Filner Says He Hoped For More Tranquil First 100 Days
Mayor Bob Filner said today he didn't plan on a series of "polarizing'' confrontations with members of the City Council and other interests when he took office, but conceded it was the result of trying to change the status quo in San Diego.
"I would have hoped for a more tranquil first 100 days,'' Filner said at his monthly informal gathering with reporters.
Filner has had public spats with City Council President Todd Gloria and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, and also angered leaders of the hotel industry by refusing to sign an operating agreement that activates the Tourism Marketing District -- which promotes San Diego as a destination.
On Tuesday, the City Council passed a resolution to require the mayor to sign the TMD contract.
"I thought it was a set-up to teach me a lesson,'' Filner said.
The mayor said he negotiated revisions to the terms of the TMD agreement over the last few days and believed he was close to a deal. He said his position has now changed.
"I saw it as bad-faith bargaining, (the TMD) hoping that we wouldn't agree,'' Filner said.
Filner gained a reputation for a confrontational style during 10 terms in Congress, and he came to office in San Diego promising to move political power from what he calls "downtown special interests'' to the neighborhoods.
Besides the TMD issue, he has also butted heads with the City Council over appointments to the commission that oversees the Port of San Diego, and nominees to the San Diego Association of Governments, a regional planning body.
He said he will work to repair relationships and pointed out several instances in which he has joined with City Council opponents on different issues, including Kevin Faulconer on repairing the seawall at Mission Beach; Mark Kersey on fixing up structures at Rancho Bernardo Community Park; and Scott Sherman on making improvements to Mission Trails Regional Park.
On Tuesday, Sherman accused Filner of being an "arsonist-fireman'' --causing a problem and rushing in to try to solve it.
The mayor responded that the TMD issue was one of great importance.
"This goes to how the city has been run and how I want to change it,'' Filner said.
He said he has neither called TMD representatives today to resume negotiations nor heard from them.