“Behavior I have engaged in for many years is wrong .. inexcusable”
By Doug Porter
San Diego’s Mayor Bob Filner announced today that he’s entering a clinic starting August 5th for two weeks for therapy. (See analysis by Andy Cohen here.)
This move comes after steadily mounting pressure throughout the week as new accusations of sexual harassment have surfaced, local and national elements of the Democratic party have called for him to step down and members of his administration have resigned rather than work with him.
Yesterday’s two public appearances by Bob Filner were media mob scenes, with reporters jostling each other hoping to catch a sound bite.
Desde la Logan columnist, Brent E. Beltrán was present at the Barrio Logan trolley station as the Mayor arrived for a groundbreaking ceremony on the soon-to-begin upgrades to the Blue Line. In addition to his numerous Tweets and Instagrams, he sent along this report:
Every local (and many national) news outlet, was on hand. Swarming all over the Mayor’s every move, it was if they’d created their own dance — henceforth to be known as the Filner Media Shuffle.
It was quite comical as the news media tripped over themselves hoping to get a quote, even though all knew that the mayor was not in a quotable mood.
The ongoing media obsession with Filner has reduced the fourth estate to the level of the paparazzi chasing after a royal family member or a Kardashian. The media mob not only looked ridiculous, they acted the part as well by practically stampeding the mariachi band was playing at the ceremony chasing Mayor Bob exiting the event.
Too bad these same reporters don’t give a damn about the goings on in Barrio Logan whenever our allegedly lecherous mayor is not making a public appearance. Except, of course, to go to famed eatery Las Cuatro Milpas, which was told to me by at least two cameramen.
KUSI actually got the Mayor on tape at an earlier function, talking about things other than the turmoil surrounding him, and recording hizzoner urging everybody to “take a deep breath” about the scandal.
That deep breath turned into a deep gasp for many later in the day as KPBS rolled out four very prominent San Diego women talking about unwanted advances.
Last night San Diego’s Democratic Party voted 34-6 for a resolution calling upon Bob Filner to resign. Those hoping for a recall vote have announced that, unless the Mayor resigns by 5pm they’re ready to proceed with collecting signatures.
This morning Delores Jacobs, head of The San Diego LGBT Community Center, announced via Facebook that The Center’s board of directors has called for the resignation of Mayor Bob Filner, who has been accused by a number of women of sexual harassment.
And the collateral damage from the ‘scandal by the sea’ continues to mount. People are resigning. Communities and constituencies are (often) bitterly divided.
Local Republicans are doing their best to deepen these divisions, publicly telling former Filner supporters they still “own” last fall’s electoral victory.
“They got him elected, just as guilty”, tweeted one GOP sock-puppet account.
To hear them tell it, every Democrat in San Diego should be branded with an “F” on their forehead. GOP alpha dog Tony Krvarik says that the San Diego Free Press gets a “K” as in ‘#kooks’. (We’re exploring the marketing possibilities of that endorsement.)
Former mayor candidate and Republican-turned-Independent-
And yet the Mayor, the man in the center of all this chaos, remains unmoved.
I repeat what I said last Friday: “Those hoping to shame hizzoner with sordid details and finger wagging have failed to comprehend his obstinacy.”
I doubt his announcement today will stem the tide of denunciation sweeping over City Hall, but Filner’s move will put the political ball squarely in the camp of those seeking a recall.
The San Diego Tourism Authority Blues
Pr man Darren Pudgil is out of a job. And he’s mad as hell about it.
Yesterday he was among the 31 staffers at the San Diego Tourism Authority who were laid off. The cutbacks came as the agency faced up to the reality that their primary source of funding, a 2% hotel room surcharge, was falling vastly short of expectations.
While hotels around the city have been collecting the monies, the city isn’t releasing funding because only 34 (out of 200) of the participating hospitality establishments have signed waivers protecting taxpayers from costly payouts should lawsuits challenging the legality of the surcharge prevail.
Two pending lawsuits, one filed by San Diegans for Open Government by attorney Cory Briggs and the other the UNITE! union group, along with questions by the City Attorney’s office about the legality of the process used to impose the fees/taxes are at the core of the funding crisis.
Shortly after 10am Pudgil took to Twitter to vent, tipping off a daylong back and forth of charges and accusations:“@corybriggs…due to your pending frivolous lawsuit challenging the TMD, the Tourism Authority just laid off 31 employees – moms and dads…”
Briggs, as it happens, is on vacation, but he put down his fishing rod long enough to respond later on in the day, coming back with (among other exchanges) “Every defendant’s definition of ‘frivolous lawsuit’ = a lawsuit that might succeed.”
