By Doug Porter
Now that proving Mayor Bob Filner’s is guilty as charged as a masher is just about finished in the San Diego media, the real business at hand is getting underway. I’m talking about a frenzied effort to roll back, eliminate or air brush out any vestiges of the Mayor’s actions in the first seven month of his administration.
Yesterday the case against Filner was bolstered with yet another victim’s testimonial about unwanted advances via KBPS (Ever wonder how they’re always first with all these revelations?) and a story in the Los Angeles Times revealing the woes of Voice of San Diego reporter Liam Dillon, who apparently decided that now was a good time to reveal his own Filner Horror Story.
From the Times story:
Like many reporters, Dillon said he has often found the mayor’s candor and humor refreshing, but he has also had his share of Filner weirdness. Twice, Dillon said, the mayor has gently slapped him in the face for no apparent reason. The first slap occurred after a news conference in December 2011, when then-Rep. Filner received a union endorsement in his quest for mayor.
“I’d never had anyone hit me while I was doing my job before,” Dillon told me. “I was sort of taken aback.” Filner did it again sometime later at City Hall. “I put my finger in his face and said, ‘You’re not allowed to do that,’ ” Dillon said. “It never happened again.”
Of course when you’re posting ledes like this one, you might want to think first about getting too close to a politician you just might have pissed off:
Bob Filner stabs you in the front. And he stabs you in the back. He’s abrasive, aggressive, impolitic, caustic, truculent, brash and, according to one memorable formulation, “the Grand Canyon of assholes.”
There was no word as of late Tuesday as to whether or not Dillon planned to press charges.
The UT-San Diego went for a trifecta, leading with the City Attorney’s latest publicity stunt, a lawsuit seeking repayment of any costs incurred in defending the City against lawsuits, along with reporter Trent Siebert’s continuing efforts to hype up any possible charge against Filner. So many words, so little substance, so much innuendo.
Some Sexual Assault Cases are More Equal than Others
The REALLY BIG STORY everywhere was hizzoner’s request that the City pay his legal fees. Which sounds outrageous on the face of it, if you believe the local press spin. Except that it’s not. The City pays legal fees all the time for miscreants. They even pay for defenses involving sexual assault by city employees who’ve already been found guilty of criminal acts:
Consider this rant from Mary Francis Prevost over at the California Criminal Lawyer blog:
It’s utterly fascinating – and somewhat frightening – that most members of the City Council are calling for Bob Filner’s resignation because of sexual harassment allegations. There’s fire and brimstone coming from every corner. Every politician is jumping over the next trying to get a front row seat on the “Get Rid of Filner” train. You’d think they were REALLY upset by sexual harassment. But they’re not. Each one of them is just as guilty of sexual harassment as Filner.
If Filner goes, so should the highly misogynistic Jan Goldsmith, AND the city council members who recently voted to hand Goldsmith $500,000 to hire two big law firms to defend lawsuits by victims of sexual predator, Anthony Arevalos. Let’s be consistent folks. (Click HERE for an article on the first $250,000 authorization by the City Council.)
That’s right. These very City Council members authorized $500,000 in retainers on two high profile law firms to DEFEND the city and the sexual predator cop against lawsuits brought by the sick cop’s last 2 victims. Now the city attorneys and their high powered firms can further harass, bury, paper and destroy two women’s lives who were already sexually assaulted by a cop the City knew was out there doing it. The cop is in state prison, his supervisors knew what was happening for years, the Chief gave the cop’s supervisors promotions, and City Attorneys are taking depositions of victims, prying into their sex lives, trying to find old boyfriends, trying to scare them. Thanks San Diego City Council for protecting innocent women. All of you Filner haters who voted to continue the emotional harassment of two innocent victims of rogue cop Anthony Arevalos by handing misogynist Jan Goldsmith a blank check are simply two-faced.
So, if the defenders of women’s virtue – the San Diego City Council – want Filner to go, I say “You go with them.” And so should Jan Goldsmith, because he’s complicit with San Diego City Council members who are allowing the continued sexual assault of two innocent victims.
And it’s worth remembering that Goldsmith and the Council were okay with paying the legal fees for Jerry Sanders and the City of San Diego in the case of “unlawful conduct” regarding the firing of a city employee who cooperated with the FBI in an investigation. (DA Bonnie Dumanis declined to prosecute despite evidence of fraud, bribery and conspiracy in the joint FBI/SDPD report)
Airbrushing Balboa Park
So the battering on all things Filner is getting ramped up. One of the Mayor’s early controversies involved the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park. Hizzoner dissed big time donor Irwin Jacobs and a gaggle of ‘civic boosters’ by not supporting a scheme to add a paid parking garage and a by-pass ramp.
Instead of spending tens of millions of dollars to address traffic pattern in the heart of Balboa Park, Filner opted for less than half a million, some traffic cones and creating a new pedestrian friendly space. It’s a work in progress. This week the first batch of tables and umbrellas were added, with more planter boxes and other amenities promised for the near future.
