By Doug Porter
Last week sexual harassment accusations against congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went national by way of stories in Politico.com and CNN. Today we’ll follow up on developments in this story over the weekend.
A Saturday morning fundraiser featuring house speaker John Boehner in Pacific Beach for the 52nd district GOP candidate was notable for the absence of local politicos and a handful of protesters waving “Dirty DeMaio” signs.
The irony of the counter demonstration, reminiscent of reaction in some quarters to our former mayor’s boorish behavior, was the presence of Jess Durfee. Back in the days when Durfee headed up county Democrats it was he chose to disregard warnings about Filner from a delegation of party women.
On Friday the media reported on a letter calling upon the state Attorney General for an “independent” review of the allegations “with no political influence.” Given that County DA Bonnie Dumanis has at least one potential prosecution on her desk with the potential to swing the race for or against DeMaio and her past political support for the candidate, this seems like a no-brainer… until you see Durfee’s name at the bottom of the letter.
The last thing the Democratic Party in this town needs to do is to be perceived as gloating over this scandal. Like it or not, Durfee is associated in many people’s minds with the party.
Filner v. DeMaio
The specifics of the Filner scandal differ from what’s currently swirling around Carl DeMaio in two ways. In Filner’s case there were multiple accusers. With DeMaio there’s just one at this point.
And, as Liam Dillon pointed out at Voice of San Diego, their responses to the accusations were also different:
Filner never directly denied the charges against him. In fact, the first statement he made before any woman actually stepped forward with detailed allegations was “I’m sorry.”
His response was, in a way, the most damning evidence. It was always something along the lines of: They won’t be able to prove I sexually harassed anyone.
But it was never, “I did not do what they said and I would never do that.”
That’s different in this case – both sides are digging in their heels on their very different version of events. DeMaio is calling Bosnich a liar, and provides a motive for why he’d make it up.
What Filner and DeMaio have in common is each faced accusations against a backdrop of a well-established behavior patterns considered arrogant by their critics. That perceived conceit lent a certain air of credibility to accounts of aberrant treatment towards others.
Both serve(d) as lightning rods for ideological opponents, galvanizing ongoing antipathy in key segments of politically active blocs. Hence the widespread suspicions about allegations of harassment being part of a conspiracy to derail their agendas.
There is no reason why these trains of thought are mutually exclusive.
I believe in Filner’s case there was a strategy in place involving the outgoing mayor, his allies in the tourism industry and the city attorney’s office–even prior to his taking the oath of office–to marginalize and discredit him politically. This really isn’t that much different than what Washington insiders have pulled on the current President. The ex-Mayor’s wannabe philandering was simply icing on the cake.
My sense about DeMaio’s situation is that he’ll escape prosecution. One witness, no backup.
But I believe his accusers’ motivations are not a just case of getting even for being blamed for Carl’s latest bout of plagiarism. Based on my reading of Todd Bosnich’s rabidly partisan social media output and the fact he’s not a political novice (he was a Congressional aide in 2008-9) that’s been implied, I say his motivation is about becoming disillusioned with a candidate.
UPDATE: City Beat has the audio of Todd Bosnich’s June interview with KFMB’s Mike Slater.
Darth Vader and the Queen of Hearts
UT-San Diego editorial writer Chris Reed took to the conservative Calwatchdog.com to vent about his perception of the hypocrisy of the situation.
Tolerance is not required when it doesn’t suit Democrats or their de facto media allies, even those most likely to moralize about bigotry. Instead, 1940s-style sniggering about sexuality is fine when the target is a Republican.
Reed went on to predict attack ads mentioning the allegations against DeMaio “by Friday afternoon at the latest.” As was the case with his cohorts’ predictions about about a Democratic victory in 2012 presidential contest, this prediction failed to materialize.
— Chris Reed (@chrisreed99) October 12, 2014
Reed used Congressman Scott Peters’ silence on the scandal during a televised Thursday debate on 10News to bolster his case for the GOP candidate’s innocence, as in “DeMaio is on solid ground in denying everything.”
The televised debate, by the way, has to rank as the most ridiculous staging ever in San Diego: panelists were Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders and right-wing radio host La Donna Harvey.
Darth Vader and the Tea Party’s Queen of Hearts hardly seemed like an enlightening combination of panelists–kinda like having only Country and Western judges at a contemporary music competition. And they didn’t disappoint. Hurrah! Our candidate [insert name] won!
Meanwhile back in the land of actual voters, it was a good week to be a pollster and a bad week to answer the phone during dinner in you happened to live in the 52nd congressional district. Look for news stories shortly about polls telling us it’s too soon to tell if the allegations against DeMaio mean anything in terms of election results.
