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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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Judy Swink says
Hi, Doug. I’d like to offer a small correction to your statement on when the first transcontinental telephone service was inaugurated. The 1914 date is correct if you’re being literal as that is when the first transcontinental telephone *call* took place as a trial. But it was January 25, 1915 before transcontinental telephone service inaugurated publicly. See
I learned this when, about 15 years ago, I researched a different question about the year that the U.S. made the first international connection to Mexico. Well, to my amusement, I found out it was just the reverse – it was Mexico that initiated that connection, in about 1936 or ’37 (don’t recall the exact year) per a detailed article in a 1938(?) Baedeker’s tour guide. I also learned that the last local telephone company to change from switchboard operators to direct dial long distance was in the late 1940s – Catalina Island.
Doug Porter says
Hot damn! I’m thrilled to be corrected. It means that somebody out there shares my love of historical stuff.
Bill Luther says
I do appreciate you reporting and suggesting the recall effort mounted by the ardent supporter and political appointee of the Mayor was probably bogus. So much for the due process argument our Mayor makes. Due process for him but not the electorate he represents. This is really sad. It has been reported that the gentelman responsible for the potentialy bogus recall effort bosted about it to a friend who became incensed enough about what she heard she has gone public. But then shes just a woman and it’s just hearsay until she has her day in court. YUCK (and I mean yuck not…..)
Doug Porter says
“So much for the due process argument our Mayor makes”
Got any evidence that the Mayor is himself behind this? No?
This conversation would be a lot more productive if we had some facts at hand.
Bill Luther says
I never said the Mayor was behind this, just his political appointee. I just pointed out the the Mayor wanted due process which by the way I agreed with up to the time of this Friday statement where in my opinion he has at least pleaded “no contest”. Now I think he still deserves due process of course, but not while still being my Mayor.
Tom Hunter says
I like hearing about “what if he stays?” which to my mind is the logical conclusion. My god, his sins are not the end of the world. He was elected to do a job and now Todd Gloria gets to be mayor? Hell no! The UT gets to show what a bag of wind it is and jump up and down and cry. Well, it gave Obama a few news cycles of rest. Filner pissed off the powers that be by kicking DeMaio’s ass. Live with it people.
Bill Luther says
“His sins are not the end of the world” You sound as if he is guilty of the charges brought against him? Let’s just suppose he is guilty of putting his hand down that women’s blouse and all of the other charges. The world won’t end of course so it’s OK I guess.
This is too outrageous to make up. Saturday afternoon at Hamilton’s in South Park someone over heard me in a conversation that I voted for Filner and threw their beer in my face and went on to tell me what a piece of worthless s*** I was. His friends promptly grabbed him and took him out of there. It smelled like Sculpin IPA. What a waste of good beer.
An outraged Alan Alda feminist – at Hamilton’s? I’m sure.
It was a guy sporting Navy Diver t-shirt so probably not a feminist.
Bill Luther says
I agree, waste of good beer. Navy Diver tee shirt, probably a hand me down. The divers I know would never waste beer. Just kidding, really sorry that happened to you but I am glad you had enough sense not to waste your beer too. Cheers , can I buy you a beer?
It could have been. You never know. Perhaps he’s a vet and no longer active. If you run into me there or Small Bar or Toronado a beer works for me.
Tom Hunter says
Oh my god, Todd Gloria is back on KPBS whining that he wants to be mayor, bite me you wuss. If you want to recall Filner, go for it, but quit going before the cameras and microphones every day, over and over and call it news. Bring it on – let’s see the recall, but the 20th threat doesn’t make it news. Todd Gloria gave up his chance to appear human by just shutting up and letting things take their course. Just couldn’t resist the limelight? Well it just makes you look yellow.
Well, you certainly don’t mince words. I agree that Mr. Gloria has not covered himself in glory. Coming forth in this way actually has had a deleterious effect on my opinion of him, which may be the opposite of his intention in regard to the populace at large.
Gloria gave up his chance for pretty much anything, when he betrayed Balboa Park with his Plaza de Panama vote in favor of the Sanders-Jacobs folly last summer. No right-thinking limelight would remotely consider going out of its way to seek him out…
(PS: Finally got my first look at the PdP a la Mayor Bob, today. And I liked it! That beach-sand color won’t absorb heat like the old blacktop did. Does need a little something in aid of depth-perception, though; but that allows room for some creative thinking…eg, how about some brightly-colored tile designs?
(You done good there, sir!)
Andy Cohen says
As I understand it, they’ll be adding some furniture (i.e. picnic tables and bench type things) at some point in the near future, as well as some other adornments to make it more visually attractive, yet not completely destroy the current openness it features.
Andy Cohen says
And they’ve already started arriving:
So why the $45 Million Jacobs project? Filner accomplished most of the main goal for under $500k. Was the other $44.5 Million an excuse to give welfare to Wall St.? Or was that the price of the second agenda item? Really, anyone know why the huge difference?
The term is “Capitol Hill”. There is an easy way to remember when to use “capitol” and “capital”; I’ll let you figure it out.
The Plaza does look great, and I agree that there is a good chance Filner will fight to stay. He will have my best wishes for a successful if chastened term. He definitely tipped over the apple cart, and it is amusing to see the gloves come off as various actors reveal what they actually believe in….the almighty dollar. I always wondered.
Tom Hunter says
Just over to the new plaza. Freakin awesome tables, chairs and umbrellas. Difference with Jacobs project. Big ugly parking garage and paid parking in our free park. Oh there is definitely a difference.