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The Folly of Mayor Bob Filner

Updated on July 28, 2013

Filner's Folly Jumps the Pond

Bob's been featured with Anthony Weiner on each American television network's evening news broadcast. He's even a smash abroad.
Bob's been featured with Anthony Weiner on each American television network's evening news broadcast. He's even a smash abroad. | Source

City by the “C”, as in “Crazy”

What exactly is going on in America's Finest City? Sadly, nothing new. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner turns out to be another relic of a bygone time. He's an Old Boy grasping at an extinct lifestyle, reaching through the arm of his smoking jacket for a bushy, bunny tail.

Mayor Filner wants San Diego on the map and will do what he can to achieve that. Not willing to stand by and let the East Coast get all the juicy scandals, Filner has patted the wrong cheek, been overly intimate and suggestive with too many women¸ and essentially acted like an early 20th century buffoon. OK, he's a former congressman so, maybe, no surprise.

San Diego has had its share of bad press over the past decade. This Filner affair began quietly enough with anonymous accusations regarding Mayor Filner’s improper behavior. Then the floodgates opened this past week resulting in, to date, seven women coming forward on camera to accuse the mayor of sexual misconduct. These complaints allege that Filner has taken leave plenty of times while in public service.

His former allies have abandoned him while members of his immediate staff have resigned outright, unable to continue working with him. Asked to resign and refusing to outright, Filner now faces a civil suit and, possibly, a recall. That oughtta keep him busy.

Filner joins a list that is growing more quickly over time. Here are a few high-profile names in government that have made the headlines, not to mention "Arnie" or any European leaders or top sports figures; there are just too many to note. Sad that it has come to this.

Filner Joins Gallery of Goofs, Many Whose Careers Don't Suffer

Who Goofed
Now, What
• U.S. Army General David Petraeus
Retired military
• Former NY congressman Anthony Weiner
Running for NYC mayor
• Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford
He's the U.S. representative for South Carolina
• Former NY governor Eliot Spitzer
Now running for New York comptroller
Former U.S. Senator John Edwards
Retired from public life
• Former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newson
Presently the Lieutenant governor of California
• Former President Bill Clinton
Retired from political office
• President John F. Kennedy
These "goofs" were, of course, planned and prosecuted with purpose, if not common sense.

Filner Opponent Campaign Ad

Bob’s Baggage

Like everyone, Bob brings his own baggage. Aside from the expected dust-ups with fellow politicians, Filner’s been involved in an ongoing feud with San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, and has been the focus of several reports from witnesses to his un-professional behavior. One of the first issues he took on as mayor was to draw up criteria for legislation of the Medical Marijuana dispensaries in San Diego. Instead of clarification, Filner ended up just confusing things even more than a stoner.

Some of Filner’s long-time colleagues alluded to, and even spoke outright of, his unprofessional behavior early on. He has a real rep for being abrasive in public but nothing was quite as telling as an incident that occurred during the most recent San Diego mayoral race. Filner’s opponent, Carl DeMaio, called attention to the event during the campaign by wrapping the story up into a sixty-second spot in hope of foiling Filner’s public support. Click on the video link "Dianne's Story" to hear her tale. It's quite an account, but it was possibly dismissed by San Diegans because it was delivered during an obvious campaign advertisement, the sole purpose of which was to dis Filner and endorse DeMaio’s candidacy. Political ads have gone the way of the politician and are no longer considered at all a trustworthy source for candidate information, especially when delivered in the negative.

Can Bob Really Be This Clueless?

BF, you sexy thang! Heeeeeyyyyyy!
BF, you sexy thang! Heeeeeyyyyyy! | Source

When It Rains...

Last week Filner’s former communications director was the first to go public, followed in short order by a second complaint. The third credible report was given by a psychologist for the San Diego Unified School District who also founded the America’s Angel Campaign, a group promoting the well-being of children across the U.S. You’d think Bob could’ve learned something from her but, apparently, he remained clueless, by design or default.

These three accusations were followed by additional reports as four more women came forward Thursday to each report instances of misconduct and sexual harassment. While likely not criminal, Filner's actions at least demand recognition for the careless and inconsiderate acts they are. And, of course, the possibility of civil action looms.

Survey Says...

