Locks Changed, Mayor’s Back, Council Unites Against Him

Locks Changed, Mayor’s Back, Council Unites Against Him

File photos by Sam Hodgson

Marti Emerald, Bob Filner, Myrtle Cole

It was a shocking day in a so far shocking month of developments in this saga. The mayor’s chief of staff, Lee Burdick confirmed that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner had returned  a week earlier than expected from his intensive behavioral therapy.

The U-T and 10News confirmed that the locks to the mayor’s office had been changed.

And in a strikingly harsh statement, Councilwomen Marti Emerald and Myrtle Cole did an about face on their support for the mayor, relaying in a statement that they had received disturbing new evidence of his actions.

Scott Lewis on Politics LogoThey insisted he resign immediately.

“Now, additional women in his own office are telling investigators about harassment and abuse they suffered on a daily basis. Based upon the ongoing disclosure of evidence Mayor Filner’s conduct is reprehensible and cannot be excused,” Cole and Emerald wrote in the joint statement.

It is unclear what investigators they’re referring to or why the members of City Council might have access to their findings.

Burdick told me in a text message that the mayor was indeed back.

“The mayor completed his two-week treatment plan today. That is a private health matter and I won’t comment further,” she wrote.

This was contradicted later when Filner’s lawyers released a statement saying he will actually complete his two-week treatment Saturday.

“Mayor Filner is planning to continue therapy sessions on an outpatient basis. Mayor Filner is taking personal time next week and will be unavailable for comment,” wrote James Payne, Filner’s lawyer.

This would imply he started the plan early despite telling a nationwide audience in late July that he would begin the plan Aug. 5 and be back Aug. 19.

And yet, that was not all. Also Friday, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer released a sharply worded open letter to Filner.

“Let me be clear: The latest revelations regarding your behavior toward women recovering from sexual assault – women who desperately need our help – have shaken me to my core,” Boxer said.

Cole and Emerald’s joint statement means the City Council has now unanimously called on the mayor to resign.

It marks almost complete political isolation for Filner — the Democratic Party, elected leaders from the city, the state and up the chain to California’s U.S. senators.

Filner last week called ally Bob Nelson asking whether Nelson thought he could withstand a recall vote. Nelson said he could not. Nelson later in the week advised the mayor to step down.

Whether a recall qualifies for the ballot is still an open question. But this week, the campaign to do that went from shoddy disorganization to professional, with well-known consultants signing on.

Before Friday, it was very difficult to picture how the mayor survived or recovered as a city leader. It’s impossible now.

Update: I got a comment via email from Burdick on why she says she had the locks changed:
The fact is that I had the locks changed to protect the Mayor while he is away.  My concern is/was that if anything was removed while the Mayor was away, it could raise all kinds of questions about preservation or spoliation of potential evidence.
 
Because I could not possibly determine everyone who had keys, I believed it was necessary to ensure the integrity of his physical office in his absence.
 
The Mayor will be given the keys upon his return.
 
Hope that helps.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.


Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis

I'm Scott Lewis, the editor in chief of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it's a blast!): @vosdscott.

  • 505 Posts
  • 21
    Followers

Show comments
Before you comment, read these simple guidelines on what is not allowed.

24 comments
Steve Yuhas
Steve Yuhas

I'm glad the issue of the locks was cleared up (frankly, it was getting to be a bit of a joke - more of a joke?) and the City cannot recover from such a mess until Filner is gone. My question is this: If the San Diego City Council is FINALLY unanimous about Filner's position as mayor, why do they not defund his office and make it so uncomfortable that he's forced out. It's great to write letters and give statements, but DO SOMETHING! All the talk in the world is not going to stop Filner from damaging the City more than he already has. At the very least it could be made uncomfortable so maybe he'll step aside. Leave somebody in place to answer the phone in the event the president calls, but for the other 25 people in the office of 26 full-time employees at a cost of $3,524,705 this FY - sorry, but there are many casualties in the mayor's wake. Why should the only casualties be women he assaults? The sad truth is they cannot possibly have enough to keep them busy since the only attention being paid to San Diego is trying to figure out how less than a week in counseling changed a 70-year-olds lifetimes of aggression not just toward women, but toward people.

Steve Yuhas
Steve Yuhas subscriber

I'm glad the issue of the locks was cleared up (frankly, it was getting to be a bit of a joke - more of a joke?) and the City cannot recover from such a mess until Filner is gone. My question is this: If the San Diego City Council is FINALLY unanimous about Filner's position as mayor, why do they not defund his office and make it so uncomfortable that he's forced out. It's great to write letters and give statements, but DO SOMETHING! All the talk in the world is not going to stop Filner from damaging the City more than he already has. At the very least it could be made uncomfortable so maybe he'll step aside. Leave somebody in place to answer the phone in the event the president calls, but for the other 25 people in the office of 26 full-time employees at a cost of $3,524,705 this FY - sorry, but there are many casualties in the mayor's wake. Why should the only casualties be women he assaults? The sad truth is they cannot possibly have enough to keep them busy since the only attention being paid to San Diego is trying to figure out how less than a week in counseling changed a 70-year-olds lifetimes of aggression not just toward women, but toward people.

David Cohen
David Cohen

What shabby writing! The initial "back earlier than expected" and "locks changed" seem designed to leave a negative impression until altered later in the story. Isn't it time to renounce advocacy and return to journalism?

David Cohen
David Cohen subscriber

What shabby writing! The initial "back earlier than expected" and "locks changed" seem designed to leave a negative impression until altered later in the story. Isn't it time to renounce advocacy and return to journalism?

