Local Democratic Party leaders are all atwitter over what to do about embattled bad-boy San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. Now that former backers have gone public with accusations of behavior that has been rumored about for years, it seems the cover he had been given by the party has been blown away.
Not unlike the cascade of events that followed disgraced former Republican Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham when allegations of corruption came to light, a parade of former Filner associates and acolytes is beginning to form in the direction of the exits, beating an ever speedier retreat lest they be tainted by their proximity to the beleaguered politician.
To those who have followed Filner’s career, his fall from grace comes as no real surprise. Given his personality traits, the fact that it didn’t come earlier is.
Conversely, given his longevity on the political scene and apparent ability to keep his worst character flaws out of the public eye for so long, the suddenness of his fall from favor can only serve to underscore how egregious his behavior had become.
Now we have the likes of former San Diego City Councilmember Donna Frye, who not only backed Filner’s run for mayor but worked in his administration in its early days, calling for him to resign.
Published reports have lately surfaced that another Democrat stalwart, former state Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, had reported to party leadership two years ago about six different women who approached her complaining of Filner’s “physical and verbal harassment”. Nothing was done at the time because then San Diego County Democratic Party Chairman Jess Durfee says he was satisfied by his conversation with Filner about the allegations and that the six women had never contacted him directly about the claims when he asked Saldana to have them do so.
Excuses that these women and the women mentioned in the latest allegations have yet to come forward simply do not hold water. Of all people, Democrats who claim to be the party of the woman know better than to expect women who have been victimized by a powerful man to step forward openly and willingly—especially given empirical evidence that the system has been rigged in the past to cover up the very activities they are accusing him of.
Should Filner resign over these latest revelations? Reprehensible as they are—but taken by themselves—probably not. He’s a jerk, and now the world knows it, if they didn’t before. The world gave Bill Clinton a pass for essentially the same thing. I’m not saying its right, just how it is.
That said, when you couple it with the “pay for play” allegations surrounding the $100,000 Sunroad “contribution”, the high-handed treatment of the City Attorney and his staff, the questionable funding for and use of taxpayer monies in a recent junket to France, you begin to see a pattern of entitlement that permeates every action undertaken by the man.
It seems to me Mayor Bob’s version of “celebrity rehab lite” as a penance for his churlish actions is far too little, way too late. It may be time to light his political funeral pyre, but there’s a litany of items that can be used to fuel the flames.