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Filner Mediation Results In Deal; Council Votes Friday


Filner Mediation Results In Deal; Council Votes Friday

The city attorney's office is reporting that a deal has been reached with San Diego Mayor Bob Filner; it likely includes his resignation.

Aired 8/22/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Sandhya Dirks KPBS Metro Reporter

Carl Luna, Professor, Political Science, San Diego Mesa College

Tom Reifer, Associate Professor, Sociology, Affiliated Faculty, Ethinic Studies, College of Arts & Sciences, University of San Diego


Aired 8/23/13 on KPBS News.

The city attorney's office is reporting that a deal has been reached with San Diego Mayor Bob Filner; it likely includes his resignation. But attorney Gloria Allred says she does not know the details of the proposed agreement.

It appears a deal that likely includes the resignation of embattled Mayor Bob Filner has been reached. A vote on the settlement will take place at 1 p.m. Friday in a closed session of the city council.

But details of the agreement remain confidential ahead of the special council meeting, according to the city attorney's office.

Special Feature Read the Backstory

All of the accusations, statements and apologies from the key players in the developing story about allegations of sexual harassment in Mayor Bob Filner's office and calls from former mayoral supporters for his resignation.

But raising questions about the deal reached after three days of mediation is attorney Gloria Allred, who represents the mayor’s former communications officer, Irene McCormack Jackson. The Los Angeles attorney said in a press conference today that a settlement of her lawsuit is not part of the proposed agreement and that she and her client are in the dark about its details. Allred was joined by former fiancée, Bronwyn Ingram.

The mayor and his attorneys have been in mediation talks since Monday with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, members of the city council. Initially, Allred was part of the discussion. Retired Federal Judge J. Lawrence Irving served as mediator.

Allred said it would be reprehensible if the city council signed off on a deal in which public funds were paid to Filner in exchange for his agreement to resign. She noted that must be the case, otherwise the council would not have to meet to approve the deal; the mayor could simply resign on his own.

“The mayor's resignation should not be bought," Allred said.

But if such an exchange is part of the deal, she is demanding an opportunity for public debate before any vote by the council. That will indeed happen, as the council has scheduled public comment before and after tomorrow's closed session, set for 1 p.m. on the 12th floor of City Hall.

Ingram today made a brief statement, reiterating her call for his resignation. Ingram, 48, broke off their engagement last month, saying Filner flirted and texted with other women in her presence.

Following the vote on the deal in closed session, the council plans a public meeting to discuss the settlement and Filner's status as mayor, according to a spokeswoman for Council President Todd Gloria.

There is no word on when, or if, Mayor Filner will make a public statement.

If the mayor resigns, the San Diego city charter specifies there are 90 days to fill the seat with a special election. Those 90 days begin with the date specified in a letter of resignation from the mayor that is submitted to the city clerk.

If no candidate gets a majority of votes in the special election, a run-off vote is held within 49 days of the special election.

In the meantime, Council President Gloria would fill the mayor’s role immediately in terms of running the city, but he would not have the power of the mayoral veto.

After KPBS broke news in July of sexual harassment allegations leveled at Mayor Filner, more than a dozen women stepped forward, accusing him of unwanted sexual advances.

The “Filner headlock” and the “Filner dance” became part of the local lexicon as victim after victim described the mayor putting his hands on them and how they tried to evade his advances.

Filner was initially accused on July 9 by three longtime supporters — former Councilwoman Donna Frye and attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs. They outlined anonymous allegations in calling for the resignation of their fellow Democrat.

Former Councilwoman Donna Frye speaks at a press conference calling for Mayor Bob Filner's resignation, July 11, 2013.

In the days to follow, Filner’s former communications chief, McCormack Jackson, went public and filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages for sexual harassment. It's unclear whether that suit will be dropped as part of the negotiated deal.

She was followed by more than a dozen women who publicly recounted a now-familiar pattern of Filner engaging in unwanted touching, kissing and whispered sexual innuendo.

In the meantime, Filner's chief of staff, Vince Hall, resigned and was replaced by Tony Buckles, who resigned about two weeks after taking on the top post in the mayor's administration.

Filner’s fiancée, Ingram, who announced their relationship was over just days before the allegations came to light, told KPBS that she'd found him “sexting” on his phone and asking women on dates even while she was at his side during the course of their relationship. She also publicly urged him to resign.

Filner responded first in a videotaped message and then in several TV interviews that he needed help. He called his behavior inexcusable and indefensible and told Univision that he had a "monster" inside him that he needed to deal with.

