Morning Report: How Media’s Botching Filner Story

Morning Report: How Media’s Botching Filner Story

Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

Mayor Bob Filner

And away they go! A politician is on the hot seat thanks to lurid allegations, and the national media has suddenly become interested in San Diego politics. Unfortunately, they’re missing a few things, like the facts.

We’ve compiled a guide to some of the biggest errors.

Here are a few: This isn’t a sex scandal, at least by our definition. Our mayors aren’t always in a big fat pile of trouble (although some certainly have been).

Also: Some out-of-towners seem to think Filner will quit. Now isn’t that adorable? (Never mind that last week I thought he would.)

How City Laws Protect Filner from Ouster

It’s not easy, but there are ways that a judge could remove the mayor of, say, Escondido from office. Or the mayor of Oceanside, El Cajon or National City. The judge would just need to believe that the mayor had committed misconduct.

What about San Diego? Not so much. The city has its own quasi-constitution known as a charter, unlike those cities listed above. That means it runs things when it comes to putting people in office and taking them out. And it also means Filner has lots of protections against attempts to boot him that fall short of a lengthy and expensive recall process.

About Those ‘Due Process’ Protestations …

The two most frequently heard words on the lips of Filner supporters: “due process.” But, as VOSD’s Scott Lewis puts it in a commentary, due process isn’t at issue here: The mayor’s foes (including many of his former allies) “don’t need a criminal conviction. They don’t need a hearing. They don’t need due process. They don’t need anything. It’s a decision they make to say whatever they want.”

The Rest of the Day in Filner

• Leading local Democrats met on Sunday to plot their strategy regarding Filner and choose a candidate if there’s a special election to recall him, NBC 7 San Diego reports.

“The idea was, basically, if there is going to be a recall, we should get together and get behind one person. We should be organized and make sure we present a unified front,” a source said.

• Filner is serving under the “strong mayor” system, which turns the mayor into a kind of CEO. San Diego Explained, our video series, looks into how that has played out for him.

• Filner says he’s moving forward, and his office created a poster showing him out and about over the last few days. (NBC 7 San Diego)

• The House of Representatives, where Filner served before becoming mayor, lacks sexual harassment training. (U-T San Diego)

• Nancy Pelosi: Not a Filner fan. (Huffington Post)

So Much for Lily Pond Prosecutions

Remember last year when city officials were fuming over the minor damage to Balboa Park’s lily pond during a late-night water gun fight? They promised that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

Well, they won’t. The city attorney’s office has closed its investigation, and no one will be prosecuted.

Quick News Hits

• The Stumblr is here and there.

• Southern California Edison is looking to lay blame for the bad steam generators at San Onofre, KPBS reports.

• Thanks to the news site Patch, you can get a gander at a special poster created for Comic-Con to promote the DVD release of the movie “Oblivion.”

The poster shows a devastated San Diego in the year 2077. The convention center, with a big sign promoting this year’s Comic-Con, is in ruins. The Coronado Bridge is ravaged and broken. And there’s junk all over the ground.

Hmm. What’s that I see in the rubble? Oh, so that’s where I lost my keys!

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Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and president-elect of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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