According to a U-T San Diego/10News Poll released late Wednesday, 70% of San Diegans want Filner out. The San Diego County Democratic Party central committee agrees, after a week of mulling it over. Filner is a leaky canoe rapidly approaching the edge of a waterfall.

Even his former fiancé has jumped ship announcing that their wedding is off. Everything is falling apart, and this brings up another issue; how much quality business can get done if there are further consequences distracting Filner from running the city?

This guy would have been out the door in a day in the “corporate” world with his overly intimate sex-machine approach. Like a happy, horny buffoon he remains clueless to anything except enjoying a little ribald humor and a pat on the cheek. Wrong cheek, unfortunately, and he should’ve known better.

But Bob won’t be shooed away that easily. No sir, he’s refusing to resign and will install himself in a plan to treat his problems. While seeking help is definitely the smart course of action, there seems to be no one but Filner who thinks that he should do so while remaining in office. But he is determined to remain mayor during his absence.

Seeking help may be the first practical, prudent decision he’s made in some time. That’s good news for him, but do San Diegans want such an established, clear example of bad-decision making to lead the city? Do they want their leader to be that easy?

If I Were the Votin' Type

See results

Tranquility by the Sea? Nah.

Filner plans to continue running the city in absentia, during treatment. What will happen between now and Aug 19 when he returns? What kind of chaos and distractions will have developed by then? What kind will he bring back with him?

Must an escort be assigned to each future meeting between Filner and various female administrators, vendors, constituents and representatives from various organizations having business with the city? Will therapy restore the people’s trust in the mayor? Not just in his ability to make the right choices, but even to be able to confide in him about matters of concern without questioning his judgment. And who will ultimately foot the bill for this therapy? I know the logical answer but, c’mon, look at what we’re dealing with here.

Other Stuff Really Does Happen Here

No, things will not calm down here. San Diegans continue to be concerned about seals and dolphins and whales in captivity at Sea World. And many eyes are on the Coronado Navy SEALS training facility anticipating the arrival of female training candidates in the next few years. And the ongoing plight of the seals at La Jolla Cove is always popping up in the news. Nature has had ample opportunity to display her dark sense of humor.


Then there’s Comic-Con which, as reported in the U-T newspaper (San Diego Union-Tribune, city’s major newsrag), successfully left behind nearly 20 tons of trash this summer; sign of good times. And the summertime staples The Del Mar Fair followed immediately by thoroughbred horse racing at The Del Mar racetrack through Labor Day.

As for business, everyone knows San Diego is a huge hang-out for the military. And less public but equally if not more impressive are the Defense and Biotech industries, always in the news at the forefront of their respective disciplines.

There’s always something going on in Diego. There are no Broadway shows or Hollywood premieres but our homegrown entertainment can be interesting at times. And, who knows, there may even be an off-year mayoral election to add to the excitement.

Break from Bob: Watch seals snooze the cove in La Jolla

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  • John Frawley profile image

    John Frawley 4 years ago from Southern California

    Thanks, Mel. I, also, enjoy the benefits of living here in the southland, but in a city adjacent to the City of Sin. (Sorry, I actually was born and raised in SD, I just don't vote there anymore 'cos I'm "next door"). Thanks for the tip on the Marie Calendar's In CV; I'll stick with the one in La Mesa or Santee, thanks. Initially, I was thinking that the Filner thing would dud out and then it became a "Tiger" affair, with all these victims coming out of the woodwork. He's acted like such a fool since the start of this, it's certainly easy to see why he has absolutely no support and why anything he says is suspect. If he left now he might be able to step back into public life later. If he keeps up like he is, he'll be laughed out of it and run out of town on a rail! Bob's having a lot of trouble getting a clue!

    Thanks so much for your post.

  • Mel Carriere profile image

    Mel Carriere 4 years ago from San Diego California

    Apathy among the voters astounds me. I am amazed that after everything Filner has done people continue to support him. I for one believe that character matters in a politician. As a fellow San Diegan I am outraged by his behavior. I have actually eaten dinner in that same Marie Calendar's in Chula Vista where he allegedly tried to kiss that woman by force. Makes me feel a little disgusted that some of Filner's nasty residual saliva might have been left on the booth where I was sitting. Great hub!