Filner announced July 26 that he was entering a psychological clinic for intense therapy to deal with his behavioral issues. According to that statement, he was set to enter therapy Aug. 5 and return to City Hall Aug. 19.

However, Filner's attorney confirmed Aug. 9 that the mayor had started and completed therapy a week earlier than he had publicly announced. He apparently did not return to City Hall until yesterday, when he was seen leaving with boxes.

Filner built his decades-long political career on a commitment to championing civil and veteran rights.

Allegations of harassment from victims of rape and sexual assault while in the military helped stir calls for Filner to resign. California’s two Democratic senators, as well as those in the House and California Assembly, also asked that he step down.

Filner was first elected to public office in 1979 when he ran for a seat on the San Diego City Schools board of trustees. He served on the city council and climbed the political ladder, getting elected to Congress in 1992 where he later served as chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee as the ranking member.

Citing dysfunction in Washington, D.C., he turned his sights back to San Diego in 2012, where he won election as the first Democratic mayor in nearly 30 years.

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Filner standing next to his now ex-fiancee Bronwyn Ingram while being sworn in by California Controller John Chiang.

Mayor Filner started making waves his first month in office, when he ordered the city to stop referring medical marijuana code violation cases to the city attorney for prosecution. As a result, some controversial marijuana dispensaries stayed open despite orders to shut down.

Filner also publicly feuded with Council President Gloria, a fellow Democrat, and City Attorney Goldsmith, a Republican.

One argument centered on a hotel fee negotiation between the city and officials of the tourism marketing district. The three-month debate crisscrossed city meetings and court hearings.

His successful undertakings as mayor included a move to remove 60 parking spots from the center of Balboa Park to make the space more pedestrian-friendly. Filner also hired a firm to battle the stench of bird poop that plagued La Jolla and affected business, said owners of ocean-front shops and restaurants.

One of his ongoing initiatives was strengthening San Diego’s relationship with its southern neighbor. He opened an office in Tijuana and made national news with a proposal to co-host a cross-border 2024 Summer Olympics.

The Department of Justice is investigating $100,000 donation made to the city of San Diego by developers, Sunroad Centrum Partners. The money was returned, when Mayor Filner learned a top-level administrator secured the donation in exchange to withdraw a veto tying up a mixed-use project Sunroad has been working on since 1997.

May marked a significant month for the mayor as he negotiated new leases for city offices downtown, saving the city $15.8 million and brokered a five-year agreement with city employees that was estimated to save the city $25 million alone in its first year.

But after initial allegations were leveled at Mayor Filner, his aggressive crusade to shake up city politics in a progressive fashion hit a wall.

The political pressure to resign mounted steadily until it reached a breaking point. A key element of that pressure was a recall campaign launched officially last weekend; it has reportedly gathers more than 11,000 signatures so far in an effort rendered moot should the mayor resign.

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Avatar for user 'strata66'

strata66 | August 21, 2013 at 8:51 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

OMG he's a goner. Thanks people!!! He was the last line of defense against the incoming mob of corrupt land developers and corrupt pols, say goodbye to the waterfront as we know it kids!!! Great job!! Somebody gonna make a billion!!!

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 21, 2013 at 9:29 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Don't count my chickens before they hatch. Have faith in the corrupt politician you back. They'll be some hiccups.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 21, 2013 at 9:38 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Strata ... you are concerned about the waterfront. Rather than attacking windmills, what do you 'Strata' the man with the 10 foot sign at the anti and pro Filner rallies want for the San Diego waterfront. NOTE: i am NOT asking what you do not want... i am asking .. what is your plan ...your concept ...your idea for the waterfront. No naysayer crap talk.. ideas man.

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Avatar for user 'RLA'

RLA | August 21, 2013 at 11:06 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

How much will the city spend to get rid of Filner? My guess is at least $1 million for every month he was is office. I am probably low, but what do you think?

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Avatar for user 'MarineRoom'

MarineRoom | August 21, 2013 at 11:13 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Strata66, condolences. The whole thing was quite sickening. No more memberships to kpbs for me, for their shameful lead in an evidence-free trial by press.

But hey, the good thing is, this is the San Diego I know. The one headed by Bob Filner for six months was something new...clean government. I guess we shall see the deal, what we are allowed to, on Friday. Can you imagine having someone like Todd Gloria vote on your future? Perish the thought.

גם זה יעבור

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | August 22, 2013 at 7:11 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

its a proposal, not a done deal fliler still has room to weasel out .

