This Filner creature is a real piece of work. His latest thing is to claim that his woes regarding sexual harassment are the City's fault because they did not provide the sexual harassment training that city policy requires all city employees to receive within three months of being hired. That is to say that he’s been groping women because the city did not teach him, at age 70, not to do it.
I was stomping around the house mumbling obscenities last night, and my wife kept going all therapist on me and saying that Filner’s lawyer was just trying to establish a technicality defense, but even as a “legal technicality” this is nonsensical. That’s like a fifty-year-old man shooting his parents dead and then expecting mercy from the judge because he’s an orphan. The law may famously be “an ass,” but it’s not stupid.
Filner is stupid, though, or he is psychotically out of touch with reality, because he continues to insist that he is going to stay in office and be “an effective and constructive leader” for the next three years plus, despite his personality flaws and mounting evidence of a culture of corruption and abuse of power that has pervaded San Diego City Hall since he took office. And the guy is a Democrat.
The FBI is investigating him for two instances of extortion. In one case he vetoed building permits until contributions amounting to $100,000 were made to Filner’s pet projects, at which point he removed the veto. When the action was made public he gave the money back, because returning the money makes bank robbery no longer a criminal act. The FBI was unimpressed with the return of the money and is still investigating the extortion and in any case, if the money was donated to causes other than Bob Filner, how can he return the money?
In another case he halted construction on a building already under construction, something that it is unclear he actually has the authority to do. After the builder contributed unknown amounts to projects favored by Filner he allowed construction to resume. No evidence he gave that money back, and the FBI is investigating.
Shortly after taking office he and his fiancé took a two-week trip to Paris, France. He claimed that the trip had to do with jobs in San Diego, but was not able to explain the connection. He then said that didn’t matter because the city had not paid for any portion of the trip. When asked who had paid for it, he said it was a charitable organization which he could not name because he could not remember the precise name.
City officers are not allowed to receive gifts unless they are from non-profit organizations, which I happen to think is a rather silly rule; non-profits are just as likely to seek political favor as are profits. But that’s the rule.
We finally find out the name of the Iranian organization that paid for the trip, but we also find out that the city did pay for the security that accompanied Filner on the trip, and we find out that two city staff members had their city credit card limits raised from the usual $10,000 per month to $30,000 per month in connection with that trip. No one is able to find out why that increase was made, how the credit cards were used and why, or how much taxpayer money was actually expended for that trip.
Now it turns out the organization that paid for the trip is not actually a properly registered non-profit organization after all, so Bob Filner is paying them back for what they spent on the trip because returning the money makes bank robbery no longer a criminal act.
Then there’s the closed City Council meeting where he called an African American Assistant City Attorney “boy,” told him to sit in the back of the room, and finally had the police eject him from the meeting, another instance where it is unclear that he was acting within his authority.
Not to mention that two petitions have formally been filed to recall him from office, and polls say that 70% of the public wants him removed from office. Filner, however, is not leaving willingly. Whatever actions he may be capable of, a graceful exit would not be one of them.