Mayor Filner: DO NOT RESIGN

by on July 11, 2013 · 29 comments

in Culture, Election, History, Media, Organizing, San Diego

For the last twenty-four hour news cycle, San Diegans have watched stunned as three Democrats have stepped forward and publicly called for Mayor Bob Filner to resign. Donna Frye, Cory Briggs and Marco Gonzalez all sent letters to Filner – and the media – in the last couple of days calling on the Mayor – who has been in office all of seven months – to step down.

Briggs and Gonzalez are both attorneys involved in litigation against the City of San Diego. Donna Frye, of course, is the former City Councilmember and the ‘woman who should have been mayor’. Frye actually won a three-way race a few years ago for mayor in her write-in campaign, but was not sworn in due to the ballots being questionable.

Frye and Gonzalez alleged sexual harassment charges in their letters – although no details were given – whereas Briggs cited other issues, mainly around the latest Sunroad controversy.

The three are holding a press conference, today, Thursday, at 10 a.m. to outline more details it is assumed. (The OB Rag will be reporting on the presser, hopefully later today after the San Diego Free Press reporter writes up a story.)

In the meantime, thoughtful Democrats and progressives have had their worst nightmare materialize. Their darling – the most liberal mayor of San Diego in history – is on the ropes. Will he resign? Can he weather this crisis?

At this point – we urge Mayor Filner NOT TO RESIGN.

We want to see substance in the charges; we want details, if not names, then descriptions of the incidents – if the first Democratic Party mayor elected to the City’s highest office in 20 years is going to resign.

We do believe that Mayor Bob has to step forward himself and tell us why he shouldn’t resign.

We also have many questions – not just for the mayor – but for his accusers.

Cory Briggs has filed a number of lawsuits against the City of recent day, around the Convention Center, around the tourist tax, and most recently, he sued in efforts to have his group, Free PB (Pacific Beach) be allowed to hold an event that was similar in nature to the infamous Over-the-Line tournament held on Fiesta Island annually. He lost, and Mayor Filner came out publicly in support of OTL. Briggs does tout himself as an open-government kind of guy – but his latest suit seemed very trivial in light of the other serious problems facing the region.

Briggs in not a top Democratic Party activist and has never held office – and quiet frankly, does not speak for us. Who selected him as our advocate?

Likewise with Gonzalez, he has made a name for himself lately going after the one-time fireworks shows that communities hold on July 4th. He sued La Jolla, downtown, and has declared that other fireworks – such as the one in Ocean Beach held a week ago, are “illegal”. Gonzalez touts himself as an environmentalist, and wields his lawsuits as weapons – and making money as he goes.

Yet, Gonzalez ignores the fireworks displays of SeaWorld while going after the “little guys”. SeaWorld shoots off fireworks nightly during the summer months and weekly during the rest of the year. These explosions do much more harm to the environment, the marine life, and the neighboring communities than the once-a-year displays – but because SeaWorld has been granted a permit – Gonzalez is okay with the marine park’s fireworks.

But Gonzalez too, is involved in litigation with the City – and now says he represents some of the women who are allegging harassment by Filner. Again, who elected Gonzalez as chief government watcher? Not us. He certainly does not represent us.

Donna Frye, on the other hand, has progressive cred; while on the city council, she was a strong advocate for open government and transparency – even to the point of boycotting certain council meetings because the meetings violated her sense of governance.

So Frye’s allegations are much more serious and as she is the nominal head of the party – hers is the most damaging charges. Yet even her charges are so vague that for her to demand that Filner resign without providing more details is very premature. Hopefully, she will clear these up at today’s presser.

We have some questions for the trio (Frye, Gonzalez, Briggs): Did you all – especially you, Donna – try any kind of intervention with Filner? Did you sit down with him and other independent progressives and liberals and have a ‘come-to-Jesus moment’ with him? If not, why are you going public? Also, why haven’t you included other progressives in your plans?

The liberal and progressive movement in San Diego struggled long and hard through the lengthy primary and then general election season to get our man elected. It was a long battle – and now the Accusing Three want it all just to evaporate.

What is your gameplan? Your endgame? Have you thought this all through thoroughly? If Filner resigns, there will be a Special Election held in 90 days – 3 months. Have you three decided that Donna will run again. If so, that is such a terribly risky endeavor – to chase out the current Democratic mayor only to stage a campaign for another one in a few months.

