By Doug Porter
The headline on today’s column is the language used by the UT-San Diego editorial board today in summing up what they called “the final chapter” of the Bob Filner saga. Today’s column will look at some of the coverage around the nation of former Mayor Bob Filner’s sentencing yesterday. And I’ll chime in with a few thoughts.
Between reading the coverage and today’s UT-San Diego editorial I’ve concluded San Diegans are expected to draw the following conclusions:
- San Diego just experienced a disaster. (Has the Red Cross been notified?)
- Bob Filner’s political supporters should to be exiled. (Will Siberia do?)
- The news media failed to print enough rumors. (Except about Carl DeMaio)
- The voters were stupid not to listen to Lynchester Logic™.
Just in case we, the public, haven’t “learned our lesson” from this squalid affair, our Daily Fishwrap featured Logan Jenkins warning us that the former mayor might indeed seek a role in local civic affairs in the future. Look for additional Filner Fearmongering in your mailbox in coming weeks as the Lincoln Club types desperation deepens in their quest to disparage Democrat David Alvarez’s mayoral campaign.
The lede on the front page coverage of the former Mayor’s sentencing at UT-San Diego went for maximum drama – “Bob Filner: Councilman. Congressman. Mayor. Felon.” There is an additional front page story from a victim saying he deserved more punishment, a sentiment reflected in areadership poll, wherein a plurality of respondents wanted Filner to publicly nail his scrotum to the sidewalk in Horton Plaza as penance. Or something.
In addition to Logan Jenkins’ warning about the side effects of the psychiatric drugs Filner’s been prescribed, there is a column from Diane Bell featuring another victim suggesting that leaving town would be a better solution.
And finally, we have Steve Breen’s editorial cartoon, suggesting locking attorney Gloria Allred in Filner’s apartment as part of the punishment. Not that the paper was stereotyping her as a bitch, or anything.
The Los Angeles Times closed its straightforward coverage of the Filner sentencing with Alred’s point of view:
Outside court, attorney Gloria Allred blasted the plea bargain as too soft. She said Filner should have been prosecuted under a felony law as a “sexual predator,” sent to prison and made to register as a sex offender.
“Your freedom is a gift you do not deserve,” Allred said. She represents former Filner aide Irene McCormack Jackson in a sexual harassment civil suit against Filner. A hearing is set for January.
A Washington Post story packed the most facts into the fewest words:
Former San Diego mayor Bob Filner (D) has been sentenced to three years probation — including 90 days of house arrest — following his sexual harassment conviction.
Filner, 71, pleaded guilty two months ago to three counts — one felony charge of false imprisonment and two misdemeanors for battery — after a steady stream of women accused him of sexual harassment.
The New York Times story ended with a quote from Melissa Mandel, supervising state deputy attorney general, “Today is the day that Bob Filner begins to pay his debt to the citizens of San Diego.”
Locally, NBC San Diego’s coverage seemed a bit more sympathetic to Filner, to the extent that I did not perceive a underlying judgmental tone.
Defense attorneys for former Mayor Bob Filner attribute some of the former congressman’s aggressive behavior to a sudden stop in psychiatric medication, originally prescribed by congressional doctors.
A memo from defense lawyer Jerry Coughlan said that “the sudden disruption in his medications, coupled with long-standing issues of anxiety and the stress of assuming a new, intensely political, executive position” were contributing factors to Filner’s behavior.
Probation paperwork describes the medication Filner is currently taking including: Lexapro, Buspirone and Lamictal – medications used to treat anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.
My Two Cents
The mere existence of the headline to this story will no doubt attract the attention of those who fail to see any nuance in Filner’s sordid saga. And they may be the saddest part –outside the victims–of Mayor Bob’s legacy.
Due process happened. The “deal”, for better or worse, has been made. The accused pled guilty. The judge has passed sentence. The civil portion of the justice system’s remedies for his (now admitted) unlawful behavior will continue to grind on, likely past the expiration of his probation.