Later on in the day Pudgil tweeted: “The hoteliers who haven’t signed agreement have done so largely because they simply don’t trust city leadership.”
From the front page UT-San Diego story on the layoffs today:
The indemnifications not only ask hotels to forfeit their right to seek refund requests if the room levy is found illegal, but to also cover future litigation costs in the event hotel guests ask for their money back.
The largest hotel owners, many of them publicly traded companies, have balked at signing the agreements because they would be bound to disclose the potential liability risks to their shareholders. San Diego’s biggest hotels, like the waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt, Hilton San Diego Bayfront and the Marriott Marquis & Marina, fall into that category.
Isn’t UT-San Diego’s ‘Papa Doug’ Manchester’s Del Mar Grand on that list also? I think it is. So the owner of the newspaper that wants to ‘help rebuild our city’ isn’t brave enough to cough up his share of the tourism money.
Maybe Pudgil should send Papa Doug a note.
Into The Spy World: We Promise No Torture
Here’s the latest on ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who’s reportedly considering accepting an offer of asylum from the Russians.
Here’s the lede from the Washington Post:
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has told a Russian official that the United States will not seek the death penalty for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who released classified documents to reporters about U.S. surveillance and has been holed up in a Moscow airport.
Here’s the lede from Reuters:
The United States has made a formal promise to Russia not to torture or execute Edward Snowden if he is sent home to face charges of illegal disclosing government secrets, and the Kremlin said Russian and U.S. security agencies are in talks over his fate.
What does it say about our country that we’ve gotten to the point where torture is a point of discussion with a country like Russia?
Congressional Stupidity Part 1
Just to make you feel better about San Diego, here’s the latest from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Wednesday wherein he compared the civil rights of African Americans and other minorities to the rights of animals during a House Judiciary Committee hearing:.
From Think Progress:
Gohmert made the remarks as the panel considered a bill that could “prevent federal regulatory actions from being implemented.” Currently, the federal government relies on consent decrees to settle lawsuits from advocacy organizations challenging agencies for failing to take regulatory action or missing statutory deadlines. The GOP-backed bill would allow anyone whose rights are affected by the decree to intervene in the settlement, significantly delaying the action.
He then proceeded to mock Democrats’ concerns about minorities by joking that they were interested in protecting the liberties of snails and other animals:
GOHMERT: There is nobody in this chamber who is more appreciative than I am for the gentleman from Tennessee and my friend from Michigan standing up for the rights of race, religion, national religion of the Delta Smelt, the snail darter, various lizards, the lesser prairie chicken, the greater sage grouts and so many other insects who would want someone standing for their religion, their race, their national origin and I think that’s wonderful.
Congressional Stupidity Part 2
Meanwhile, over at Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) office, via The Hill:
A small group of young immigrants advocating for citizenship delivered a pair of cantaloupes to Rep. Steve King’s Capitol Hill office on Thursday, protesting his depiction of immigrant children as drug runners with “calves the size of cantaloupes….”
“Today we wanted to talk to the congressman to tell him that the comments he is making are unacceptable, that our legs are not the size of cantaloupes, that even if they are, we are not drug runners, that we are here as students and he needs to stop making these comments,” said Maricela Aguilar, a 22-year-old who lives in Wisconsin without legal documents.
But King wasn’t backing down, despite being almost universally condemned for his remarks. Via Think Progress:
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) defended his claim that undocumented youths are drug mules with cantaloupe-sized calves on Friday, telling The Laura Ingraham Show that he would not apologize for the remarks. King’s claims have sparked outrage across the political spectrum, leading House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to distance himself from the Iowa Congressman.
But King refused to back down and argued that his comments were based on the personal experience of dealing with people crossing the Mexican-American border.
“That description comes from many days down on the border, riding and sitting with the border patrol and without them at night, no night vision, watching the shadows come across the border, picking people up personally with my hands, unloading illegal drugs out of a vehicle with a false bottom under the truck,” he told Ingraham. “I mean this is a personal experience and I sit there at night and border patrol agents would come to me one at a time in their civil clothes and talk to me clandestinely…This description is the description from that kind of experience.”
On This Day: 1775 – A postal system was established by the 2nd Continental Congress of the United States. The first Postmaster General was Benjamin Franklin. 1947 – U.S. President Truman signed The National Security Act. The act created the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 1968 – John Lennon and Paul McCartney completed the song “Hey Jude.”
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