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 22, 2013 at 8:09 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Thanks KPBS for unbiased reporting and for allowing both sides to speak their minds in your forum.

I think MarineRoom and Strata are miffed because they gave it their all defending their man thank's to your Blog tool and it turns out they proved to be unsuccessful and came up empty handed. They often used the old redirect/bait/switch technique where instead of the Topic of Discuss/Subject at hand, Bob Filner, they wanted to argue about how bad the 'people who worship money' are or 'developer George' is..

It's not KPBS's fault MarineRoom. That's the old Blame the Medium fallacy, kind of like kicking the TV when the Chargers lose.

Hey, on positive note, I am happy for you that you enjoyed the 6 month Filner reign and all the "clean government " that came with it.

You can be hilarious sometimes. That is one funny comment.

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Avatar for user 'ConcernedCitizen2'

ConcernedCitizen2 | August 22, 2013 at 8:48 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

The man is obviously emotionally flawed. All of City Council and most state and national democratic leaders have called for his resignation. A deal has been made to get him to move on. This is garden variety transactional settlement politics for a bad apple. Appears to be more behavior based than political party based. Good for the City and its citizens who need basic services to move on. There will be plenty of politics in the upcoming election over the next 90 days. Hopefully we can switch from grabbling butts and breasts to funding our crumbling infrastructure. Good luck San Diego in raising the substance of the public conversation. I hear that the first debate among the new candidates will be hosted at Hooters.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 22, 2013 at 9:14 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

So why is his ex with Allred???

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 22, 2013 at 9:16 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

@Dangling, Political conservatives have for long blamed the media here. KPBS in particular. (Though of late, 2000 and onward, I began to see some of their points.)

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | August 22, 2013 at 9:17 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

"Gloria Allred scheduled a news conference for Thursday in Los Angeles with Filner's former fiance, Bronwyn Ingram." After having been elected Mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner hinted that their relationship was over by asking other women for dates in her presence. They flew to Paris ostensibly to reconcile. Result: Big fight on tarmac and waiting gate area.

Billie Holiday sang: "I was headed for a palace/ I was to have the finest car in town/ I was even fitted for my wedding gown/ HOW you let me down."

But why would Allred, Esq chose the fiance to appear with her, instead of the other damaged women and/or her own client?

My preference would be to have the recall play out. Absent His Honor's resignation, with 50% + 1 vote, an attached candidate list would yield the new mayor immediately. Regardless of the 101,000 votes in any successful recall, the new mayor would have a tiny percentage of the one-quarter million votes Filner got in the 2012 General Election.

I had Hometown Buffet dinner last night w/ 90-years-old survivor of the Poston, AZ Concentration Camp for Left Coast WWII AJAs. "Yes Yes Boy" ~ was someone who 1) renounced the Japanese Emperor ("who was he?"), and 2) agreed to serve in the U.S. Army. One Puka Puka (the 100th Brigade) was from Hawaii and their motto was "Go For Broke!" My friend served as a translator for Hiroshima survivors. I hope the settlement agreement will collapse: Otherwise they'll be an expensive Primary and even expensive General Election, w/ the establishment's candidate winning.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | August 22, 2013 at 9:20 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

"Go For Broke!"

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | August 22, 2013 at 9:37 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

I've heard a lot from people believing Filner was a 'peoples' mayor, and that he would keep big business from getting a free hand and cough up their share for jobs. They say Filner's plan for San Diego was a pretty good one. That things would've happened to benefit all of us. Maybe that's true. We'll never know now, and it's not because Filner didn't, or isn't, getting a fair shake in the press.

Filner did this to himself. His closest supporters, former chief of staff, ex-fiancee, best friends have all admitted knowledge of his poor behavior. If San Diego doesn't move forward resulting from this fiasco, Filner has no one to blame but himself. All he had to do was the right thing, to act like rules apply to him, too, and treat people with respect. To lay claim he comes from a generation where inappropriate behavior was tolerated in the workplace is ludicrous. We've been talking about harassment at work for more than three decades, and he was around then, too.

Whatever deal they come up with I don't want the city to be in hock for his pension, lawyer fees, or any settlement for the alleged victims. He wasn't acting as a mayor during this time. Filner was being Filner, and he should thus cover his own damages. We have enough financial troubles as it is with pensions we can't afford, property taxes, higher gas prices, etc.

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Avatar for user 'progressivebuthey'

progressivebuthey | August 22, 2013 at 10:38 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Any astute person who have guessed from the beginning he wasn't leaving until he could leverage the deal by making it so unbearable for the city (both legally and financially), they are probably paying for his legal fees and judgments.