Like many San Diegans, my views on Bob Filner’s bad behavior evolved as we learned the details. Eventually I accepted that there had to be a basis in truth in the accusations against him. (It was difficult, given the constant stream of misinformation aimed at Filner starting from Day One.)
I came to the conclusion our city would best served by his leaving office. Yet I could not bring myself to join in the throng calling for him to resign. There were just too many individuals associated with those folks who made my skin crawl. (There were some sincere people, too.)
Others here at San Diego Free Press had differing views. We’re all still talking to each other. Sad to say, that’s not true for the city at large.
It’s all over but the bitterness that continues to pervade the politisphere in this town. That acrimony manifests itself in the vigilante mentality of the people who tweeted pictures of the former Mayor’s residence yesterday. It manifests itself in the comments being posted by people who continue to blame (or try to discredit) the victims. Or the GOP politico who whined online yesterday about the word “Democrat” not being used enough in news coverage.
I hope that Bob Filner, human being, goes on to do good things. I would encourage him to fight the good fights in the future.
I also hope that whatever justice was served up and the passage of time can ease the pain of those hurt by his actions.
And most of all I hope that the “bitters” in this town can come to realize the pointlessness of continuing their crusades.
One sentiment I do agree with in today’s UT-San Diego editorial: Let’s move on.
I’ve got a couple of items left in today’s hopper…
Bad News at SeaWorld
From Don Bauder over at the Reader comes more news about the sullied reputation of one of our city’s main tourist attractions:
Three music groups have pulled out of SeaWorld Entertainment’s Orlando Band, Brew & BBQ festival planned to begin February 1. Rock band Barenaked Ladies canceled its appearance because of the Blackfish documentary, which pillories the company for mistreatment of orcas. In short order, country singer Willie Nelson backed out, along with rock band Heart.
The company has also come under criticism from a Huffington Post columnist for cutting hours of 18,000 part-time and seasonal workers in what appears to be an attempt to dodge expenses of Obamacare. It cut hours of these employees from 32 to 28 a week. Beginning in 2015, companies with 50 or more full-time workers must provide coverage. SeaWorld appears to have ducked under the 30-hours-a-week definition of “full-time” for a large number of employees.
War on Christmas Update:
Today’s tale of righteous persecution comes via NewsHounds.us, the people who watch Fox News ‘so you don’t have to’:
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas with holiday lights, music, and Bill O’Reilly’s annual rant about how evil atheists are trying to destroy Christmas in order to promote their gay, abortion, and drug agendas onto innocent, Jesus loving Americans. Part of O’Reilly’s “nice” tradition includes attacks on those whom Bill sees as enemies of Christmas, such as the governors of RI and Washington whose worker had to deal with harassing phone calls and mail from Bill’s Jesus loving fans. This year was no different. I don’t know if O’Reilly started the media “controversy” which led to the death threats. But I do know that, as he did with the murdered abortion provider, Dr. Tiller, O’Reilly used his national media perch to contribute to a climate of hatred which doesn’t exactly fit into the Christian Christmas message of peace on earth. Go figure!
Bill started off the season, in October, with an attack on a Wisconsin school district which was involved in a dispute over the nature of songs to be sung by the school’s choir. Bill urged his fans to contact the district. And as sure as the tides go in and the tides go out, the school superintendent got death threats including a phone call from a woman who, after asking the school official about trees, asked if she would “look good hanging from one.”
It’s the “most wonderful time of the year.” Right, Bill?
On This Day: 1965 – The Grateful Dead played their first concert. The show took place at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, CA. 1992 – Oregon Senator Bob Packwood apologized for what he called “unwelcome and offensive” actions toward women. However, he refused to resign. 1996 – South Africa’s President Mandela signed into law a new democratic constitution, completing the country’s transition from white-minority rule to a non-racial democracy.
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