As a park user, I have to say the changes seemed to have great potential. I even made a trip to the Museum of Photographic Arts a couple of weekends back due in no small part to the improved ambiance. But we’ll never know if that potential can be realized if City Councilwoman Lori Zapf gets her way:
From today’s UT-San Diego, (emphasis mine):
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said she had heard from park institutions that attendance and revenue have dropped as much as 20 percent since Mayor Bob Filner ordered the end to parking in the 1.5-acre plaza as of June 10 and turn the space over to pedestrians only.
“What I’ve heard from various institutions that, yes, that’s great and there’s now people there,” Zapf said. “Institutions and restaurants have experienced an immediate drop in revenue because of this, up to 20 percent.”
Her staff declined to name which institutions complained. “They kind of fear retribution from the mayor’s office if they were critical of his plan,” a Zapf spokeswoman said.
Lori Zapt’s campaign to move over to the District 2 Council seat received $1,750 earlier this year from executives from Rick Engineering, the surveying firm associated with the Irwin Jacobs’ Plaza de Panama project. I’m sure there’s no connection.
The Guilt by Association Campaign Continues
The San Diego City Council passed a resolution yesterday implementing what is known as a Prevailing Wage policy for city contracts. While labor and other groups touted the importance of the measure, the vote may have been largely symbolic, given that the State legislature is likely to pass legislation (with bi-partisan sponsorship!) having a similar effect.
Local GOP top dog Tony Krvaric let it be known that this vote was really about Bob Filner, tweeting: “Today’s vote on #union giveaway of taxpayer dollars will reveal which council members still take orders from Bob ‘monster-inside-me’”. So, despite Republican backing on prevailing wages in Sacramento, all four GOP council people in San Diego voted no.
The UT-San Diego’s editorial prior to and coverage after the vote included all the talking points against such legislation. Read their coverage and you’d have to wonder why anybody would consider Prevailing Wage legislation.
The editorial was so bad it got called out nationally by Media Matters:
…the editorial failed to note that a growing body of research has found that prevailing wage laws do not significantly increase government contract costs and provide other social benefits to workers and their families.
What the DC based group couldn’t see from their perspective was the evil aura of all-things-Filner hanging over the city. City Councilwoman Marti Emerald’s statement yesterday strongly condemning the Mayor’s alleged actions got universally dissed by the local media because she failed to call for Filner’s immediate resignation.
The Ultimate Hypocrisy in UT-San Editorials
A newspaper whose publisher has failed to sign off on a waiver protecting taxpayers from potential legal expenses stemming from lawsuits challenging a ‘fee’ scheme for collecting monies to be used for tourism promotion is blaming Mayor Filner because there is no money for tourism promotion. Have they no shame?
It’s Not Over! More NSA Revelations
A few weeks back, at the start of what seems like an endless series of revelations about the activities of US intelligence agencies, for NSA contractor Edward Snowden claimed “I, sitting at my desk, [could] wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.
The denials from Washington were immediate and heated: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do” said Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee.
Maybe not. The Guardian today has a detailed accounting of NSA programs that can do just that and more. All it takes to get around those pesky ‘foreign nationals’ requirements build into the law is simply filling in a few simple drop down boxes on a computer screen. It’s as easy as buying something on Amazon.
Here’s a teaser quote, as the story is long and complicated. And the most chilling of any I’ve read so far:
A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Oh, and there’s this:
The XKeyscore program also allows an analyst to learn the IP addresses of every person who visits any website the analyst specifies.
Extra Special Service at Lindbergh Field
San Diego also made the news this week via a Mother Jones story about TSA searches of cars parked at airports. Here’s the money quote:
A New York woman who valeted her car at Greater Rochester International Airport recently returned to find a notice on her car informing her that it had been searched without her consent. Furious, she got in touch with a local TV station, and the story went viral. TSA quickly put out a statement saying that its agents don’t search cars—but searches can be included in a TSA-approved security plan. Mother Jones has found that not only does TSA approve searches of the trunks and interior of unattended cars in an undefined perimeter that’s considered dangerously close to the airport—like a car left with valet parking—but if a valet attendant finds illegal drugs instead of bombs, they will call the police. Privacy experts say these searches could be a violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights.
“We search every car, we open the trunk and take a look around,” says Saour Merwan, a keymaster at the valet service at San Diego International Airport. “We were told by airport authority to do that, since about two years ago. [We] keep an eye out for something suspicious, like wires and cables. The airport has security regulations and we have to follow them.” Merwan says the service doesn’t inform anyone that they’re checking out the inside of the vehicles, and when asked what he’d do if he found illegal drugs, he says, “Of course we’d call the police.”
On This Day 1928 – MGM’s Leo the lion roared for the first time. He introduced MGM’s first talking picture, “White Shadows on the South Seas.” 1969 – A Moscow police chief reported that thousands of Moscow telephone booths had been made inoperable by thieves who had stolen phone parts in order to convert their acoustic guitars to electric. 1971 – Men rode in a vehicle on the moon for the first time in a lunar rover vehicle.
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!