By Doug Porter
So the word on the street, courtesy of columnist Logan Jenkins, is that former mayor Bob Filner is writing a book and looking for an editor. The UT-San Diego columnist has offered to “anonymously ghostwrite. Gratis.”
I’m sure there any number of San Diego journos who’d love the opportunity. I remember reading lots of self-righteous tweets and barely concealed contempt in coverage by too many of this town’s “reporters.” After all, writing anything else might have excluded them from the crafty beer klatches and opportunities to genuflect before local luminaries so necessary to generate “coverage.”
I can only hope Filner’s period of confinement and reflection has re-enforced the (obvious) notion that “none-of-the-above” would be the only right choice to make when it comes to local scribes.
I believe there are multiple levels to this story, and his bad behavior made for an awfully convenient means of carrying out schemes (that were at least talked about prior to his inauguration) to protect and preserve the status quo. While I’m not throwing in with the “it was all a conspiracy” set, I am saying any honest account of the Filner era has to go beyond the “Mayor Grabby” persona created for him.
Telling his story through the prism of what passes for “common knowledge” in America’s Finest City is perhaps the shortest path to oblivion for any account of the era. If Filner wants to do this town a favor, he’ll acknowledge his own shortcomings (both personal and political) and give an insider account of how City Hall really operates.
And, no, I’m not interested in writing Bob Filner’s book. I’d just like it to be one worth reading.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell at Sea World
Lisa Halverstadt over at Voice of San Diego has written an excellent account of the waterpark lobby’s spin on AB 2140, the now-tabled bill that would have prohibited Sea World from using its orcas in shows.
Here’s my favorite quote:
SeaWorld lobbyist Scott Wetch suggested the bill would rob visitors of the ability to enjoy the park’s orca performances but still allow SeaWorld to engage the animals in performance-like activities behind the scenes.
Wetch compared that to the now-repealed act that barred gays in the military from revealing their sexual orientation.
“The proposed amendments would continue to ban performances but would allow activities such as exercise, husbandry, stimulation activity and training, which is exactly what is incorporated in the performances as long as there’s no music or nobody watching,” Wetch said. “It’s the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for whales. As long as the public’s not watching all the activities are OK but don’t allow the public to watch.”
We also learn about how this sort of legislation would infringe on SeaWorld’s first (corporate free speech) and fifth (“deprives SeaWorld of the economic value of these whales”) amendment rights. Then there’s the “barring the transport of orca fluids for captive breeding programs could violate the Commerce Clause” of the Constitution argument. What are those commies up in Sacramento thinking?
There’s a virtual cornucopia of spin cited in the story beyond the “legal” arguments; the vital research, the economic benefits and, as a last resort, “we’ll just take our whales elsewhere.” And don’t forget the scenario with starving orphans on the street resulting from SeaWorld’s persecution….
It was refreshing to see a local sacred cow called out. Sadly, this kind of spin (corporatese for lie) is often the norm, not the exception in San Diego. Just ask the proponents of the Barrio Logan Community Plan.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill…
Congressman Vance McAllister (R-La.), the family values politician who made the news yesterday after a video was released showing him passionately kissing a staffer, is reportedly asking for an investigation.
While McAllister has admitted straying from the path of righteousness, he’s also concerned about the “security implications.” A local Louisiana newspaper, The News Star, reported that McAllister’s office would request an FBI investigation today.
From The Hill:
The revelation has spurred at least one call for his resignation and observers have said it will likely hurt his reelection chances in November. McAllister has asked for forgiveness but said he will not resign unless there is an “outcry” for him to leave office.
So far, leaders in the House have reserved judgment on whether the freshman congressman should resign.
McAllister’s chief of staff Adam Terry said what the congressman did was wrong but called the leak of the video a serious security breach.
“Clearly, what the congressman did was wrong, and he’s taking responsibility for his actions,” he told the paper. “However, a breach in security in a federal office is a grave concern for us.”
UPDATE: McAllister has changed his mind, dammit. From Talking Points Memo:
Backing off his office’s earlier statements, Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) has decided against asking for an FBI investigation into the leak of a video showing him kissing a female member of his staff.
“Congressman McAllister’s office will not pursue an FBI investigation at this time regarding the distribution of a video filmed in leased federal office space,” the freshman Republican’s office said in a statement obtained by TPM. “Congressman McAllister is focused on earning back the trust of those he has disappointed, and he reiterates his request for privacy for his family during this difficult period.”
Issa as McCarthy
Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md) has issued a report calling out Darrell Issa (R-Vista) for “pulling from the playbook of the late Sen. Joe McCarthy, who waged an infamous witch hunt against alleged communists in the 1950s”, according to Politico.
“We oppose Chairman Issa’s efforts to recreate the Oversight Committee in Joe McCarthy’s image, and we reject his attempts to drag us back to that shameful era in which Congress tried to strip away the constitutional rights of American citizens under the bright lights of hearings that had nothing to do with responsible oversight and everything to do with the most dishonorable kind of partisan politics,” said the report for committee Democrats, which was released early to POLITICO Pro Tax.
The Congressional Research Service data cited shows that none of the cases held up in court, the minority said.
