San Diego’s Had Six Months of Bob Filner as Mayor and the World Hasn’t Ended

by on May 29, 2013 · 18 comments

in Politics, San Diego

sandiegocityhall

I’m not surprised that the first six months of Bob Filner’s tenure as the top elected official in America’s Finest City have been tumultuous.

After all, San Diegans elected a progressive Democrat after years of rule by mostly moderate Republicans. The local GOP leadership opted to back a more radical flavor of conservative in Carl DeMaio and, as a result, lost.

That’s been a bitter pill for them to swallow, and you could hardly characterize them as gracious losers. And, in a way, you can hardly blame them. Losing the election has cost their supporters the kind of insider access needed to assure that their financial interests take priority over public concerns.

The UT-San Diego has run (nearly) weekly editorials, bleating about one (often imagined) offense after another. The city’s hoteliers, acted as a proxy for the entire downtown-first gang, engaged in a protracted tantrum, and threatened to ruin San Diego’s tourism economy unless they were given unfettered access to tax revenues (er, fees) to spend as they saw fit.

And the nattering nabobs of negativism in the local 2012 losers’ circle have been desperately trying to float the idea of funding a recall of Mayor Filner, despite the long odds against success and the high probability of, according to a Voice of San Diego story, “a brutal five- to eight-month process that will consume untold millions of public and private dollars and grind municipal government to a chaotic halt.”

Here are four stories ripped from the news providing substance to the argument that, at last, we have a Mayor who gives a damn about what people in this city actually want.

Peace Breaks Out at City Hall

peace-signMore than a decade of demonizing public employees in San Diego appear to be coming to close with the announcement of a tentative deal between the City and six labor unions.

Previous administrations have exploited concerns over pension indebtedness and budgetary shortfalls caused by the great recession, using city employees as a public whipping boy for political gain.

One need look no further that former Mayor Jerry Sanders’ refusal to negotiate with the Police Officer’s Association during the Proposition B campaign to understand just how egregious these political games have been for everybody except a small group of politicians.

The proposed labor pacts will save taxpayers $60 million in pension plan payments in the first three years, according to Mayor Filner. You know it was a big deal because the press release coming from the Mayor’s office had three, count ‘em, three, exclamation points in the headline.

“This is the first time the City has ever achieved five-year agreements with any labor organization, and to achieve this with all six labor organization is historic,” the Mayor said. “This is a great day for taxpayers, for employees, for the City and for the City’s retirement system. We are going to use the money that would have gone to the pension fund on services, infrastructure repair and reducing our reliance on one-time funds to balance the budget.”

The five-year agreements would comply with Proposition B’s restrictions on pensionable pay increases, meaning any increases in compensation will not impact San Diego’s pension obligations.

“This deal accomplishes exactly what Proposition B had set out to accomplish when it was chaptered into the City’s Charter on July 20, 2012,” the Mayor said. “Even if it is struck down by the courts, we have accomplished the promised $1 billion savings!”

Here’s a copy of the deal. City employees are granted the right to re-open discussions about additional pay increases after the first three years have passed. After ratification by each labor organization, the contracts will be presented to the City Council for ratification.

Filner Gives a Sh*t

Or at least he cares about the bird poop plaguing La Jolla. The Mayor has issued an “Emergency Finding” under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 stating that the La Jolla bird waste is a public health hazard that threatens public health, safety and welfare.

Rather than turn this issue into an opportunity to complain about odious government regulations and the wild-eyed environmentalists that run this state, Filner simply researched the rules and came up with a solution.

From NBC San Diego 7News:

On Friday evening, Filner announced that a plan for solving the La Jolla odor issues would be put in place following the Memorial Day weekend.

Filner says he’s been working closely with San Diego City councilmember Sherri Lightner on this matter.

The pair has now been told by regulatory agencies that the city can begin implementing a plan that will neutralize the chemicals and organisms – including the overwhelming bird guano – causing the stench permeating the air around the cliffs east of La Jolla Cove.

