Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Filner Saga

It has been said that the only way for Democrats to win control of government was to let Republicans have control first; they would prove their incompetence so thoroughly that voters would elect Democrats in a landslide. I’ve always thought that was pretty silly, since Democrats have been demonstrating a very high level of incompetence in governance themselves, but based on the theory San Diego may have a Republican mayor in the near future, or at least a new one, as a result of having just elected a Democratic one.

Did you follow that? Okay, I’ll explain.

Bob Filner was elected last year and took office in January of this year. He immediately got into a major pissing match with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, screaming at him in public meetings, because Goldsmith spoke to the public about city affairs. Filner claimed that the City Attorney serves the Mayor and speaks only to the Mayor and in confidence. Goldsmith says that he is elected by the people of the city and serves the people. Filner then cut the City Attorney’s budget by $500,000 while increasing the budget for everything else in the city. Later he had the police eject an Assistant City Attorney from a closed meeting, accusing him of leaking confidential information to the public.

Another major pissing match ensued, this time with the Office of Tourism, over payment of tax revenue generated by the hotel tax approved by voters some years ago. Filner wanted part of that funding to be diverted to pay for the Balboa Park Centennial celebration in 2015, and the Office of Tourism agreed to provide 15% of the receipts to that purpose. Filner withheld funding to that office because he didn’t trust them to actually pay the money, almost forcing the office to close down, and the money was finally transferred after three months of acrimonious battle between the mayor and the Tourism Board, which occurred at the beginning of the tourist season.

After several months working for Filner, his top two staff members resigned, citing “uncomfortable working conditions.”

Filner then went on a trip to Paris, France with his fiancĂ© and refused to say who was paying for the trip, other than to say that the city was not, and claimed the trip was to “secure jobs for San Diego,” which convinced only the most loyal Democrats. He was, of course, on the city payroll at the time, and officials are not allowed to accept gifts over $400, so the matter of who was paying for the trip was of some importance. He finally admitted that the trip was paid for by an Iranian non-profit group.

It later turned out that he had two city policemen with him for security, so the trip did cost the city something like $22,000 but that somehow doesn’t count, or something.

A story then emerged about a construction company applying for a zoning variance which Filner denied. The construction company then donated $100,000 to a couple of Filner’s pet projects, after which Filner reversed himself and granted the variance. When asked, the construction company said that their understanding was that the variance was granted in return for the donations. Filner claimed that if there was a deal it was made by his assistant, who had resigned several months earlier, and gave the $100,000 back to the construction company. The construction company continues to assert that he made the deal directly with Filner.

Early this week Filner’s fiancĂ© broke up with him, saying in her announcement that their relationship had “devolved.” Yes, I’ll bet it had, especially in light of what followed.

Filner is now facing charges from several women of sexual harassment while serving as mayor, and is being called upon by Democratic leadership to resign at once. That includes several people who were major supporters during his campaign.

Bob Filner is living proof that Democrats will vote for anything with a D after its name. He is a nasty piece of work and this behavior is nothing new; he has been a thug and a bully for his entire career in politics. San Diego got what it voted for, and this guy is a perfect example of the folly of partisan politics.

PS: Don't blame me; I voted for the other guy. Carl DeMaio, to be precise.

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