By Norma Damashek
Today I’m on a mindful jaunt through America’s finest sexiest city. Not just ordinary sexy but exuberant sexy... in-your-face, over-the-top sexy. It’s a walk that calls for extra-special noticing (though not much letting go).
I notice that there’s a three-ring circus in town, selling its special merchandise to participants and spectators alike — an exotic brew of beer-soaked hormones, pheromones, secretions, and sundry other exudations.
It’s being peddled on Fiesta Island at the annual beach bacchanal known as the Over-The-Line Tourney — a boozy, raunchy, let-it-all-hang-out display of tantalizing semi-bare bodies engaged in personal pleasures and pursuits and not-necessarily-innocent fun and games.
It was widely available at the LGBT Pride Parade – a comparable extravaganza of raunchy, let-it-all-hang-out semi-bare bodies engaged in the celebration of freedom to be and liberation from the shackles of conventional restraints and taboos.
It’s a staple at the upcoming multi-million dollar Comic-Com International – another wild blow-out promoting freedom from (or on behalf of) shackles, alluring and revealing getups, escapist fantasies, and sky’s-the-limit flights of fancy.
We can call it a concatenation of profligate events — to say it the fancy way. A magical alignment of the moon and stars — if you’re a romantic. A capitalist capture of the lucrative business of selling sex — to be prosaic. It’s a sign of how cosmopolitan, uninhibited, and open-minded we San Diegans are. We’re way cool.
I notice that the same potent brew is fueling another major event in San Diego — a blaring sideshow about sex… raunch… personal pleasures… liberation from conventional restraints… not-necessarily-innocent fun and games. The big difference is that the public isn’t allowed into this one for a for a first-hand look.
This raucous major event focuses on the sex life of our mayor. It deals with the complex balance between consensual and unsolicited sexual conduct. It involves written rules governing permissible and impermissible workplace behavior. It calls upon unwritten rules that mediate between acceptable and loutish social behavior.
I notice that for this notorious event the public is being told to button-up. At the weekend’s other events we actively (or voyeuristically) gyrated our pelvises, bared our bosoms and buttocks, committed bold indiscretions, and whooped it up with abandon. For this event we’re instructed to get modest. Demure. Hear no… see no… speak no… sex.
People are calling for the mayor to resign over accusations of improper sexual advances and smarmy conduct toward many women. We’re told that the women involved are – so far — too frightened and embarrassed to step forward and bring charges against the mayor… not singly, not in pairs, not in supportive groups of five, ten, twenty. Like the old-time big C word, some things are better to keep quiet.
Some people and treasured friends I respect, value, and care about are convinced that demanding the mayor’s resignation based on statements from unnamed “victims” and without due process for the accused is the right course of action. I must part ways with them on this one. I can’t figure out who they’re protecting. From what?
Are they protecting the sensibilities of a score of women who’d prefer anonymity when they relate that the mayor fondled their breast? whispered yucky words in their ear? suggested sex acts they watch daily on popular TV prime-time sex-in-the-city series? put his lips on theirs and tried to stick in his tongue?
Are they protecting the bashful public from witnessing first-hand details deemed too unseemly and too expensive to prosecute?
Are they shielding the mayor from open disclosure and due process to protect him from? from? getting his feelings hurt?
I notice that the group of elected officials calling for the mayor’s resignation is promoting the irresponsible, dangerous, undemocratic precedent of denying a citizen (the mayor this time, one of us the next?) his/her democratic right to due process – formal charges, open and full disclosure, impartial investigations, public hearings. Not one of them is upholding the democratic underpinnings and procedures that got them elected.
I notice that people are asking what will happen if the mayor does resign? Here’s my forecast: after a short period of intense back-room skirmishing among Republican and Democrat contenders salivating at the opportunity to be mayor, Nathan Fletcher will emerge from his cozy Qualcomm waiting room, led by a leash by former labor leader /current assembly member Lorena Gonzales, who will install him on the mayor’s throne.
Fletcher is our man in Havana. He’s a canny chameleon who changes political colors in nary a blink of the eye: Conservative Republican one recent day… moderate Republican the next… Independent after that… Democrat last time I looked. Fletcher can be counted on to bring San Diego back to square one. The way we were…
I notice that people want to know what will happen if the mayor does not resign — if he remains in office when/ if legal charges are filed against him and/or an impartial investigation gets underway? Will the city come to a standstill? descend into chaos?
The answer is No. The public can depend on the city’s unjustly maligned bureaucracy to keep grinding on, no matter what… taking care of business, picking up the trash, fixing the potholes, replacing the street lights, protecting your safety, opening the doors of your neighborhood library. The mayor’s office has finally undergone an overdue top-to-bottom reconstruction – there’s a seasoned chief operating officer and new chief of staff more accomplished and dependable at managing and overseeing effective and congenial city operations and office environment.
