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Filner’s New Hire: Republican Coup Or Savvy Political Move?

Aired 7/19/13 on KPBS News.

The mayor has hired Walt Ekard as interim chief operating officer, but what does it mean for the Mayor's Office and for the embattled Filner?

— Mayor Bob Filner is digging in his heels — he's said he won’t resign in the wake of continued accusations of sexual harassment, but he said the hiring of Walt Ekard will allow him to fight for his innocence.

There are a growing number of others who don’t take that same view, like City Council President Todd Gloria, who said it was too little, too late.

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.

“We do not have a staffing problem at the city. We have a mayor problem,” Gloria said. "And so these hires, as good as they are, are not sufficient to solve the leadership crisis that we have at the city.”

UC San Diego political scientist Steven Erie said the hire is actually a constructive outcome from a bad situation.

“He would have needed to do something anyway. His office was not well-managed, lots of people, not only the business community but his core supporters his progressive supporters, has difficulty getting through gate keepers in the Mayor’s Office,” Erie said. “It was a real problem.”

Erie said right now, the Mayor’s Office is basically in receivership, but he said not to make too much out of the fact that Filner has brought in a conservative republican like Ekard to run his office.

“Certainly this is an attempt to build a rapport with the business community. I wouldn’t call it a Republican coup,” he said. “If you know anything about Bob Filner, right, I mean he’s not going to tremendously surrender power.”

Comments

Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | July 17, 2013 at 7:52 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

whatever these clowns do, it won't be good for the tax payers.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 17, 2013 at 7:54 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

This is governance without representation.

I have defended Filner's right to due process and to resist resigning until non-hearsay evidence is on record, however I don't support this.

We elected Filner to be a progressive mayor - build relations with Mexico, work with community neighborhoods and not just the power elite, fund the arts, protect balboa park and put coastal and desert environments from parasitic builders, grow our biotech sector.

By putting a man without many of these visions in power is tantamount to spitting in the face of those of us who voted for a progressive mayor to change the status quo.

Between Filner's stubbornness and horniness, and Frye, Gonzalez, and Briggs incompetent way of handling this, I am disgusted by ALL the mainstream Democratic leaders in this town.

Looks like San Diego will remain a backwards cowtown thanks to these idiots.

I think it's time to look at moving - when people who share my political views are too stupid to govern and can't even make it a year without eating each other alive and mishandling a sex scandal (something NOT rare in politics) then something is very wrong.

Filner, Gloria, Frye, Gonzales, Briggs - all political incompetents I am quickly coming to find out. Shame on you ALL - we were finally seeing real change in this city and all I you have screwed it up in one way or another.

ALL of you have embarrassed San Diego on the national stage.

Why don't you idiots just take the keys to the city, put them in a covered silver platter, and white glove deliver them over to Manchester.

I've given Filner the benefit of the doubt to ether come clean or fight honestly, and I've given fry Gonzales and Briggs the opportunity to produce ONE non-hearsay piece of evidence. I've also given the city council a chance to step up and take control of this, but Gloria has proven he just wants to be Frye and Gonzales' lapdog.

Shame on you all!

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 17, 2013 at 7:58 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

If Briggs and Gonzales were even remotely skilled attorneys, they would have convinced an accuser or witness to go on record by now.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | July 17, 2013 at 8:34 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

'If Briggs and Gonzales were even remotely skilled attorneys" they would not be involved in this plan ( money grubbers in the short run.

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Avatar for user 'ICare'

ICare | July 17, 2013 at 8:48 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Peking_Duck_SD...you and I agree. Moving to a grown up city like Portland, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco seems like the way to go. We embrace mediocrity in this town and these last few weeks are indicative of a continuous problem at city hall. We are missing leadership with heart. My dad used to say, "The higher up the ladder you go the more your ass shows." How true it is.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | July 17, 2013 at 9:05 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Moving to another city is too severe a response to this temporary problem. In talking with friends, the real crime here is that the City doesn't have an established plan with dealing with this type of case. It's 2013 and we're SHOCKED that a politician would engage in sexual harassment?!?! Instead of focusing on food stamp recipients and drug-addicts, we need to DEMAND better quality from our elected officials. San Diego doesn't have to beg anyone to lead this city. It's time we select the best candidate instead of the lesser of two evils.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | July 17, 2013 at 10:19 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

And the drama continues....