The Streets Belong to the People

safe streetsThis town has been car-centric for so long that it’s ridiculous. Some of you may have noticed small but significant changes around various streets of San Diego, changes designed to give some recognition to bicyclists.

Filner held a press conference at the intersection of Montezuma Road and Collwood Boulevard in the College Area. In 2012, a man was killed in an accident at the intersection. Along with the leaders of BikeSD and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Filner has officially unveiled a new project and announced more details of what’s to come in plans to make shared roads a reality in San Diego.

Green lanes, meant to slow drivers down and make them more aware of the shared road are already in place at several different intersections including Balboa Avenue and Genessee Avenue, along Nimitz Boulevard in Point Loma, along Harbor Drive in front of the Convention Center.

The Mayor has lent city support for CicloSDias, an August 11th event modeled after the very successful Ciclovías events that started in Bogotá, Colombia over thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. For one day selected city streets in various neighborhoods throughout central San Diego will be car free, with activities along the route, shops and restaurants open for business and neighbors and friends from all over coming together to make the streets come alive.

Doors Are Opening at City Hall

Some folks in the local media seem to have taken up the sport of tracking Filner’s foibles, of which we’d guess there must be a few. Apparently he’s hard to work for, as the departure of several staff members over the past months would indicate. It’s taken too long for his PR department to get up to a standard that keeps local reporters satisfied. And he can be curt, a real sonofabitch who doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

But then there’s this article in the San Diego City Beat, about how environmentalists finally have meaningful access to City Hall.

 Environmental-justice leader Diane Takvorian is finally being heard 

 In June 2012, environmentalist Nicole Capretz met with aides to then-San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to talk about the Quail Brush power plant proposed for near Mission Trails Regional Park. Sanders’ chief of staff, Julie Dubick, and senior policy advisor Aimee Faucett listened to her concerns about how the plant should be a sustainable-energy project that doesn’t burn fossil fuels.

 Later that month, news broke about another possible project, the North City Power Plant in University City. The city had been working for more than 16 months with one bidder, and city staff had compiled a 206-page report on the project. Capretz says Sanders’ aides didn’t even bother to mention it during their meeting.

Ever since gold-rusher and businessman Alonzo Horton set up New Town along San Diego’s harbor in the 19th century, the city has been focused on improvements within 20 blocks of the waterfront, San Diego Mesa College political-science professor Carl Luna says. But Filner’s approach seems to shift away from a Downtown mentality. Takvorian says the mayor’s recently released budget proposal is one of the first times a mayor has highlighted community plans. When Filner developed a formal vision for the Port of San Diego, which was presented to the city earlier this year, he wanted input before finalizing it, Takvorian said. So EHC [Environmental Health Coalition] offered strategies about how to make the port freer of diesel pollution. Takvorian says that kind of planning was groundbreaking, and even though her organization has monitored the port for more than 20 years, no city official has taken that kind of initiative.

Portions of this story were originally posted at The San Diego Free Press.

 

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar mjt May 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm

a breath of fresh air.

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avatar cahlo May 30, 2013 at 4:53 am

filner hasn’t done anything, either…..

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avatar tim June 16, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Filner has shut down the plaza in Balboa Park to vehicles on acconut of pedestrian safety. I haven’t heard of any accidents in the past. Have their been a higher than average number? I’m thinking if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The only way to get to the other side of the park now is to go around it. And, waiting for a trolly to get in and out just makes a long day even longer. I don’t like the idea of leaving my motorcycle very far from where I can check on it either.

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avatar r. stone June 21, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Recall Bob Filner, soon, I will donate money. I’ve lived here all my life, 67 years, and he cause hate and discontent.

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avatar Jeremiah O'Neal June 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Disney Land has the same tram service that I believe Bob Filner is gunning for. Rather than put parking next to the park entrance that only a hand full of visitors could use they’ve instead opt for dedicating that zone to the tram. What Bob Filner did was a good move. Now people will be looking to park their vehicles instead of burning gas looking for a parking slot closest to the entrance.