No one, not even the President could have forced his hand before he had the greatest leverage. Period.

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Avatar for user 'MamaSchaf'

MamaSchaf | August 22, 2013 at 10:47 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Clean government = oxymoron
Doesn't matter who's there. But Filner went way, way too far.

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it." John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron of Acton

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 22, 2013 at 11:03 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Dear KPBS:
I was listening to your Los Angeles sister station this morning, and they had what I found to be an extremely enlightening discussion on their "Take Two" program that really answered many questions I have had throughout this scandal.

Namely is explained clearly why cities (not just our city but all cities) can't impeach officials the way state and federal governments can and it also makes a good argument for San Diego NOT to come up with an "easy way" to remove elected officials.

The will of the people SHOULD be hard to overturn, and assuming Filner resigns soon, 6 weeks is NOT in the bigger scope of things that long for something log this magnitude to get resolved.

I highly recommend you try to re-broadcast this piece or have this guest from LA join a KPBS discussion as I found it most helpful.

I tried to copy the link here, but I am not seeing anything other tha. The intro to the segment here and no audio. I'm on my phone so maybe it would work on my computer :

I was a bit miffed that the host cut him off at the end because he was making a great point!

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Avatar for user 'theRose'

theRose | August 22, 2013 at 1:34 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Oh P_D - Once KPBS starts adhering to the news analysis standards of its sister stations in LA & SF, what's next? Will my morning commute be void of fluff movie reviews and silly profiles of local personalities? Golly, gee, gosh, how can they compete with commercial radio if they raise the intellectual bar?

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | August 22, 2013 at 2:10 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

"That's just talk".. A good summary of the "news" coverage we've seen from the local media throughout this public lynching. Far too often reporters personal opinions and speculation have taken the place of factual news. I'm ashamed of how local "journalists" have handled themselves for more than a month. It shows what a small town San Diego continues to be despite our pretentions about being a cosmopolitan sophisticated big city.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 22, 2013 at 2:35 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

I think KPBS has excellent coverage, wasn't trying to take a swipe at them, I just thought what the guest on that program had to say was interesting.

I figured San Diego was just being its backwards self by not having a mechanism to deal with extracting a mayor from office in our charter, but in now makes sense why we - and other cities - do not.

I just hope we don't, in haste, go and make some knee-jerk law in response to this saying the City Council can remove mayors.

This is a rare case, and a city council is not bicameral and, therefore, cannot credibly impeach a public official.

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Avatar for user 'RLA'

RLA | August 22, 2013 at 4:31 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Anybody see Gloria Allred say that she and her client haven't signed off on anything and are not part of any bargain the city has made with Filner. In other words, you can expect major legal expenses and lawsuit settlements to keep hitting the taxpayers.

Notice the "almost First Lady", the ex fiancée sitting with Gloria? Gloria doesn't work for free, I wonder what we can expect to come from that pairing?

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 22, 2013 at 4:48 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm proud of how the local journalists, the national journalists and the international journalists have handled themselves for more than a month.

Transferring the anger you feel and the root cause of the Filner Fiasco on 'all the media' is fallacious at best Don Wood.

I think there is a lesson to be learned for all the nation from the Filner Scandal. A one that I believe the majority of San Diegans already get.

In particular, how ethical or by contrast unethical decision making is a matter of character and how one's character influences other human beings to become either ethical or unethical by inculcating into one's own character the qualities of virtue evident in the person's character.

- A Leader's character matters.

- A Leader needs to be an ethical decision maker to prevent chaos.

And a lesson too for our flawed elected -soon to be exiled- leader: San Diegans (on whole) are a lot smarter than you calculated.

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Avatar for user 'dshanske'

dshanske | August 22, 2013 at 8:40 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

With all the incessant National Enquirer-type media coverage on Filner these past weeks, I cannot understand where all these investigative reporters were when we needed them last year before we put our time and dollars into the election process??

HOWEVER, from now on I'm counting on all the ANTI-FILNER FOLKS to step-up 100% for women's rights - AND investigate the rampant sexual abuse/rapes in the military, demand equal pay for equal work between men and women, guarantee family planning options for ALL women, expose the "good old boy's club" in Washington, DC where Filner obviously got his training!! When I see these results I'll know that San Diegans are truly supporting women's rights.

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Avatar for user 'MarineRoom'

MarineRoom | August 22, 2013 at 9:04 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

We shall see what the deal is on Friday and whether the fat lady sings on that same day.