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Avatar for user 'theRose'

theRose | July 17, 2013 at 10:43 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Peking Duck has said it all:

"Filner, Gloria, Frye, Gonzales, Briggs - all political incompetents I am quickly coming to find out. Shame on you ALL - we were finally seeing real change in this city and all I you have screwed it up in one way or another. ALL of you have embarrassed San Diego on the national stage. Why don't you idiots just take the keys to the city, put them in a covered silver platter, and white glove deliver them over to Manchester."

We had a chance, ever so brief, to join the sophisticated coastal cities . . . to attract progressives, intellectuals, and innovators to our fair community, and now it seems like this posse of pseudo-progressives has set San Diego back ten years.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 17, 2013 at 2:01 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Duck,

You said Democrats have "embarrassed San Diego on the national stage" and you are "disgusted by ALL the mainstream Democratic leaders in this town" and think "San Diego will remain a backwards cowtown thanks to these idiots."

I just can't help thinking back a few short months ago during the election when Democrats so fervently (and sometimes viciously) attacked anyone who raised concerns about Filner's history. They said with unquestioning conviction he would turn this city around.

Democrats, are you proud of this blind obedience?

Are these YOUR values?

Is this who YOU are?

I'm not saying Republicans are better, but you have lost your "progressive" credibility. You're just the left wing of the Republican Party. Or Republicans are your right wing. Either way you're both the same.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 17, 2013 at 2:27 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

CAdefender, I'm a Democrat because, in general, I agree with their policies more than Republicans.

I support Filner's agenda. I know you dislike him regardless of sexual harassment charges, but I think he was doing a good job trying to change the status quo and stand up to interests who have long had free reign to write their own tickets in this town.

Even with this scandal, I'm still convinced Mr. Carl DeMaio would have been WORSE.

I still hope democrats can get their ax together and move forward but as I said above all I have seen so far is incompetence.

You know it's bad when not a single prominant republican is chiming in.

Democrats are doing such a good job destroying themselves, republicans can just sit back and watch it all happen with a bag of popcorn.

It's a truly sad time for our city, truly truly sad! :(

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | July 17, 2013 at 2:44 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

"lots of people, not only the business community but his core supporters his progressive supporters, has difficulty getting through gate keepers in the Mayor’s Office,” Erie said. “It was a real problem.”

Looks like some of the dysfunction in the mayor's office should be laid at the feet of his former chief of staff, the one who attacked his boss as he was leaving the job, instead of blaming the mayor himself.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 17, 2013 at 4:54 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Duck,

I supported Filner in his efforts to protect the seals in La Jolla and on many environmental issues. I also supported his anti-developer campaign promise but, as we have come to know, Filner was in bed with them all along.

Many Republicans became disenchanted with the party after Bush. They have/are leaving to become moderate independents or libertarians. But the same is not true of Democrats. They believe the same old lies each election cycle.

Why are Democrats not waking up? Why do they blindly believe people like Filner, Brown, and Obama?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 18, 2013 at 3:55 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

CA Defender, comparing Filner to Obama?

I don't think that's even remotely fair.

Obama hasn't kept all his promises (Guantanamo bay closing, not wasting money on prosecuting MM), but he has been overall a solid leader - reforming healthcare, gay rights, ending wars.

Obama also has a lovely wife and two beautiful girls and would not disrespect women the way Filner is accused of doing.

