Roundtable: San Diego’s Top Stories of 2013
Friday, December 27, 2013
Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
Tom Fudge, KPBS News
Maureen Cavanaugh, KPBS News
Bob Filner Resigns
Of all the San Diego stories in the news in 2013, none mesmerized us more than the breathtaking telenovela of the disgrace and downfall of San Diego's new mayor, Bob Filner.
He was the city's first Democratic mayor in decades, a hero to many progressives, and an office holder for many years. Most of us thought we knew who he was. Some might have thought of him as unlikeable, volatile and rude. Some were not bothered terribly by those characteristics. Most probably had no idea.
It's fair to say that the behavior that brought him down -- his serial mistreatment, manhandling even, of women on his staff, women he met at events, women he walked by in City Hall everyday -- was not madly beeping on our radar to say "I told you so."
The entire process from the first vague revelations of misconduct to the mayor's resignation on Aug. 23 took just over six weeks. Then came the plea bargain, the guilty plea, and, at last, the sentencing.
But it's not over.
Special Mayoral Election
In the election to replace him coming up in February 2014, first-term San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez announced he would step into Filner's progressive shoes to run. The Republican candidate became Councilman Kevin Faulconer.
Squeezed in the middle was former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who, while arguably better known than either, could not compete in the big money stakes. Outgunned and outraised, Fletcher folded.
San Onofre Closes
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, provider of electric power to Orange and San Diego counties since 1967, installed new Mitsubishi generators in 2012. The first small leak in those generators was detected in February 2013. In May of that year, it was discovered that 1,300 generator tubes had been damaged.
After a year of public finger-pointing (at Mitsubishi, Southern California Edison, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission) by June 2013, Southern California Edison had had enough. It decided to retire the plant altogether rather than replace the faulty generators.
We are left without a power source and with lots of spent nuclear fuel rods.
San Diego Hospice Closes
A whistle-blower lawsuit by a fired nurse filed in December 2012, alleged that that San Diego Hospice routinely admitted patients ineligible for care. In fact, the end-of-life-care institution had caught the attention of federal regulators prior to the suit.
By mid-2013, the venerable and once highly respected institution was accused of falsifying patient records. Medicare reimburses a hospice $150 per day per patient if the patient has six months or less to live. San Diego Hospice's "open house policy" meant they accepted and cared for patients far longer than six months.
This year, San Diego Hospice filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors permanently.