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Filner’s Exit Isn’t The End Of San Diego’s Mayoral Mayhem

Above: Mayor Bob Filner tells the City Council he will resign.

On Friday, the embattled mayor of San Diego officially steps down. Allegations of sexual harassment against Bob Filner have rocked the eighth-largest American city, which now has to pick up the pieces and elect a new mayor.

Aired 8/30/13 on KPBS News.

On Friday, the embattled mayor of San Diego officially steps down. Allegations of sexual harassment against him have rocked the eighth-largest American city, which now has to pick up the pieces and elect a new mayor.

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.

The announcement last week that Filner would leave office was greeted with cheers, boos and a flurry of activity from the press — but it all went quiet when the soon-to-be ex-mayor emerged from a swell of bodyguards to speak at the podium.

"I take responsibility for putting the city through a very bad time," Filner said. "Again, I apologize to all of you. Certainly it was never my intention to be a mayor who went out like this."

Then the cracked voice and tone of apology gave way to indignation — and blame: "I started my political career facing lynch mobs," Filner said, "and I think we have just faced one here in San Diego."

That tone of persecution isn't completely misplaced, says University of California political scientist Steve Erie. As the first Democratic mayor in San Diego in 20 years, Filner went into office with a target on his back, Erie says.

"He was always a fighter for the little person. And his campaign was one of putting not only neighborhoods, but putting people of color, community activists, environmental and neighborhood activists first. They have not had a voice," Erie says. "This is a town that has been run by the downtown corporate welfare crowd for years."

Erie says the terrible irony is the guy who was supposed to stand up for the little person was going around making women feel small. Women like Laura Fink, the second to publicly accuse Filner.

Fink, who is also a Democrat, says a true progressive vision involves ending a culture of sexual harassment across the board.

"With more people coming forward, with more people reporting it, the less impact it will have and the stronger each workplace will be," Fink says. "And the more accountable these men in power will be."

So far, no woman has entered the race to replace Filner. A special election has been set for Nov. 19. It is unclear what party might have the upper hand.

Until then, City Council President Todd Gloria will serve as interim mayor. Gloria was one of the many members of Filner's own party who called for the mayor to step down.

"My hope is that we can show that Democrats can run this city and run it effectively and competently," he says. "I don't know that we've really seen that for the last number of months, but I know that we can see that in the next few months."

Gloria won't say yet if he is running to replace Filner permanently. But as he packs to make the move eight floors up to the mayor's office, he says the city needs to heal.

"When the average San Diegan can go about their day not wondering what horrible new story is going to come out of this building, I think that heals the city," Gloria says.

Another possible contender in the special election is longtime Republican council member Kevin Faulconer. Despite being on different sides of the political aisle, he and Gloria have been pretty inseparable as of late.

"Now we have an opportunity as a city to come together, to heal," he says, "particularly in the next several months."

But those next several months will also serve as the staging grounds for what could be a very contentious election.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | August 31, 2013 at 8:54 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

"It's both bizarre and racist that Dunkin' Donuts thinks that it must color a woman's skin black and accentuate her lips with bright pink lipstick to sell a chocolate doughnut," said Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. Bob Filner's last act as Mayor was to freeze the building permit for a Jack-in-the-Box which many neighbors opposed. Todd Gloria's first action was to nullify that Jack in the Box restraint. He won't be eliminating the blight of billboards with 100 foot poles next to freeways. He won't be fighting for a living wage for fast-food workers or hotel domestics (which was the first blow against Bob Filner as far as Doug Manchester the hotel and newspaper magnate was concerned). Gloria worked .closely with Kevin Faulconer, Jan Goldsmith and Jerry Sanders -- all Republicans -- to lynch Bob Filner. I waited a long time to have the opportunity to speak with a like-mind person in the mayor's office. He met with everyone who who stood in line on the first Saturday of the month for six months. I had that opportunity, plus another two meetings with him -- to push my agenda -- which was youth rugby.
Bob Filner was framed worse than Roger Rabbit.
Jessica Rabbit: You have no idea how hard it is to be a woman shaped as I am. Bob: You have no idea how hard it is to be a man with you shaped as you are. Jessica: I'm not bad; I was just drawn that way. Bob: Same here!

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Avatar for user 'PatG'

PatG | August 31, 2013 at 9:17 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Someday I hope the dastardly role that KPBS played in this trial-by-media is fully known.
This was a well-orchestrated lynching for the benefit of the filthy rich Qualcom exec. KPBS has sold out. It is obvious in your biased reporting and in your lack of coverage of important issues. You have now joined the rest of the right-wing media that plagues and dooms San Diego. How can a population make any informed decisions when all they hear is the constant 24/7 din of right-wing lies? You are a disgrace to the community.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 31, 2013 at 10:44 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

The Five Stages of Bob Filner Die-hard Groupie Post Scandal Grief

• Denial and isolation: "This is not happening. Bob did not grope anyone. He's just a lover and a hugger with a fire & a monster in his belly who likes to tell a dirty joke or two at work."

• Anger: "How dare they do this to me. It' the 19 women. They are at fault. It's Doug Manchester's fault. He did it from his honeymoon suite. Qualcomm did it. The Chargers are at fault. The lovers of money did it. Carl Demaio did it. Bob didn't do it. He is innocent. Santa Claus and a pack of WASP elves formed an elfin lynch mob and did it."

