Thursday, July 11, 2013

This is What I Get For Leaving Town. . .

Good gravy. . .I leave San Diego for five days and all the sudden we have former progressive supporters of Mayor Bob Filner calling for his resignation over allegations of sexual harassment.  What did he do? They won't say.  Who did he do it to? Will not disclose that.  The only thing we know is that some women talked to Donna Frye (former City Council Member, progressive activist, who almost became Mayor via write-in ballot, and who worked for Filner for a couple of months), and that she thought the allegations were solid.  Again, we have no idea what those allegations are, but Frye says that Filner should resign over them.  If I may be so bold as to ask. . .what the fuck?

If this had been anyone other than Donna Frye and Marco Gonzalez (the older brother of Lorena Gonzalez, fmr. head of the San Diego Labor Council and huge Bob Filner supporter) who alleged that sexual harassment occurred, but wouldn't say what was done to whom, I would have been nonplussed, to say the least.  After all, this is a Mayor who has been under fire from the long-time entrenched interests in San Diego.  But Donna isn't anyone, she's a progressive activist who has built up a lot of trust.

Also, its not as if Bob Filner isn't already known for being a total asshole.  In my years in politics and in the nonprofit world, I recall that Filner's office had constant turnover.  Every six months or so, I would see a new Filner rep at a meeting, and he/she would be young and energetic and gone within three months.  I have also heard stories about Filner's intense dislike for small paperclips (cue the former Filner staffers nodding slowly), and his volatile temper.  People hated working for him.  And then there's this:

Even this statement from Filner is vague.  Was this Filner being the abusive asshole boss he's known for being or was this something more?  And for me, the devil is always in the details.  As an attorney who has handled sexual harassment claims in the past, those details are absolutely important.  Even with Filner's admission that he acted badly doesn't tell me much beyond he's a nightmare to work for (and I knew that).

What I do know is that Filner's six months in office have been both incredibly contentious and successful.  He saved the City a bundle in office building rents, paying $1.35/sq. ft. when the going rate is $2.25.  We have a pension deal.  We have a five year labor agreement.  La Jolla Shores apparently doesn't smell like bird crap anymore.  Filner even shook down a developer to give more money to the City (for parks and such).  I don't think any of this (except the bird poop) would have been fixed with anyone but Filner.  And maybe that's because Filner is doing exactly what Filner has always done - been an asshole to everyone but his constituents.  As a constituent, I love his work for me but I'd never work for the guy.

So, what I guess I'm saying is that before I make any judgments, I'm going to need more information.  I don't need to know who, but I think all of San Diego needs to know what actually happened.


  1. Filner can take about .01% of the credit for the office lease renewal. Thank Jason Hughes instead. He made the offer to the City - not Filner - well before Filner took office. All Filner did was say "yes" (which apparently, was not an obvious response to his predecessor). For the rate reductions, please direct your applause to the market economy. The City is still paying market rate, it's just market rate for the city (not piddly law firms like mine). For labor and pension agreement, credit the tax payers that will pay the huge pay raises that the city conceded. I think you're right that he's a prick, but you're giving him too much credit for what's happened on his watch.

  2. Bobby, I work in the building where this went down. After the City agreed to leave, the building fired their real estate company, and are now negotiating with the City to try to keep them to stay. So, they'll get that cost down even lower. SANDAG, which is renting about the same square footage, is paying over $2/sq. ft.