The U-T started off today, predictably, with inch high headlines “Backers Call on Filner to Resign.” Logan Jenkins, the loyal Manchester columnist puppydog, ran his front page column, “Filner needs to remind us why he should be mayor”, suggesting that Filner get a dog, as he doesn’t have any human friends. Plus, the U-T is giving Briggs and Gonzalez a lot of play time – normally they wouldn’t get the time of day from the daily fishwrap.

Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer and Papa Manchester are running around in glee. They cannot believe this moment has been handed to them. DeMaio already is plotting his comeback. Faulconer is sharpening his knives.

What do Frye and Gonzalez and Briggs know? Perhaps, they have caught wind that the Feds are about to indict Filner, and they want to guarantee that the mayor’s seat remains in the Democratic fold. So, are they positioning themselves – especially Frye – for the Special Election – knowing that Filner will be forced out?

Do they also know who votes in these Special Elections? Angry white men vote – and they won’t be voting for Democrats.

Also, pretty-boy Nathan Fletcher is standing in the wings, waiting for the call to run as a Democrat. Todd Gloria, the Democratic president of the city council, is maybe thinking about changing his mind and running for mayor – and not take on Susan Davis’ Congressional seat, as she is resigning next year.

Right now, we need more details, and they had better be substantial, substantial enough for this mayor to resign. Also, right now, we need Mayor Bob to come up to the microphone, make his apologies, pledge his changes, promise to correct his behavior, and stand by open government.

If Filner is being charged with such serious allegations, then let’s hear his defense. He’s at least entitled to an arraignment, a preliminary hearing and perhaps trial and a conviction by his constituents before he is punished.

We also are wondering – what is going on with Filner’s staff? Why has it been so slim? Where is Vince Hall – his chief? Why has Filner not gathered around him a type of ‘kitchen cabinet’ to advise him on the roads and pitfalls of City Hall?

Meanwhile, the bright side of the City’s new sunshine has been clouded over – mirroring the weather for today. Gray, cloudy, and gloomy.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Louisa July 11, 2013 at 9:43 am

Great article. We need specifics, not vague allegations. Filner cannot defend himself against generalities like those so far available.

I, too, wonder about the game plan. Reacting impulsively against something without having some idea of where you want to end up is really BAD politics. Please let’s not end up with yet ANOTHER developer’s puppet in the mayor’s office.

Here’s another question I have: If Filner was such a cretin, WHY did the local Democratic political machine choose him for mayor? Why was this issue not dealt with long ago. Why didn’t it come to light before, during Filner’s long political career?

It’s all so bizarre and fishy and depressing and just horrible.


jv333 July 11, 2013 at 10:06 am

Sad to see a trial in the press without factual evidence requiring resignation or removal by statute. if he broke harassment laws, what are the consequences? Did he violate the law and are there witnesses willing to corroborate? This stuff gets messy. For all of the pro-Wall St legislation Clinton signed, he came within a hair of being removed from office. And many doubt Clinton broke any laws….they said it was that he lied about it. For all his impropriety, it really was a personal matter.

Filner has actually accomplished quite a bit in a few short months…got rid of traffic cams….got rid of the menacing guano stench in La Jolla (that no other Mayor could probably solve)…got rid of the cars in Balboa Park at low cost….and this is his reward. Lets hope for better days ahead.


Catherine July 11, 2013 at 10:27 am

I don’t disagree that he shouldn’t resign until we hear more, but Frye does her homework. If she believes this, I really have no doubt we will very soon hear very damning details. I do have to disagree with the idea that this should have been handled privately first in a come-to-Jesus meeting. Sorry, but sweeping serious violations under the rug by pleading with the transgressor privately to change his ways is the same kind of behavior the Catholic Church and so many other institutions are guilty of and it’s not okay. If it’s true that he harassed his female staff, then he doesn’t belong in the job. I’m not surprised that this could go on for years without coming to light. He’s certainly not the first long-term congressman to be accused of being a notorious skirt chaser. Unfortunately, most insiders just look the other way until they are forced to deal with really serious harassment. and, if it’s in anyway true, Filner certainly knows as much and doesn’t need to wait for detailed specifics to respond to. It would probably be better for his long-term prospects if he had a mea culpa and quietly stepped away before ugly details emerge. Also, I’m not sure it’s fair to say Gonzalez doesn’t care about Sea World’s fireworks. I thought he answered my question about those thoroughly the other day and was clearly paying close attention to the issue.


Frank Gormlie July 11, 2013 at 10:51 am

Catherine, not to digress, but no Gonzalez did not adequately respond about our inquiry about his stance towards SeaWorld’s fireworks.

Would be difficult not to agree with you regarding most of your comments.


