By Doug Porter
As newspaper executive John Lynch told a civic group not long ago, the Mayor Filner story is the gift that keeps giving. And over at the UT-San Diego they’re taking that message seriously. It’s Filner Everywhere. Even in the sports section.
A search yesterday on the UT website turned up over a dozen stories with Sunday publication dates. There were side by side stories on the front page questioning who his remaining supporters might be. A newish poll was referenced three times in the printed edition. There’s even an editorial calling for an expedited process for getting rid of Mayors We Don’t Like.
And, if you follow any media, be it national, local, traditional or social, ‘everybody knows’ that the only possible outcome will involve Mayor Bob Filner leaving office, either by resignation or recall.
Today I want to question what ‘everybody knows’. I’m not saying the Mayor should or shouldn’t resign. I’m saying he won’t.
Recall? Ain’t gonna happen,
due to a law that’s stayed in the San Diego City Charter for more than a decade after the courts struck down a similar statewide law UPDATE: the provision in question tying a recall vote to a vote on a contender is in the Municipal Code, not City Charter. While charter changes require a ballot proposition and voter approval the city council can readily change the muni code with a majority vote.
Neither political party is willing to put financial or human resources into a recall effort. Oh, and then there’s the pesky provision in the current recall law that says another recall can’t take place for six months if one fails…guess what?
There are two recalls out there right now. One is probably a bogus effort. So if one just happens to fail (and it will) and file first, well, it’s just tough luck. Even if both were serious, the probability of one going over the 102,000 signature mark is very slim.
Six months from now the likelihood is that Mayor Bob Filner will still be working out of the 11th floor at city hall.
There’s two reasons for him to not to quit.
First, any resignation prior to settling the legal difficulties facing hizzoner exposes him to more financial risk.
Secondly, Filner’s character structure (usually described in the media as his willingness to fight) says to me that the last thing he’s gonna do is give up when the going gets rough.
Oh, I can hear it now: “What about it’s the best thing for the city?” Filner can’t and/or won’t hear that argument over the chorus of boos.
Maybe six months from now, his guard will come down and he can have a measured conversation about what’s best. Right now he’s in fight or flee mode. And history shows he’s never thought about the second part of that option.
An article by Donald Harrison in San Diego Jewish World covers the kind of approach that might influence the mayor. The trolls in the twitterverse and the self-righteous outrage by editorial writers simply won’t be heard by the likes of Bob Filner.
Once it becomes clear that shaming or guilt for his behavior towards women won’t unseat the Mayor, the campaign to undermine him will be forced to revert to the game already in progress when this issue arose.
Increasingly desperate political opponents (as differentiated from his legal opposition-i.e., the women involved) will mount a campaign to further besmirch his official presence.
The currently popular (and sad) story of local tourism employees being given the boot qualifies as exhibit A. Lost in the din of cries at the Filner administration are the questions raised by the City Attorney about the legality of the “fee” system at the root of the Tourism Authority’s funding crisis.
Never mentioned in any of the UT-San Diego coverage was the possibility that taxpayers would be forced to cough up tens of millions should pending litigation not go the city’s way. Or that the publisher of their newspaper is one of the hoteliers who is refusing to sign off on an agreement protecting taxpayers. I guess laying off librarians and life guards due to lack of funding is more acceptable than laying off press agents and marketers to the hospitality industry.
And the tourism gambit is just the beginning. Before it’s over Filner could be blamed for just about anything, including a bad season by the Chargers.
We’re All for a Strong Mayor, Unless We Don’t Like Him
I’d be remiss in my roundup of today’s news if I didn’t take just a minute to laugh out loud at Sunday’s editorial in the local paper:
What’s needed is a charter provision that would allow the council to remove a mayor, a city attorney or one of its own through a supermajority vote following formal public hearings at which the case for and against removal could be made and debated. Faster, transparent, less-expensive due process.
The strong-mayor form of governance does not need to be eliminated to rid the city of an elected leader who violates the public trust in extraordinary fashion. But it does need to be fixed, even if it can’t be done in time to do anything about the current lout on the 11th floor of City Hall.