The Narrative vs. the Facts
The DeMaio campaign continues to try and control the narrative here, namely that the person accusing him of sexual harassment must be marginalized and discredited.
“It’s unfortunate. He’s clearly troubled. He got caught for the damage that he did to the campaign and now he’s manufacturing in essence a cover story to explain away his actions,” DeMaio told CNN.
And it appears as though these dogged denials may be having the desired effect, even though there are plenty of questions remaining about the spin coming out of the Carl DeMaio camp.
The Republican candidate has made claims about the investigation into allegations against him that are not provable. DeMaio told the media last Wednesday about a phone call from SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman assuring him the investigation into allegations of harassment was completed and that those claims were unfounded.
He’s also said he expected DA Bonnie Dumanis would be taking action in the break-in case in the near future.
Even UT-San Diego readers are bothered by the idea of DA Dumanis’ involvement in any prosecutions involving Carl DeMaio. A reader poll is running 2 to 1 in favor of her recusing herself from prosecuting the office break in and related accusations.
Then there are these other troubling facts:
- When the SDPD made their announcement back in August following up on their investigation into a break-in of Carl DeMaio’s offices, they indicated TWO former staffers had been implicated.
- Remember that following the break-in back in May, DeMaio’s campaign made many pronouncements about how the motive could only be to silence the candidate in the days leading up to the primary.
- The SDPD has refused to name Todd Bosnich (or anybody else for that matter) as a suspect in the break-in. Carl DeMaio’s campaign is the only source for any linkage between the accuser and the burglary.
- While attorneys for Bosnich have released the polygraph operator’s report to the media, all we have from the DeMaio campaign are claims that they took and passed lie detector tests.
Here’s police union official Jeffrey Jordon on twitter a few days ago:
— jeffrey t jordon (@jtjordon) October 11, 2014
Be Very Afraid Department: Ebola
The tabloid television types continue to pump out Ebola fear stories. More than one of our national treasure trove of right-wing nut jobs has linked the deadly virus to to Obama, the Islamic State (ISIS) or court decisions on same sex marriage.
Ebola is, according to the World Health Organization, “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times.” But along with that warning the WHO is saying “economic disruptions can be curbed if people are adequately informed to prevent irrational moves to dodge infection.”
The fear of the disease is spreading much faster than actual infections. And, from the department of We Told You So, this is a crisis that could have been avoided. The penny-wise and pound-foolish budget cuts of the last decade are also players here.
From the Huffington Post:
Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has “slowed down” research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.
“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'” Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
It’s not just the production of a vaccine that has been hampered by money shortfalls. Collins also said that some therapeutics to fight Ebola “were on a slower track than would’ve been ideal, or that would have happened if we had been on a stable research support trajectory.”
Meet the Non-Profit UT Team
UT San Diego columnist Fred Dickey’s interview with philanthropist Malin Burnham provides insight on how things are progressing with plans for taking over the Daily Fishwrap:
No matter the sales price, the deal would require lots and lots of money to consummate. Would investors, philanthropic though they might be, pony up that kind of cash without the promise of a return that a regular for-profit corporation might offer?
The only answer Burnham can provide at this juncture is to point to the people he has recruited for his team. Heavy-hitters, indeed. They are Bill Geppert of East County, retired head of Cox Communications San Diego; Bill Roper of La Jolla, retired CFO of SAIC; Pat Shea, a San Diego attorney; and Mark Stephens of Rancho Santa Fe, a retired partner of Ernst & Young. All five are equal in the venture, Burnham says, adding that he’s the spokesman only because it was his idea.
According to Burnham, they expect approval from the Internal Revenue Service for their corporate structure within 90 days. Meantime, an agreement with Manchester would have to be worked out.
Targeting South Park
Residents of the South Park neighborhood are upset about the prospect of Target opening a mini-location in a building currently occupied by Gala Foods.
Gala Foods put its location on the market in December. Part-owner Saad Hirmez said Target was selected because the company’s mini-store, TargetExpress, would fit the community. He said the store will include fresh produce, a pharmacy and other essentials.
“It’s a new concept that Target is unveiling, and we felt — well, they felt — that this fits their demographics and would be a great location, and we agreed with them,” Hirmez said. “And therefore, that’s why we entered into a lease with them.”
On This Day: 1934- The American Federation of Labor voted to boycott all German-made products as a protest against Nazi antagonism to organized labor within Germany. 1957 – Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra introduced the Ford Edsel on an hour long special. 2010 – Near Copiapó, Chile, 33 miners were trapped underground in San José Mine. The miners were rescued after 69 days underground.
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@