Christine July 12, 2013 at 1:43 am

yes Donna does her homework but NOT when it comes to supposed victims. it is her weak point. she will not question the MO of a self proclaimed victim. she is being played in a serious way and she better star asking questions. my big questions is when were these 3 women hired and who hired them? r there patterns here suggesting this was a setup. Donna could at least give us the nature of the evidence. Is it video by the repub PIs following Filner? Was Filner baited??? This is important.


Frank Gormlie July 11, 2013 at 10:55 am

Listened to the press conference; did not hear any specifics – other than Donna’s passion around the issue of sexual harassment and Marco’s open solicitation for business. The charges are serious – and am not trying to trivialize them, but serious charges without details and expecting the removal of probably the best mayor San Diego’s ever had, is a bit much; it’s weird, the timing is weird, there has to be more than meets the eye.

Donna did emphatically say she is not running for mayor if Filner resigns. So, the only Democrat who could possibly win a Special Election – besides Todd Gloria – just said she is not running.


Christine July 12, 2013 at 1:45 am

TOTALLY Weird Frank!!! the timing can not be overlooked!! right after their anemic recall effort! we MUST back Filner now. we r in DEEP trouble. This whole show has demonstrated HOW corrupt this city is. the media has been so unprofessional and biased. We have to get control of r voting system and who counts r votes. we gotta get these criminals like Todd Gloria OUT!


Froude Dude July 11, 2013 at 11:30 am

Sounds like there’s a “War on Women” going on in Mayor Bob’s office. Can’t wait to see how he answers the charges from his former Progressive allies.


Catherine July 11, 2013 at 11:33 am

It is certainly a very weird situation and I’m stunned by the whole scene. Frye is an honest broker and I don’t believe she would have any part in self-serving scheme or be easily duped by others seeking to set up one. On the one hand, my transparency and fairness side thinks we need more specifics and can’t condemn a man on anonymous allegations. On the other side, I’m struck by the moral clarity of their statements today and respect their desire to not further harm the alleged victims if they don’t themselves step forward. Their purpose today seemed to be directed very pointedly at a message to Filner. A kind of public come-to-Jesus, you-know-what-you-did kind of pressure. I can’t think it would be good for the city or progressives or Filner or his alleged victims to have a long drawn out revealing of every sordid detail. It would be a very ugly distraction and it seems they, believing strongly in the veracity of the claims, are trying to avoid that situation. I’m stunned and confused, but I kind of respect the method. It’s just so darned unusual in this age.


Tyler July 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I’ve support Bob through and through and while I don’t think he should resign just yet, I think we liberals should stop giving him a blind pass. The guy ain’t a saint, and as much as I believe that the GOP and the U-T, etc have had their hand in attempting his demise, I think Filner must be doing a few major things wrong for so many once allies to go against him.


Louisa July 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm

So still no specifics? I agree, then, with Filner. There are no allegations to address. No victims. No incidents. No dates, times, actions delineated. No locations. Just a statement that the mayor “knows what he did….”

Oh give me a break. I don’t even scold a toddler as disrespectfully and condescendingly as that. It’s impossible to address complaints when they are not laid out specifically and concretely. At this point, it’s just rumor and it’s cowardice as well. If you have a complaint, stand up and complain, for Goodness’ Sake! Don’t hide behind straw men to speak for you. I don’t respect the method at all.

I’m still willing to entertain there is an issue. I won’t dismiss the criticisms raised out of hand, just because they are flaky and completely unsubstantiated to date. But I really do need some specific and verifiable information before I form an opinion.

I’m hurt and disappointed by San Diego democrats. I believe in the platform but sure wish we could come up with rational, stable, mature representatives to promote the progressive point of view!


Me July 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I watched Mike Aguirre get character assassinated prior to the 08 elections. Everything that was being said about him was vague and unsubstantiated and went away when he lost the election. I stood by Mike, voted for him, and wish to hell more San Diegans had. Now, Filner is going through the same gauntlet. I too will withhold condemnation until I see not only see some definitive charges, but some proof to back them up. If he’s guilty of something terrible, let him fall, but don’t push him off the edge with innuendo.


Frances O'Neill Zimmerman July 12, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Character assassination made possible by personal eccentricities and shortcomings. Politics in this town is brutal, unforgiving, relentless attack usually delivered by the “civil” establishment against liberal Democrats. As you note, it subsides when the person is driven from office. In this instance, just as with Mike Aguirre, so-called “friends” have turned on this effective elected liberal, claiming just cause. They shouldn’t be given the opening, but then again, they shouldn’t participate in treachery.


