By Judi Curry
I have tried to stay out of the Filner controversy since it started. After all, I was – am – a supporter of his. I have a picture of him with me on my front window, and have cheered him on as he tackles the “good old boys” from yesteryear. To say that I am appalled at the events that have taken place recently is a mild rejoinder. The betrayal that I have felt towards the mayor is pure and simple anger. How could he? He won the election by setting up goals and principles that he is fighting for now.
When Donna Frye gave her first press conference I felt nauseated for hours afterwards. I worked on Donna’s campaign; I respect her more than any other politician I have ever met. And then came her second press conference and I wondered what happened to her. The yelling is so out of character. I was sorry to see her lose her composure.
Then Irene McCormack stepped forward and talked about the things that Filner did to her. She didn’t want any publicity, but she hired Gloria Allred to represent her? I don’t doubt, for a minute, that what she said happened really did happen. But did it happen the way she says it did? I don’t know. I do know that she is a well respected person in San Diego.
And then the interview yesterday from another victim. Let me quote what I took off the internet: “Another woman has come forward accusing San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of making unwanted sexual advances.”
Political consultant Laura Fink told KPBS News in an exclusive interview Tuesday that when Filner was a Congressman he made an inappropriate joke while patting her “posterior” at a fundraiser during the time she was working for him.
Besides the fact that this took place YEARS ago, he thought he was making a “joke.” Many men, put into uncomfortable positions (no pun intended) make what they think are “jokes” only to discover that they are crude, crass, and unwanted. Is this what happened to Ms. Fink? And why is this coming up now?
I have sympathy for the women involved. No one should be put in a position where they have to accept unwelcome advances from anyone, regardless of gender and/or position. There are some women, however, that would not find these two stories sexual harassment. In fact, I know some women that would welcome the attention from the Mayor of San Diego!
The lynch mob that Faulconer and Gloria are trying to put together is as bad as the accusations against the mayor. For the life of me I cannot see how a sexual harassment charge can destroy everything the mayor is trying to accomplish. His goals are still the same – Balboa Park; hotels; Sunroad, etc.
Sexually harassing women – although reprehensible in itself – will not stop those wonderful things taking place that Filner wants to accomplish. No, our righteous councilmen can point fingers and say “we can’t approve ANYTHING that Filner does. After all, he is a “sexual harasser.” Bull crap. And to say that women can no longer meet with Filner alone – whose brilliant idea is that? What if the woman wants to meet with Filner alone? Does that mean she cannot? How many gods are there running San Diego?
People keep saying they are tired of the “due process” statement. Let me tell you about a situation I had years ago. (I have mentioned this before in another article. If you already read it it is worth reading again.) As a principal I had four 6th grade girls come up to me and tell me that they were touched inappropriately by their teacher – a male that had taught for over 7 years. I immediately turned the situation over to the Superintendent of Schools and an investigation resulted in a court case where the girls stuck to their story and the teacher was arrested; given a prison sentence; told he would have to register as a sex offender, and lost his teaching credential.
Four years later one of the girls recanted her testimony and said she was angry at the teacher because he gave her a failing grade on a paper she wrote. The other girls quickly changed their testimony also. The teacher was released from prison but although cleared of the charges, could not get a teaching job anywhere. I do not know if what I heard is true, because I left the school district, but I heard that after a few years he committed suicide. And he was given “due process.”
I do not condone Filner for his alleged actions. We women have worked so hard to be accepted as an equal rather than as a sex symbol. No one has the right to put his hands on anyone if those advances are not wanted. (I can tell you about one of my teachers – female – that made a “play” for me when I was her Principal. She had no right to do that also. And I can also tell you that at one time I made a “play” for one of my male instructors in “fun” except that he didn’t take it the way I meant it. After he told me he didn’t appreciate it, I tried never to do it again – to anyone.)
I think that City Hall can continue to operate in an exciting and challenging mode regardless of the charges pending against our Mayor. Before everyone jumps on the “lynch the bastard” bandwagon, let’s hear the facts. Only then can the electorate make up their minds as to what road to follow.