Same for Jerry Brown. He has been OK, his handling of the prison situation is terrible though. But still, to equate him with someone accused of groping and violating women is simply not fair.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 18, 2013 at 6:03 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Duck,

Obama and Filner are similar. Obama has kept few promises and has been an ineffective leader who is not respected in Washington or abroad. Healthcare reform was actually developed in the House and wasn't an Obama initiative. Gay rights? We have the states to thank for that and the Supreme Court ruled DOMA was unconstitutional. Obama played no role in it. Ending wars? He moved soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan and replaced them with unaccountable contractors.

Filner is exactly like Obama except he is a womanizer. At least Obama kept it in his pants (that we know of). That is a big deal in Washington. So a big point for him.

Brownie? He turned his back on unions, universities, and environmentalists. Yeah, nice pick Dems!

Again, my question is why do Democrats keep voting for people who say one thing and do another? Don't they learn? The growing ranks of ex-Republicans seem to be figuring it out.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 18, 2013 at 10:36 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

@CA Offender, Arlen Specter became a Democrat, not an "independent" or Libertarian.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 18, 2013 at 10:46 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Hey posters, notice how CA off very quietly skipped over Obama's 2008 campaign promise of immigration reform before his first term was up? LOL

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 19, 2013 at 12:11 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Mission,

Specter was a text book flip flopper. When challenged during his final Republican primary, Specter voted 84% with Repubs. After switching to Democrat, he voted 70% with his new party until he was challenged in the primary and voted with Dems 97% of the time. Pure Washington-style "just tell 'em what they want to hear" politics.

Filner, Brown, and Obama are all masters at that.

And what is your point about immigration reform? Much like Filner, lots of election pandering with no results.

Wash, rinse, and repeat, Democrats! I hope that shampoo is tearless.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 19, 2013 at 1:45 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

CADef, you really think people who claim to leave the Republican Party to call themselves something else but who still vote Republican are better than Democrats who at least are honest about who they are voting for?

Tell me what candidates these supposedly brilliant Republican-cum-Independents are voting for? Have any of these magical candidates been elected? If so, provide examples.

As far as Obama goes, he is a politician and as such there are things I don't like.

Look at who history has determined are top Presidents - Lincoln, FDR, Reagan - all had scandals.

I think you are being unfair to President Obama.

While certainly not perfect, he is not the failure you claim:

HEALTH CARE: Like it or not, passing major, game-changing legislation like this early on and in the midst of the worst economic decline since the Great Depression was a solid accomplishment. The Clintons and others on the Dem side had been trying for decades to pass overhaul health care legislation and Obama was able to do it quickly early in his first term in office, exactly as he promised to do on the campaign trail.

GAY RIGHTS: Even though he was "prompted" by Biden, Obama still made the decision to be the first sitting President in the history of this country to support full marriage rights for gays and lesbians. Yes approval for this was on the rise, but it was still a huge political gamble. There was no precedence for it. When Obama decided to take the plunge and say he supports full marriage rights for LG citizens, he took political risk, it could have backfired. But he took the right move, for equality, and it ended up helping him more than hurting him, I believe.

DISASTERS: Obama has been a solid leader during times of natural disaster, in stark contrast to G.W. Bush. Remember the hurricane that devastated the northeastern seaboard? Obama put petty politics aside, reached across the isle to Mr. Christie and put the welfare of those caught in the disaster ahead of petty politics.

ENDING WARS: Too slow I agree, but at least he's doing it. Even though we as citizens call for it like it's a simple process, ending entrenched wars, even ones in a quagmire, is not easy to do and carries political risk. (Which is why Vietnam dragged on so much longer than it should have).

KILLED BIN LADEN: Again, the President took a huge amount of political risk here. Had this mission not been successful, he would have been crucified. Of course the soldiers who carried out the operation deserve direct credit, but President Obama made a risky move approving it and proved, in my opinion, to be a decisive and effective leader.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 19, 2013 at 1:45 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

(cont).

