Bob Filner, My Kind of Snarly Guy

by on June 27, 2012 · 10 comments

in Civil Rights, From the Soul, History, Labor, Politics, Popular, San Diego

Both candidates for Mayor of San Diego are viewed as fighters, but only one has repeatedly and habitually demonstrated a genuine concern for the people he is elected to serve.

Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner have both been described as “snarly.” Maybe they are but Bob has got a lot of snarling to do to match Carl.

I mean Bob pretty much, from what I’ve seen personally, as a friend of his over the years, only snarls at the likes of the promoters of injustices in our society like the fat cats in high positions and places who spend their lives conniving how to deny us “regular” folks a nice slice of the American Pie, not caring whether we live or die.

But Carl seems to snarl at those who don’t see the world as he does, known for treating his council peers like a spoiled child patting and palming his ears and chanting: “Nah-nah-nah-nah…” – all caught up in a little enterprise called “Cleaning Up City Hall,” going about it like the shower scene in Psycho, the epitome of snarliness.

I don’t understand his appeal as I’m just not inspired by a leader who highsteps like a drum major at halftime at a Tuskegee/Morehouse football game 0n behalf of narrow mindedness, rallying angry people with attitudes like “I have a lousy retirement plan so why should city workers have a decent one,” playing on such depressing sentiments by offering hard working people 401(k)’s – while millions of citizens of the USA have retired with such pay days and now live about as comfortable as a man with no flexibility trying to sleep while doing the splits. That’s pretty doggone snarly, if you ask me.

All because a handful of scheming city workers, like sharks floating around in murky waters, while nobody was looking, bit a huge chunk out of the system’s rearend.

Bob would simply see that something like this never happens again.

One man grandstands, hailing himself as some kind of super business man and the other extends a helping hand, having actively worked towards creating a better world for more years than Carl has been alive.

Bob marched, but it wasn’t a jig; it was as a Freedom Rider who was jailed in Mississippi so that the rights of folks like me would be equal to the rights of all Americans. I don’t know what he said back then when he talked but I know that he backed it up by walking the walk – in mean streets, if there ever were any.

His activism in behalf of everyone who seeks a life of dignity is way more promising to me than what Carl has to offer with his union busting agenda considering that “We the People” are the unions. How does a voter having a “final say on any future pension benefit increases” or “requiring competitive bidding and outsourcing of some city functions to cut costs and create jobs” contribute to us being the best we can be? He has his followers quivering in their anger at life, in general, and their fears for the economy, specifically, and striking out at their fellow citizens, our city employees, like grim reapers on steroids.

But Bob’s endeavors over time have molded him into a true representative of everyday people. I walked neighborhoods and knocked on doors with him during his campaign for the San Diego City Schools Board of Education back in the late 70’s and saw how he took time to talk to people, heart to heart, how he listened with undivided attention. That impression is indelible in my mind.

And isn’t it through listening that leaders find ways to tend to people’s needs – all people’s needs? How can we make the changes in our system needed to respect the diversity represented in our communities if all of us aren’t listened to? Carl has too many answers to all our problems to listen. He’s got a “90-page-step-by-step plan.” One man, just a-stepping and a-bragging about how he’s going to forgo his pension as though that’s a hardship to a millionaire. Hey, come on, that’s like a seven footer vowing not to dunk against a midget. No big deal. And what an insult to someone who would starve without a pension.

I like my mayors to be real. Respectful of how all people feel. I’ve seen Bob give and give to this community, on the Board of Education, on the City Council and in one of the most ethnically diverse congressional districts in the country. He’s a man for all the people. That’s my kind of snarly.

Photo courtesy of

Editor’s Note: Ernie’s piece today could not be more timely, as Mr. Filner appeared last night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” to talk about the VA and what he wants to do to improve the circumstances of vets who need access to care and are having trouble getting it. Throughout the interview, Filner comes across as a man who genuinely cares about the people he serves, and on a personal note, I’m not sure you can say the same about Carl DeMaio. Here’s the segment:

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jack Hamlin June 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

Damn Ernie! Great stuff…I’m trying to think of more to say, but it’s not coming. Just great stuff.


avatar Ernie McCray June 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

Thank you, my man.


avatar Brian Brady June 27, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I honestly think that conservatives and liberals just look at the world through different lenses. I can completely understand why you feel the way you do about Bob Filner but I don’t think you can understand that conservatives like Carl because we think he stands up for the “common guy”. Let me explain:

1- We saw Republicans of the past pander to big business. Then, we saw Democrats realize that big business has no ideological bent (it just looks for favors) and they jumped on that pandering bandwagon.

2- We saw Democrats pander to big labor for years. Then, we saw Republicans realize the “public safety unions” were “acceptable unions” to Republicans and watched them pander to public safety unions as well.