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avatar OBPatriot July 10, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Filner is a socialist . His father was a bigshot in the Communist party. How you fools could elect this clown mayor blows my mind. Do you remember his famous comment?” I am a congressman I can do what I want” You progressives have ruined all industry in this city. Now you are after tourism too! Get back up to LA with the rest of your leftist friends!

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avatar John S. July 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm

This was one of the most biased pieces I have ever read. Today is July 11th, the day of the news conference where Frye, Briggs and Gonzalez, three staunch Filner supporters, asked Filner to resign. Still stand by your words? A couple of his staff members have quit. Even his g/f has left him. He’s done. Stand up tall, lick your wounds, and regroup.

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avatar Yirma July 30, 2013 at 3:31 pm

The Mayor of San Diego needs to fight back all these lies and allegations. He did not sexually harrassed any of those women, it is clear that those women are so bitter and have no life and here is an opportunity to ruin an honest man. I am a woman too, and got better things to do than to waste people’s time and money with vicious rumors and lies. Vicious accusations.

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avatar Brian Brady July 30, 2013 at 8:21 pm

“He did not sexually harrassed (sic) any of those women, it is clear that those women are so bitter and have no life and here is an opportunity to ruin an honest man”

Just to be clear, you are saying that…

1- a former staffer in Bob Filner’s Office of the Mayor
2- a former campaign consultant for Filner’s Congressional campaign
3- a school psychologist and founder of a non-profit children’s advocacy group
4- a retired Navy admiral, city executive, SD schools executive, and Red Cross executive
5- a President of a tenants association at the SD Port
6- a university dean
7- an entrepreneur
8- a program director for a City College

…have “no life”?

You must be an extraordinarily accomplished woman, Yirma. I confess that I am not easily impressed but the collective resume of those women leaves me in awe.

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avatar John July 31, 2013 at 7:46 am

Pretty obvious we’re:

A: Getting trolled here or
B: The short bus missed its usual drop off this morning at school or
C. Filner’s learned the power of infiltrating internet media or
D. All of the above.

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avatar Yirma July 31, 2013 at 11:25 am

Bob Filner is 71 years old, men at that age like to flirt with us. It’s harmless. What those women are doing is harmful to an elderly man that already apologized for saying some flirting words to them. He didn’t sexually touch them. which is a sick thing to do to women when we don’t consent. Those are just vicious rumors that got started by one and then another, as the numbers keep popping up….

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avatar John July 31, 2013 at 1:39 pm

71 y/o men are harmless?

Tell that to this creep’s victims:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/oscar-winning-songwriter-joseph-brooks-indicted-sex-assault-charges-article-1.378401

If it were just 1-2 women with a shady background your position might be reasonable. No, it’s up to 8, educated, respectable women with accomplishments in their own right, their charges are detailed and specific. This is long past the point where dismissing this as “vicious rumors” is credible.
That’s what made me attribute this to trolling. They put their reputations on the line with public allegations, including names, dates, places, etc.
Your cavalier dismissals are from the luxurious detachment of an internet pseudonym. Your descriptions do not reflect the realities of the alleged offenses.
Just as Filner should be allowed to address the charges, so should these women’s charges be treated seriously. The way he addressed them was a form of no contest.
I’ve said elsewhere that this goes far beyond the political arena, with society lately on a roll where women feel unsafe on the streets of OB at night, in the military, in universities, a segment of today’s young men having grown up with MTV’s gangsta rap blaring and magazines peddling products with the currency of female flesh, feel if no one is around they can take what they want. That’s not the way I was raised and I’ve never felt that right.
Isn’t this the worst situation possible, appeasement of such behavior as everyday hijinx from our leaders? And yes he groped them, shoved his tongue in someone’s mouth, that’s sexual- in fact it sounds a lot like a rapist getting to first or second base.
At first I was vocal about this because as a non party affiliated moderate I thought the Democrats were selling out one issue of their platform for others. I just don’t like hypocrisy. However as it’s developed I’m now angered by it all simply because I’m a man and a lot of us have spent much of our lives trying to figure women out and improve the way we’ve treated them for quite a few centuries now, and here is one of us setting this back enormously.
Bob, it’s time to turn in your man card. You’ve failed us all.

