Filner’s New Hire: Republican Coup Or Savvy Political Move?
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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?
SAN DIEGO 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.”