As for the mayor — if he does not resign he will undoubtedly continue his efforts at changing the direction of city policy and challenging the entrenched status quo – as effectively as circumstances permit and for however long his tenure in office will be.
From my perspective, the denial of procedural due process for all parties involved in this scandal would qualify as a destructive and far-reaching transgression of basic democratic principles.
Until the decision is made by up-till-now anonymous women to bring formal civil or criminal charges against the mayor, public and private calls for his resignation ought to cease. San Diegans can take it — we’re not so fastidious and shockable that we’d let our basic democratic principles be flushed down the drain when the going gets rough. Are we?
Tom Hunter says
Right on. The right to due process is ESPECIALLY for the worst cases. Lynching should at least be frowned upon. And what great strides forward for San Diego are being threatened? Can’t imagine. OK, the guy may be flawed, but if he is doing a good job for San Diego and ruffling all the right feathers, seems like we could put up with imperfection for awhile. I think his “victims” should show a little class and go public, if they are truly concerned about the safety of other women. Don’t be shy ladies, you should be appreciated if your stories stand up. If you can convince Donna Frye, the rest of us will be a push over.
bob dorn says
Delicious. Sensational. I watched a few of those gelid asses wiggling
through gauze Sunday as my wife and I stood at the gates to paradise
in Balboa Park, too broke to afford the $20 apiece it would have cost
to pass through and ogle some more, and later had the same realization
Gawd, if it weren’t for hypocrisy this town would have no public policy
Lori Saldaña says
Ha! Fave line: Gawd, if it weren’t for hypocrisy this town would have no public policy
Thank you for an astute observation.
Brian Brady says
I’m anticipating your explanation for the endorsement, Lori (asked on Twitter the other night from @mortgagereport)
Dave Chase says
Thank you Norma for thinking this through and sharing your insights with us. I agree with your conclusions about possible outcomes. I was hoping that Filner’s election signaled the dawn of a new progressive era in San Diego politics; and am upset that this possibility is quickly withering on the vine, am pretty sure I don’t want to taste the resulting wine.
John Ledingham says
Filner is no wall flower! I doubt you’d find him sitting much during the dance. He likes to flirt and thinks at 70 he still “has it.” As a mayor who was voted in to get this town, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century, I hope he does “have it” in truck loads. If he really did something that none of us (throw the first stone) have done, throw him to the lions (there’s plenty waiting for him). If not, get over it and move on. Ignore these local politicians. They’re the ones that got us where we are and where we hope Filner will take us away from. He’s rattling their cages, what do you expect them to do!
Judith Wesling says
Brian Brady says
” I must part ways with them on this one. I can’t figure out who they’re protecting. From what?”
From power and retribution from that power. This is the cornerstone of the progressive movement–old, white men inherently abuse others to retain the existing power structure. Is that still true?
John P. Falchi says
Norma Damashek has placed this latest scandal in city government in perspective. The salacious trial by press conferences that we have been witnessing lately may fit into the exuberant sexual environment that is all around us in San Diego as Norma so accurately describes it. However, due process for all of our citizens, including the mayor, is too valuable a consideration to ignore. That’s the direction in which we should proceed.
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman says
Due process for liberal Democrat Mayor Bob Filner? A quaint idea, maybe passe.
Filner’s getting his day in kangaroo court compliments of three “progressive” friends who are acting as prosecutor, judge and jury. Their damning unsubstantiated anonymous charges are eagerly amplified by the pathetic San Diego media that always prefers a slam-dunk press conference to the hard work of authentic reporting. (Los Angeles Times and San Diego Reader coverage excepted.)
You can’t be too careful when one of the herd has been brought down. The lynch posse trio of Frye, Gonzalez and Briggs have hurriedly been backed by a cringing contingent of righteous pols from Filner’s own political party — as well as from many in these pages — who are quick to sum up the damage and write Filner off.
“Destructive transgression of basic democratic principles?” Please, what counts is that “progressives” feel outraged, outflanked and betrayed. And while local “progressives” dither, denounce and get depressed, the Establishment has already had a weekend meeting of fat-cats (see the Reader today) to do whatever’s necessary to run Qualcomm employee and new Democrat Nathan Fletcher for Mayor of San Diego. (If that guy isn’t the Manchurian Candidate, I don’t know my movies.)
Laura E. says
Donna “Tragically Unsafe” Frye is the worst of the lot in my eyes, but the cowardly fellow Democrats who are throwing Filner under the bus are nearly as bad. Republicans don’t care about morality when it will help get them elected or spread their propaganda (hello, Mr. 4-time married Rush Limbaugh and cheaters Newt Gingrich and John McCain), and it hasn’t hurt them one bit.
Case in point, re why I gave up on local TV news, as I noted awhile back in another post. Haven’t got the chops, and DON’T KNOW THE TOWN.
As for all those would-be accusers – if they’ve got it, then let ’em bring it in a REAL courtroom. The only one that matters. Otherwise –