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avatar Yirma August 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

The man you are talking about is a rapist. The Mayor apologized for flirting with those ladies, not for raping them. His behavior would had been acceptable in the past but not in these days. You are taking it to a “Rapist” level. Those kind of criminals are put behind bars, they are not asked to resign.

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avatar Randy Dotinga August 1, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Check your facts on what the mayor apologized for. And the allegations are not of “flirting.”

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avatar Yirma July 30, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Thank you for pointing that out to me, but I was already aware of their resume, I am not impressed by women who may be all that on the list, they may be School executives, program directors of City Colleges, and University dean, but it means nothing when you have nothing else to do than to spread “Vicious Rumors” about a man who also has done a lot for his constituents and stands for those who believe in him. His resume also leaves me in awe… The resume of those women don’t leave me in awe… (sorry to disagree here..) They are only human and capable of being devious. A real lady tries to settle things in a discrete manner, if these women were offended, they could have talked to him about what ever it was that they claimed made them uncomfortable right at the moment when in happened, he might have then realized that they were being offended and offer them an apology, if it ever happened. Instead, they are out to destroy a man who is only human as well, and despite wants to make a difference. .The Mayor did not sexually harassed those women. It’s all vicious lies.

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avatar Shelly Schwartlander July 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Yirma, yes and you are a better lady than I. You and I and others I’m sure who aren’t “all that” will miss this Mayor if this city gets its way. This is how they followed Herr Hitler I’m sure.

I can’t be nice about it now after hearing more than I can stand and there’s nothing to do but get it out. Here goes!
So far the President is still SMART and doesn’t need to treat Bob Filner like a criminal by assuming accusations are true because some pretty old, very self-protecting careful female execs NOW a year, two years, more, say “he kissed me”, “he . . . . (made me feel stupid?)
“he touched me”, “he said something . . . . ” I feel like I’m losing my mind listening to fools on the east coast, Congresswomen Davis & Wasserman-Schultz, Senator Feinstein, paunchy guest reporters on MSNBC even saying “he sexually harassed women. . . . “. What makes them rush to believe a bunch of women solicited by local media, police and possibly some gain $ or something, saying the same script about kissing and saliva? Is putting up with and saying nothing about being touched, kissed, with saliva on them, and allowing nasty things to be whispered to them how these women get to be such “incredible women, educators, an admiral, professional women (yeah they’re pro’s)? These players-turned-victims all copped out by waiting till now! THEY WERE NOT POOR WOMEN, NOT MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, ABUSED BY HUSBANDS WITH NO PLACE TO GO, not even like me, with a few years of stinking abuse by bully creeps at a San Diego SSA office still trying to present my REAL cases to next court after EEOC, back and forth, cases with tons of evidence of SADISTIC FREAKISH BEHAVIOR THAT IS REAL ABUSE!!! These particular women, who have power, who live in La Jolla or other soft places can all afford attorneys, they could have done something then when they were so “sexually harassed” instead of just playing along, not rocking the boat, keeping their high paid jobs. unwilling to look foolish perhaps or let it be known they likely were maybe putting out or trying to? HEY I AM GETTING so damned sick of this pityfest over these very capable, powerful, highly paid and very very white women with their stupid wa-wa now for what? These bitches didn’t care a FIG about the women like me, the clerks, staff, secretaries and even the students of the ‘EDUCATOR’, or the young women in the NAVY under the ADMIRAL! I have no reason to cry for these selfish and perhaps even dishonest women who are, in my book, players, waiting this long. Look they waited and said nothing then as it might have “cost” them something. That makes it most likely they are howling for the press now, just now because its “costing” someone else something. I’ve lived in San Diego since ’89 and it can be a pretty trashy town, like border towns everywhere, and plenty of women don’t come here for to be fine or highly moral. I’m pissed at those being taken in by these “ladies”, without first thinking how rotten it must be for working women, mothers, young women here who aren’t confident enough or empowered (as were these pros) who must have to fend for themselves in a very bad place for women if any of these accusations are true While THE POWERFUL WOMEN DON’T DO SOMETHING TO FIX IT. (These old gals were not young when they were taken advantage of as they claim, I don’t believe they could be taken advantage of, they take advantage of plenty I’m sure). I bet not one of these women did what decent women do (at least everywhere else I’ve been to) when some guy grabs, or pinches or touches her without permission: SLAP THE GUY HARD IN THE FACE, or SHOUT OUT LOUDLY FOR EVERYBODY WITHIN EARSHOT TO HEAR: “GET YOUR MOTHER F–k’in HANDS OFF ME!”