“Chairman Issa has identified no historical precedent for successfully convicting an American citizen for contempt after that person has asserted his or her Fifth Amendment right not to testify before Congress,” the report said. “The only other times in recent memory that Congress attempted to do this were a disgraceful stain on our nation’s history.”
Singing for Their Survival
About 50 odd supporters of the San Diego Opera appeared before the City Council yesterday to sing for the survival of the organization, which has announced that it will be shutting down at the end this month.
From NBC7 News:
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Nick Reveles, director of education and outreach for San Diego Opera, took a moment to speak to the council about everything the opera does for the community, including its work to bring arts education to children…
Reveles wrapped up his time before the council by saying, “We need our arts to make this city great. We have a gift for you.”
At that moment, members of the chorus stood up and performed for councilmembers who were visibly surprised by the gesture.
The group, which has dubbed itself the White Knight Committee, obvioulsy didn’t get or chose to ignore the memo issued by San Diego Opera board Chairwoman Karen Cohen, announcing creation of an “operations team” in charge of all public statements.
10News obtained a copy of the memo,which obviously seeks to limit the dissemination information not in sync with management.
Now that Don Quixote is underway, it is important to all our constituents-staff, supporters, audiences, and performers-that the Opera for the next few weeks is managed, speaks with one voice and is as professional as possible. From now until further notice, what we are calling the “Operations Team” will make executive and administrative, particularly about financial issues, publicity, and public statements. All decisions will be made by a minimum of four of the five following people-myself, Ian, Keith, Michael and Ann. This system may be a bit cumbersome, but it sets a protocol, covers all the departments, seeks everyone’s input and involves the Board through myself, when appropriate.
The employees have been instructed on this policy, so please do not put any staff member in an awkward position by requesting something or instructing them in any way that is counter to this system.
Please ask me or one of the other Operation Team members if you need information or have requests going forward. We all appreciate your cooperation.
Then there’s these gems, via Don Bauder at San Diego Reader:
If the San Diego Opera closes down after this season, as administrative and artistic director Ian Campbell desires, Campbell and his ex-wife Ann could make $2.5 million to $3 million after their work is over, according to new information given to board members…
…On Saturday night, April 5, Ian Campbell appeared before the audience prior to the opera. He was booed and heckled — but also applauded by many in the audience. Campbell was adamant that the opera was closing after this season. The audience did not know that Nicolas Reveles, director of education and outreach, was prepared to give a second speech that has been described as “inspirational, informational.” It would have pleased the board members and opera fans who want the opera to fight on. But a message was delivered that only Ian Campbell could give a speech…
So many alternate realities, so little time…
On This Day: 1833 – Peterborough, NH, opened the first municipally supported public library in the United States. 1945 – National Football League officials decreed that it was mandatory for football players to wear socks in all league games. 1976 – Folksinger Phil Ochs committed suicide at the age of 35
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Frances O'Neill Zimmerman says
1) Former Mayor Bob Filner is looking for an editor — not a ghostwriter. I’m sure he will not need substantive help — or advice — writing his book. He is more educated than most San Diego public officials.
2) VOSD Editor Lisa Halverstadt published at least 20 stories about Sea World up until
yesterday — when State legislation died in committee to curb the organization’s use of captive killer whales as entertainers. I’d call it mission accomplished more than “an excellent account.”
3) Carping now about brilliant Opera Director Ian Campbell’s big salary seems gratuitously nasty after he has produced first-rate world-class Opera here over so many years. It was the job of the complacent and ineffective San Diego Opera Board to raise the money to keep the organization in business.
More educated than most local so-called “reporters,” either…
bob dorn says
Bob Filner doesn’t need a writer; he has an advanced degree in history from a high ivy school, is smarter than his gonads, and probably kept a diary while spending all this time in public. Goons and thugs have already tried to make his five or six months as mayor seem to be the definition of his life but I think a good memoir from him will easily wipe out their attempts to color him lewd, and it would wind up as a key alternative to the endless celebrations of Navy, tourism, weather and venality that is San Diego.
bob dorn says
… or, more correctly, the p.r. imaginings that no one really believes is San Diego.
La Playa Heritage says
Hopefully former Mayor Filner will keep on helping the poor, Veterans, and women through volunteer work on Homeless solutions.
The City and County of San Diego staff, with help of Civic San Diego staff, have been robbing the Successor Agency assets and ongoing annual $200 million in former RDA Tax Increment (TI) for liquidation into both the City’s and County’s General Funds.
Based upon the $1.6 BILLION in ROPS-6 Successor Agency debt, at the earliest, Redevelopment will be Ongoing within the City of San Diego for another 15 to 20 years. This is the money former Mayor Filner promised would be moved to our Neighborhoods instead of hoarded downtown. Not be developers, but by staff.
Bonnie Bekken says
Logan as editor? Hope not. I would do it gratis, too, knowing all he needs is sharp proof reading and empathy. Forget objectivity: no such thing in the human spectrum.
I’d love to see a Filner biography if only to drive SDUT staffers crazy- who seem to think he’s still mayor if something goes wrong. And think Faulconer is mayor if something goes right. it’s a very weird paper right now.
Also, Sea World has to see the writing on the wall. Short term, this a victory for them. Long term, they’ll lose. They need to spend the next few months rethinking their park.