• Bargaining: "Just let me live to see Bob clean another rock in La Jolla cove. I will sell my soul to beelzebub and give up using logic if i can get Bob back."

• Depression: "I can't bear to face San Diego without Bob. Bob is my Prozac-Lithium happy pill cocktail. Without Bob I am like a JerryGarcia-less tie-dyed t-shirt & bandanna wearing dead-head roaming around the country searching for a Grateful Dead concert in 2013. What's the point. I can't go on."

• Acceptance: "I don't want to struggle anymore. I'm fighting a losing battle. I'm ready to look for a new Mayoral candidate. I have come to terms with the fact that the DNC platform is not owned by the monster living in Bob's belly. It is mine. Ours. A new day has dawned."

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | August 31, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Now I am hungry for a chocolate donut and a Jumbo Jack. Maybe that will make some sort of a new brunch theme in San Diego. A brunch like that would surely make San Diego a destination stop for the discriminating food lovers. I will mention it the next time I go through the drive-thru. I have to use the drive-thru because I am usually late for rugby.

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Avatar for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | August 31, 2013 at 12:54 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Agree with PatG. Pathetic coverage. One sided. Create hysteria that lead to political Lynching.

No investigation and no fact checking on the urgency to force a Resignation by Section 108 charges for credit cards, and upholding our Council Policy on the City Council's and City Attorney's illegal gift of two Public Park Easements to the private Sunroad developers. The fraud occurred when the April 30, 2013 City Council Hearing Agenda stated No Fiscal Consideration for the Waiver of Council Policy.

"Fiscal Considerations: None."

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | August 31, 2013 at 5:18 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Seems to me that Bozo the Mayor got fair coverage here. How many women should you be able to abuse? The guy was a creep. Get over it.

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | August 31, 2013 at 11:18 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

How many women did he abuse? How many did he harass? Not all of these accusers are legitimate victims of harassment. Bob is a loser and he did abuse his power and trust. But I really could care less if he hit on you once at a gala and you didn't like it. Grow some thicker skin. Some parts of this debacle are as ridiculous as his behavior.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | September 1, 2013 at 9:07 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

where were the males in the lives of the women filner abused?

seems to me he better be watching his back now that he does not have a security detail,

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | September 1, 2013 at 12:32 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Big hotel owners and real estate developers rejoice. Todd Gloria is focused on restoring city hall's traditional corporate welfare model of governance. Be sure to send him contributions for his mayoral campaign.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | September 1, 2013 at 2:05 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Todd Gloria is a democrat and is pro-business? That's great info DonWood thank you. I'll have to take a closer look at him as a candidate. It's great to know that there are Democrats Leaders out there who are fiscally sound in there thinking when interpreting what policies are in best interest of the people. It's reassuring too to know that fringe socialist thinking is not allowed to dominate the democratic agenda and that Todd understands capitalism and is willing to take a balanced approach.

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Avatar for user 'MarineRoom'

MarineRoom | September 1, 2013 at 4:17 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago


You are so right. Socialism for rich has returned to San Diego after a few months of pro-small business and individual rights focus by the city government.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | September 1, 2013 at 5:14 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Marineroom- Why do you infer Todd Gloria an advocate of Socialism for the rich and why do you accuse him of being anti-small business and individual rights ?

You really need to get over Filner. Filner has been banished into exile. You really need to get the acceptance stage, get with the program and pick a new candidate who best espouses your far far far far way to the left beliefs instead of bitching and moaning acting like an incontinent chicken-little claiming that the sky is falling. You make statements without the evidence to back up your claims. I'd be shocked if you were ever a business owner. My guess is your beholden to a union.

Would not surprise me at all if next you accuse Mr. Gloria of being a racist and a homophobe... again, of course... your modus operandi....without evidence.

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Avatar for user 'MarineRoom'

MarineRoom | September 2, 2013 at 2:55 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Dear me, such temper from someone who just got what he had long desired. No sense in having a battle of wits with an unarmed man. You clearly do not know this city.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | September 2, 2013 at 5:21 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago


I don't have a temper and yes I am relatively new to the city and its politics. I am having fun on the blog trying to understand both sides of the political spectrum and i am coming up to speed so bear with me. So let me understand your statement above. According to you, if i rephrase what you say above, you are much too witty and intelligent to ever entertain the thought of conversing or providing any explanations to your claims with those whom you feel are in a 'lesser' intelligence category than you. LOL Are you serious Marineroom ?? Stifle yourself. By your own admission you are the textbook definition of a snob:

I think your miffed that Todd Gloria followed through with what Goldsmith had advised way back when he moved forward once he took over as our interim Mayor and refused the 'old' Mayor's stop work order on the illegal North Park Jack. You need to see the forest for the trees in the justification. He was protecting the city from liability. His job is to ensure our tax dollars don't get lost in litigation.

For such a witty wise person as you claim to be, one would expect more 'solutions' out of you rather than blame game antics and vague conspiracy theories. Please put down 2009 Hagafen Cellars Napa Valley Prix Cabernet Franc and get real.

Also, rather than, who you 'don't' want for Mayor, who DO you want for the new mayor and why?

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