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Avatar for user 'domke'

domke | August 22, 2013 at 9:30 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Dshanske - Right on! You said it - where were the media?! It seems that there's a whole lot of "I told you so..." out there. This level of hypocrisy drives me crazy. Why the heck do journalists even bother if all they want to do is play catch up?

But the more salient issue is equal rights. The putrid state of civil affairs this whole mess demonstrates has got to stop. Leaders should lead by example as much as they seem to do with votes, kickbacks, and favors.

If the politicians are incapable of moral certitude, then forget it! We can shove them off this broken continent and try another form of governance. Gosh darn it!

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | August 22, 2013 at 10:52 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

I just listened to a male survivor of Sexual Assault on KPBS Midday Edition project his personal trauma on to Mayor Filner and the host just accepted it. Just like AM Radio, three times they quoted the Bob "I have a monster inside me", but never mentioned that the Accusers all have connections to Downtown business interests. Nor did KPBS admit it's own connection to the Jacobs family and that their investigative journalists benefit directly from Jacobs "philanthropy". The KPBS "Journalists" openly accept that these allegations are true, never questioning the motives and even letting the accusers promote their books and political consulting businesses. Filner has not been charged with any crime, none of the women even thought it necessary to sue him in civil court. (except for that one Republican Public Relations operative). Such fair and balanced reporting should be on FAUX NEWS.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | August 23, 2013 at 9:36 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

"If the politicians are incapable of moral certitude, then forget it! We can shove them off this broken continent and try another form of governance. Gosh darn it!"

Even though you swear like a sailor, bravo! The reason the public is so shocked is that we tell ourselves the same lies politicians tell us. Filner's ability to leverage the City is further evidence of his political skill, and proof that politics is a very dirty business.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 23, 2013 at 11:34 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Excellent Filosofer! Thank you1

But which Jacobs is the KPBS connection? Not the right wing supervisor???

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | August 23, 2013 at 12:39 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

If only people would stop caring so much about politicians, and start caring about politics.

Hundreds of backdoor deals, special interests, piggybacking, and pork, but it's not until a personal scandal comes to light that people finally light their torches and grab their pitchforks.

I guess it's easier to blindly hate a person than to attain and execute critical analysis of the ongoing political situation. The willful ignorance is compounded when big business interests can all rally and create a perfect storm.

Is nobody questioning the timing? Filner was actually employing some decent politics before this scandal came to light. Then decades of inappropriate behavior is suddenly thrust into the spotlight? It all seems so staged, like some sort of aristocratic SWAT team.

I just want everyone involved in this circus to burn. They all stink. This whole situation is a cancer on San Diego.

I would say power to the people, but they seem to relinquish power to the TV, so what's the point?

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 24, 2013 at 10:19 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

What i will truly miss now that the tenure of Mayor Bob Filner is coming to a close is the priceless material he provided the late night comics and the cartoonists.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 24, 2013 at 10:52 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago


We need to care about the character of politicians as well as the politics. A politician who is not virtuous, can not and should not lead. I am sorry if you think it was heartless or mean of San Diego to oust Mr. Filner, but if you know him, then you know he wasn't such a nice man to his staff:

Yes. Political deal making should be something we pay attention to at both sides of the Political Spectrum ... both the Labor Unions and to the Developer interest. Filner was WAY too close with the Labor Unions who have proven during this Filner Fiasco to be 100% self-interested and blind to what is right for women in the workplace.

Right, a personal scandal gripped the nation that caused people to speak up and oust a man who lost the faith of the an overwhelming majority of citizens. There's no conspiracy here. Your grasping at straws.

I do not hate Bob nor do the majority of people who have stated their opinions in the media. We are very glad to see him go. Bob is a flawed individual as we all have our own demons and foibles to deal with. Bob chose his profession. He made his own moral choices, habitual virtues habitual vices. He has a monster and inside himself and he needs time off to heal. I wish him the best.

I'll critically analyze this political situation with you any day of the week as long as the long as the framework going forward is based on traditional logic and not emotion.

Big Business has nothing to do with this. Sounds like you are deflecting and venting a bit which i can understand.

No do not questioning the timing. It was just a matter of time before Bob Filner's Karma ran over his dogma. Because he is public official, this was done in a very public way.

You want "everyone involved in this circus to burn. They all stink. This whole situation is a cancer on San Diego."... wow you have some anger issues about this whole thing. You need to take a deep breath and lighten up.

Power to the people! Say it. Why not. TV is a tool of the people. Internet is a tool of the people. Protest is a tool of people. People exercised the tools at their disposal. The answer in and the people have spoken.

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