For those of you who weren’t around, the “strong mayor” form of governance was the wet dream of local conservatives following the successive scandals in city government during the last couple of decades. Now they’ve got what they wanted and it’s out of control…
Progressives Call for Primary Challenges in Local Congressional Races
Congressmen Scott Peters and Juan Vargas are both identified as fair game for challenges from the left by the nascent “Primary Colors” group in a pre-launch publicity blitz for their new web site today.
Here’s the pitch:
Want to trade in your conservative Democrat for a better one, but nervous that your liberal hero will lose to a Republican?
We’ll clear up this process for progressives with a new scoring system that prioritizes targeting Democrats too conservative for their district with primary challenges. And we’ll give you some powerful new tools to deliver a more progressive Washington D.C.
The scoring system referenced lists Rep Scott Peters as ‘should be’ and Rep. Juan Vargas as ‘could be’ challengeable by a progressive candidate in 2014 primaries.
Here’s how they say they arrived at these designations:
We arrive at these primary scores through a two-step process: First, by weighting and averaging various partisan scores like DW-Nominate, Progressive Punch, and National Journal, we get a very clear picture of each member’s voting habits.
Then we compare that value to other members representing similar districts in the current Congress. This is crucial, since members aren’t being judged against some woolly progressive ideal. A Democrat representing a district with a D+4 partisan lean is compared to other Democrats in D+4 districts — and the more conservative they are than those colleagues, the higher their primary score.
This, along with the rest of our methodology, creates an algorithm which allows activists to find out where they can replace Democrats too conservative for their state or district with real progressives — with little to no fear of losing to said seat to Republicans.
As much as I might like to see a more progressive congress, I have to wonder what these folks were smoking when they came up with their algorithm. Sometimes nothing beats spending a little time in the voting districts you’re proposing to change.
Congressional Republicans Target California
There was an excellent article in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times detailing coming efforts on Capitol Hill to undermine state regulations on workplace safety, consumer protection and environmental quality. States Rights are good for the Teahadists in DC except when they interfere with profitability of the billionaires backing them, so it seems.
Now some of those companies, banking on congressional gridlock and sympathetic Republican leaders in the House, are fighting back. And officials in Sacramento worry that some of the state’s landmark laws may be in danger.
At the top of their worry list is a measure with bipartisan support that would strengthen federal environmental laws on dangerous chemicals, but at the price of rolling back a pioneering California law that tries to protect consumers from the most toxic materials. State leaders are scrambling to fend off the bill, which they say is written so broadly that it also could undermine California‘s clean water laws and its effort to combat global warming…
…”I have a state that wants to set the bar higher,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), who helped write several major Californiaregulatory laws while serving in the Assembly. “On human health, on animal cruelty, on all sorts of things. The federal government should be supporting that. But there are some industries that are on a race to the bottom.”
Rush Limbaugh is Having a Bad Week
I’ve been saving the really good news for last…
From Think Progress:
Cumulus Media, the second-biggest operator of radio stations in the nation, is planning to drop Rush Limbaugh, according to a report from POLITICO.
Last year, over 140 advertisers severed their relationship with the Limbaugh program after the host launched a series of sexist attacks on women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke. Cumulus carries Limbaugh on over 40 stations, including WABC in New York, the nation’s largest market. Losing the New York market could damage Limbaugh’s ability to sell national advertising at all, according to some experts.
Cumulus, according the POLITICO report, will also drop Sean Hannity. In 2012, nearly 100 advertisers also dropped the Hannity show, which features a similar brand of caustic right-wing talk.
Limbaugh recently acknowledged difficulty selling ads, complaining ad buyers are “are young women fresh out of college, liberal feminists who hate conservatism“:
Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar
Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltrán, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line: email@example.com
On This Day: 1914 – The first transcontinental telephone service was inaugurated when two people held a conversation between New York, NY and San Francisco, CA. 1958 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was authorized by the U.S. Congress. 1963 – Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Blowin’ In The Wind” was released.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
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@