ECONOMY: Let's not forget, worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. We are getting through it slowly but surely. Of course people can argue the role the President's policies have played in this, but I'm of the firm opinion that without the stimulus he advocated for we would have plunged even deeper, possibly into a depression.

VIEW GLOBALLY: I don't know what planet you are on saying Obama has diminished our reputation internationally, I have traveled overseas both during the G.W. Bush Administrations as well as during Obama's administration, and there is no question the world sees us differently - Obama doesn't get all the credit for this, Hillary Clinton deserves much of it - but that leads me to another thing I like about Obama - his ability to put the good of the country ahead of pettiness and place Ms. Clinton, someone he knew would excel as our Sec. of State, in that important position despite a nasty primary season.

MID-EAST: I don't think Obama has done a bad job in the MIddle East. Those saying we should be more directly involved are idiots - no coup that is branded as being at the hands of the U.S.A. will have any legitimacy in an Arab land. Obama has taken a "behind the scenes" approach which I actually agree with. What happened in Libya and Egypt are looked at as organic, not forced by Western influence. The Libyans killed their own dictator, someone who U.S. Presidents since Reagan had tried and failed to get. If we had become overtly involved, Gaddafi would have probably been able to make a sympathetic case for himself to the masses that they should support him because the opposition is just a puppet of the U.S.

As far as scandals go, only two hold water: This recording our medidata from phone records crap and the shameful refusal to close Guantanamo. Both extremely troubling to me, however not enough to outweigh the positive and put Obama in the category you are trying to pin him into.

The Bengazi "scandal" and the IRS "scandal", by the way, are NOT scandals but are inflated smoke screens brought about by the hard right. I can explain why I take that position on each one, but I think I've wasted enough space here on an unrelated rant.

The things above are just what came to my mind sporadically as typing this, but I think you will find it's sufficient enough to refute your claim that Obama is as bad as you say or that - bit your tongue - Obame is just like Bob Filner!!!!!!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 19, 2013 at 2:07 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Guantanamo would fall under "view globally." I think he has much Republican resistance and he hasn't called off the hounds in our holy war on drugs!

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 19, 2013 at 2:14 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Yes, agree mission.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 19, 2013 at 2:26 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't recall "gay rights" as being SPECIFICALLY part of Obama's 2008 campaign promises, so I don't know if that necessarily counts or not.

yes and Fletcher is an example of what Offender is talking about, HOWEVER, like Duck said, he hasn't been elected to any office yet.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 19, 2013 at 6:29 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

We could debate all day long the things Obama has or hasn't done. I think we can at least agree he hasn't lived up to his "yes we can" image.

Top presidents are Lincoln, FDR and Reagan? I'd say bottom because of their scandals and I'm fairly applying the same standard to Obama.

I hope Democrats start searching for third parties in light of this massive betrayal of their core values by Filner, Brown, and Obama. Do Democrats have similar anti-establishment options like the Tea Party or libertarians? No? Why not?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 20, 2013 at 1 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

CADef, the tea party? REALLY? Their candidates are simply the right wing of the Republican Party.

Michele Bachmann is the leader of the tea part caucus, is THAT. The type of person you are talking about to save the country??????????

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Avatar for user 'MarineRoom'

MarineRoom | July 20, 2013 at 2:44 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Peking, you make many good points, although I do not consider the situation quite as dire. A little airing of oddities early on, can lead to a stronger direction henceforth.

My fave line in your post was about the keys to the city. I agree that handing them over is the final result of all this emoting. If one is on the other side, this is great.

To me, I find sex scandals mildly amusing when the accused is a person whose career was based on everyone being chaste. Otherwise, I have no interest, preferring to judge a civil servant on policy. In that regard, I was against the war on Murphy and I am also against the war on Filner. Most of this is rumor-mongering. Where is the evidence, and if proven, why should the press or Filner's "allies" (aka enemies) decide the remedy?

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