Catherine July 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm

My point is that if the allegations are true then the mayor certainly knows as much and doesn’t need a detailed listing to respond to unless he’s just stuck in a time warp and doesn’t know that sexual harassment is bad.

I haven’t judged the allegations to be true either, but if Donna Frye, who is nobody’s fool, feels so adamantly about it, then well I’m just bracing for the cold reality to set in for us all. This isn’t one random person making an allegation, it’s three, respected and previously vocal supporters of Filner reporting they have enough information to know it’s true. That’s a pretty unusual and startling situation.

We will see what he has to say at 3pm. If he knows the allegations are true, and he certainly knows what the truth is either way, then he should step down and it will be better for him and progressives if he does. Do you really want to spend the next few weeks hearing all the alleged, sordid details? I don’t, especially not if they are true and he knows it. If the allegations are false, then obviously he should fight this.


AlShur July 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Gonzalez & Briggs both make their living from their developer clients. It’s no secret that in the short time that Filner has been Mayor he has upset the cart of San Diego’s downtown establishment including its developer & hotelier core. The only surprise here is Donna Frye, who I have the most respect for!!!!

I hope that Mayor Filner answers this soon, before a certain less-then-news daily gets fatter on the offal!!!!!


RB July 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

“The local Democratic Party has known for a long time about sexual harassment allegations against Bob Filner, a former Democratic assemblywoman said in a Thursday interview.

“I blew the whistle on this two years ago to the Democratic Party leadership,” former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña said.


Froude Dude July 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

He needs to go. Now.
In his statement, Filner said, in part, “I begin today by apologizing … I must and will change my behavior …”

The mayor acknowledged that the claims against him “are serious,” and said he would be participating in sexual harassment training. He also asked that he be given a chance to prove he could change.


Jay July 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm

I have to agree; the statement is self-damning. As much as I want a liberal mayor, the ends don’t justify the behavior.


Seth July 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Oh, he’s done. Too bad.


john July 12, 2013 at 7:44 am

Unacceptable. He needs to call it a day.


Sean m July 12, 2013 at 8:44 am

I personally hope he does not resign because san diego needs a lame duck mayor. I have not met filner, but know some people who have and their consensus view is that filner is a jerk. His senior staff quit and said the same. A democratic assemblywoman just said the same as did half the city council. Filner himself admitted that he has been doing it a long time by saying his behavior has been tolerated in the past. Filners most recent political move of going to the press to complain about a jack in the box remodel was a feeble attempt to ingratiate himself.


so July 12, 2013 at 9:11 am

I support Mayor Filner 100%. I’m sure his ‘Let’s get it done NOW!’ attitude is sometimes harsh and irritating to both women and men. If it’s too much then quit or file a real complaint already!


Louisa July 12, 2013 at 11:17 am

Interesting. I don’t know what would be best at this point. I do note, though, that Clinton did far worse. And Arnold. Remember him? Complete jerk toward women and yet it did him no harm politically in the long run.

As a woman, I’m used to ignoring extraordinarily bad and insensitive and even hostile behavior from male politicians in order to get the progressive platform supported in the political arena. Didn’t we all already KNOW Filner was a misogynistic macaque? I actually thought we did and voted for him anyway because he was the only thing on offer from the progressive camp.

Is it excusable behavior? No. Absolutely not. (Whatever behavior it was, I’m sure it wasn’t excusable, right? Still have no idea what actually happened.)

Is it surprising behavior? No. Sadly not.

It’s really disheartening, regardless of what happens next.


Froude Dude July 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm

The Rag is pretty silent after the Mayor’s DVD apology. Do you still want him to stay in office? Does the Rag still stand by its endorsement ( of the Mayor? Is sexual harassment tolerable as long as Bob is a Progressive per Louisa’s point above?

“Didn’t we all already KNOW Filner was a misogynistic macaque? I actually thought we did and voted for him anyway because he was the only thing on offer from the progressive camp.”


Louisa July 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Please compose your own thoughts and words rather than twisting mine to suite your own purposes.

I support the OB Rag and endorsement of Filner is not equivocal to endorsement of sexual harassment, however that may be defined. If you object to the Rag’s positions, find your own voice to express the thought.


Louisa July 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm



SM Zen July 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm

You end up with the elected officials that you deserve. Anyone who supports Mayor Filner at this point should be embarrassed. Not of Filner, but of themselves.


gristmiller July 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm

This is San Diego politics since that fellow Peter what’s his name.


mjt July 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I like the guy, maybe we should turn society over to the eunuchs.


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