cute kitty”. Not literally; maybe something more subtle, like bulldozing Balboa Park. Or one of Carl DeMaio’s big donors announcing that he’s laying off employees because nobody wants to vacation here. You get the picture…
Speaking of dear Carl, word on the streets is that the (GOP leaning) Tarrance Group is polling around town looking to see if voters are sufficiently incensed to swallow their fears of the Dark Lord.
So Many Questions…
UT-San Diego ran a lengthy interview with Lee Burdick on Sunday, the Mayor’s latest chief of staff that actually made her (and by default the administration) sound reasonable. It was damn sweet of them to do so after putting columnist Logan Jenkins on the front page last week suggesting all the key players left at City Hall were some kind of quislings and urging them to resign. To hear Jenkins tell it, the Mayor’s so guilty he doesn’t even deserve a lawyer.
Here’s a snippet of the Burdick interview (Do read the whole thing!):
Q: At least one critic of Walt Ekard’s decision to accept a job as Filner’s chief operating officer described it as “enabling a monster.” Do you consider yourself enabling a monster?
BURDICK: “No, I do not. I would never characterize the mayor as a monster and anybody who does is engaging in the worst form of hyperbole. He was elected by the citizens of San Diego because of the values and the vision he presented and I am standing up for those values and that vision. I know that the legal process and the mayor’s defense is going to play itself in time and we’re going to know the right thing to do at the right time. But I refuse to jump to conclusions because the mayor may have a challenging personality, that he’s done anything wrong. I just refuse to go there. I think that’s contrary to his right to confront his accusers, which he has not done, and to build an evidentiary record on which a fair and just decision can be based.”
Then there’s the Voice of San Diego interview with former Filner chief of staff Vince Hall. I was biting my tongue so hard while reading it I thought it’d bleed. What a self-serving load of crap:
Hall said that he had long heard infidelity rumors involving Filner, but McCormack’s comment in the June 20 staff meeting was the first time he had heard any allegations of sexual harassment against the mayor from his staff.
Hall, who had worked for the mayor on and off since the late 1980s, said all he heard before becoming mayoral chief of staff was that Filner was a “womanizer” and that he never confronted him on any of those rumors.
“The mayor was my supervisor,” he said. “We never had a personal conversation about any personal issue.”
I’m wondering if any of the folks (some of whom are amongst the Mayor’s accusers) who actually had to work with this man will step up and refute this balderdash. From what I hear, (and, yes I’ve heard plenty, from multiple sources) the truth of the matter is in another universe from the city hall world Hall described. Sadly, I got all this info on background some time ago, so all I can do is jump up and down and flap my arms.
Sore Losers, Again
As if picking a (mostly) losing slate of candidates last fall was enough of an indignity, word’s out that UT-San Diego publisher Doug Manchester feels that he got the short end of the stick in his attempt to buy the Boston Globe.
From the Boston Herald:
A losing Boston Globe contender is claiming his San Diego media company outbid Red Sox owner John Henry — and would have gone even higher — a bombshell allegation that he says could delay the deal and leave the New York Times Co. open to shareholder backlash.
“We bid significantly more than Henry,” said John Lynch, the CEO of U-T San Diego, one of the Globe finalists. “At the end of the day, I’m certain our bid was higher and could have been a lot more higher if they had just asked. I’m just stunned. I thought this was a public company that had a fiduciary duty to get the most by its stockholders. … From the beginning, I don’t think they wanted to sell to us.”
Sometimes life’s about more than money. Maybe they should try a political breath mint next time.
Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar
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On This Day: 1957 – American Bandstand made its network debut on ABC-TV. The show was hosted by Dick Clark. Until this day the show had been a local show in Philadelphia. 1963 – The Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed by the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union. The treaty banned nuclear tests in space, underwater, and in the atmosphere. 1981 – The U.S. federal government started firing striking air traffic controllers.
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