3- We see small businesses, and homeowners, get snarled in ridiculous legislation at the federal, state, and local level. We think that all those businesses want to do is serve customers and that all the homeowners want to do is to improve their property.

4- We see government as one big broken system, a kleptocracy where legislators pander for votes and unions, big companies, and special interest groups trade votes (or campaign contributions) for special favors.

5- We see our neighbors, who spent more than they made (like the Legislature does) , lose their homes and businesses (or worse, get bailed out ). When we feel that the City, or the Legislature, overspends and tries to levy more taxes, we equate that with the bailed out banks and businesses.

6-When liberals talk about “social justice”, conservatives talk about “justice for all”. While we think you’re “social justice” is well-intentioned, we see the application as a gross distortion of equal justice (we also know, from history, that “social justice” never works because money has to be earned).

7-We like that Carl stood up to a Republican mayor (who we thought pandered to both big labor and big business) to defeat Prop D (the sales tax increase). We thought, “no more bailouts at all”.

8-We like that he put that mayor in a box with Prop B (pension reform), because we see government workers living with “Cadillac” health and retirement plans while the private sector reformed those unsustainable practices long ago.

In short, while you see Filner as a “compassionate champion”, we see Carl as one too. We think he stands up for the backbone of this City; the folks who pay the government workers’ salaries and benefits. Those same government workers who make us stand in line, take a number, fill out a bunch of forms, and pay another fee, just for the privilege of serving our fellow man through commerce (which we think ensures that we don’t become a burden on society).

We see the whole system as broken and want it reformed. We think that Bob’s efforts, while well-intentioned, are futile because that system is broken, We feel that Carl is the first guy in decades who “tells it like it is” and we think he might just fix it.

I understand why you think Filner is a fighter and I hope you can understand why I think Carl is, too. I may have opened myself up for a bunch of of ad hominem attacks but I thought you should understand the lens through which most conservatives view this election.

I doubt I’m going to sway you to vote for Carl but I hope you can understand that it’s not personal to us—we just see this as a survival mechanism. I’d like to think it isn’t personal to you either.


avatar Ernie McCray June 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

I hear you. I just see Carl’s fixing as taking away “survival” benefits from hard working people because of the wrong doings of a few a while back. Thanks for such a rich response, for thoughts that might help some folks see the overall picture better.


avatar Brian Brady June 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm

“I hear you. I just see Carl’s fixing as taking away “survival” benefits from hard working people because of the wrong doings of a few a while back”

I don;t disagree that the promises made were disingenuous. I see this as a sustainability issue for teachers, cops, firemen, and public workers. Again, from the conservative view point, we see the path we’re on results in bounced checks. I much prefer segregated retirement assets, owned by each employee, so that the assets are truly theirs and not at the whims of politicians.

“Thanks for such a rich response, for thoughts that might help some folks see the overall picture better.”

It all starts with the right tone and you Sir, set that. I”m happy to be part of productive discourse.


avatar Ernie McCray June 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm

The world will truly be a better place when we can talk.


avatar KO June 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Carl is going to cut the nose off this City in spite of it’s face, and then he’s going to tell everyone that it’s just that they didn’t realize their face was so ugly to begin with, it has nothing to do with fact that Carl thinks he knows what’s good for everyone. And I suppose if I was a millionare that made my money by selling the federal government training programs, that obviously didn’t do anything if you listen to his platform rhetoric, rather than a City employee trying to improve the quality of life for my fellow citizens, I would forgo my retirement too. If you liked our previous City Attorney and his soap box method of doing work, you’ll love Carl, until the next election, when Carl starts blaming others for the inferior work that low bid contractors did on the streets and in your neighborhoods as a result of his outsourcing compulsion. Carl wants to give your tax dollars to another private citizen that can earn a million dollars and not have anything that he can hold in his hand as a product of that dollar at the end of the day.


avatar Ernie McCray June 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Well said!


avatar Jeeni July 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm

At EVERY City Council meeting that I’ve gone to (And I go to many) when the public gets up to speak Carl DeMaio ignored them He types away at his computer or he even gets up and walks out – RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF SOMEONE TALKING! It’s not just rude – it speaks volumes of how insignificant he thinks “we the people” are in his view of the world. he has no idea how scary it is for most citizens to stand their and speak to these council members sitting up in their high chairs like superior beings. These folks deserve respect. They deserve eye contact. They deserve to be listened to like their voices matter. Carl’s inability to show the folks to speak at City Council the slightest bit of courtesy is indicative of the kind of person he is – arrogant and disconnected. I shudder to think what it would be like to live in a city where someone who cares so little for the little people would be in a position as a “strong” mayor.


avatar Ernie McCray July 27, 2012 at 11:03 am

You nailed it, Jeeni.


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