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avatar Shelly Schwartlander July 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm

the President is who’s SMART and doesn’t need to treat Bob Filner like a criminal by assuming accusations are true because some pretty old, very self-protecting careful female execs NOW a year, two years, more, say “he kissed me”, “he . . . . (made me feel stupid?)
“he touched me”, “he said something . . . . ” I feel like I’m losing my mind listening to fools on the east coast, Congresswomen Davis & Wasserman-Schultz, Senator Feinstein, paunchy guest reporters on MSNBC even saying “he sexually harassed women. . . . “. What makes them rush to believe a bunch of women solicited by local media, police and possibly some gain $ or something, saying the same script about kissing and saliva? Is putting up with and saying nothing about being touched, kissed, with saliva on them, and allowing nasty things to be whispered to them how these women get to be such “incredible women, educators, an admiral, professional women (yeah they’re pro’s)? These players-turned-victims all copped out by waiting till now! THEY WERE NOT POOR WOMEN, NOT MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, ABUSED BY HUSBANDS WITH NO PLACE TO GO, not even like me, with a few years of stinking abuse by bully creeps at a San Diego SSA office still trying to present my REAL cases to next court after EEOC, back and forth, cases with tons of evidence of SADISTIC FREAKISH BEHAVIOR THAT IS REAL ABUSE!!! These particular women, who have power, who live in La Jolla or other soft places can all afford attorneys, they could have done something then when they were so “sexually harassed” instead of just playing along, not rocking the boat, keeping their high paid jobs. unwilling to look foolish perhaps or let it be known they likely were maybe putting out or trying it? HEY I AM GETTING so damned sick of this pityfest over these very capable, powerful, highly paid and very very white women with their stupid wa-wa now for what? These bitches didn’t care a FIG about the women like me, the clerks, staff, secretaries and even the students of the ‘EDUCATOR’, or the young women in the NAVY under the ADMIRAL! I have no reason to cry for these selfish and perhaps even dishonest women who are, in my book, players, waiting this long. Look they waited and said nothing then as it might have “cost” them something. That makes it most likely they are howling for the press now, just now because its “costing” someone else something. I’ve lived in San Diego since ’89 and it is a really trashy town, sorry, that’s the truth, it’s a border town and the women here aren’t exactly fine or highly moral. Don’t be taken in by these “ladies”, at least not before you consider how rotten it must be for working women, mothers, young women here who aren’t confident enough or empowered as were these pros who must have to fend for themselves in a very bad place for women if any of these accusations are true AND THE POWERFUL WOMEN DON’T DO SOMETHING TO FIX IT. (These old gals were not young when they were taken advantage of as they claim, I don’t believe they could be taken advantage of, they take advantage of plenty I’m sure). I bet not one of these women did what decent women do (at least everywhere else I’ve been to) when some guy grabs, or pinches or touches her without permission: SLAP THE GUY HARD IN THE FACE, or SHOUT OUT LOUDLY FOR EVERYBODY WITHIN EARSHOT TO HEAR: “GET YOUR MOTHER F–k’in HANDS OFF ME!”

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