Don Wood
Don Wood

No mention of Homeland Security catching a group eavesdropping on the mayor's offices from a room at the Westgate Hotel. Guess that bit of news doesn't fit into the narrative VOSD is promoting in this matter.

Don Wood
Don Wood subscriber

No mention of Homeland Security catching a group eavesdropping on the mayor's offices from a room at the Westgate Hotel. Guess that bit of news doesn't fit into the narrative VOSD is promoting in this matter.

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw

A couple of days ago I would have bet the farm that Filner would only go in a recall or conviction with mandatory jail time. But when Marti Emerald deserts the guy, there's no one left on the bus. Maybe she knows Filner IS negotiating a departure! Just in case, where do I send my contribution to finance the recall?

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

A couple of days ago I would have bet the farm that Filner would only go in a recall or conviction with mandatory jail time. But when Marti Emerald deserts the guy, there's no one left on the bus. Maybe she knows Filner IS negotiating a departure! Just in case, where do I send my contribution to finance the recall?

David Packham
David Packham

Mr. Eisenhart, well said! the very abuses of which you speak are the very reasons I was more than enthusiastic when I heard Bob Filner was running, and wholeheartedly supported him. When these allegations first broke, I was in total disbelief, and was sure that the very special interests that had the real power at city hall were doing this to dismantle his ideas and discredit him, but we do need to worry about who is going to be at the wheel next. Will it be another, as you put it, "errand boy"? Or will it be someone who will stand up to these special interests where once again this city will be America's Finest? I've lived here 29 years, arrived in 1984 via the US Navy, as did many others, and watched as San Diego went from being a very pleasant and exciting city under Maureen O'Connor to absolute purgatory under most of her successors. When Bob was running I had hopes of recapturing the place I fell in love with nearly 3 decades ago, but with the recent controversy, I'm disillusioned at best.

David Packham
David Packham subscriber

Mr. Eisenhart, well said! the very abuses of which you speak are the very reasons I was more than enthusiastic when I heard Bob Filner was running, and wholeheartedly supported him. When these allegations first broke, I was in total disbelief, and was sure that the very special interests that had the real power at city hall were doing this to dismantle his ideas and discredit him, but we do need to worry about who is going to be at the wheel next. Will it be another, as you put it, "errand boy"? Or will it be someone who will stand up to these special interests where once again this city will be America's Finest? I've lived here 29 years, arrived in 1984 via the US Navy, as did many others, and watched as San Diego went from being a very pleasant and exciting city under Maureen O'Connor to absolute purgatory under most of her successors. When Bob was running I had hopes of recapturing the place I fell in love with nearly 3 decades ago, but with the recent controversy, I'm disillusioned at best.

john eisenhart
john eisenhart

In a nut shell: Citizens of San Diego had years of being abused (socially, financially) by the errand boys (Sanders, Murphy, Golding, etc...) who ran the plantation. The next errand boy (DeMaio) loses the election. Oh My GAWD!!! Filner takes over and pulls the bus up we all pile in and escape the plantation. Balboa Park is solved, Union contracts set in place, Tourist "scammers" Office and City attorney are smacked down, taxi cabbies get a fair shake, etc....The old prison guards at the plantation form a posse, road block our bus and force it to pull over. The driver, Filner blows a .20 well over the legal limit. Okay he is guilty of driving under the influence. Now who is going to get in the driver's seat and get us down the road away from the guards and the power elite? It certainly is not any member of the plantation system. Todd Gloria, Kevin Falcouner? They are pleasant and reasonable yet they are wearing the guard uniform under their suit. "Everyone exit the bus and walk back to the plantation cause the driver was an evil drunk" is the mantra they speak. They roll out drive education films, Mothers against drunk drivers seminars, etc.. in a effort to discredit not only the driverer but the passengers who "enabled" him. We need to remain on the bus, refuse to exit and keep rolling. Who is going to be the ONE to shut the door, rev the engine and run through the road block?

john eisenhart
john eisenhart subscriber

In a nut shell: Citizens of San Diego had years of being abused (socially, financially) by the errand boys (Sanders, Murphy, Golding, etc...) who ran the plantation. The next errand boy (DeMaio) loses the election. Oh My GAWD!!! Filner takes over and pulls the bus up we all pile in and escape the plantation. Balboa Park is solved, Union contracts set in place, Tourist "scammers" Office and City attorney are smacked down, taxi cabbies get a fair shake, etc....The old prison guards at the plantation form a posse, road block our bus and force it to pull over. The driver, Filner blows a .20 well over the legal limit. Okay he is guilty of driving under the influence. Now who is going to get in the driver's seat and get us down the road away from the guards and the power elite? It certainly is not any member of the plantation system. Todd Gloria, Kevin Falcouner? They are pleasant and reasonable yet they are wearing the guard uniform under their suit. "Everyone exit the bus and walk back to the plantation cause the driver was an evil drunk" is the mantra they speak. They roll out drive education films, Mothers against drunk drivers seminars, etc.. in a effort to discredit not only the driverer but the passengers who "enabled" him. We need to remain on the bus, refuse to exit and keep rolling. Who is going to be the ONE to shut the door, rev the engine and run through the road block?

Herb Morgan
Herb Morgan

In the spirit of racing season let me attempt to "handicap" what is happening and what the most likely scenario is in the days ahead. The mayor is no doubt in serious trouble. One the one hand he has civil and political issues to deal with. On the other hand he may have serious criminal issues to deal with. He has an attorney in Mr. Berger who appears competent. Inquiring minds should be opining on two things. First, what is Mr. Berger's likely strategy and second, can he get his client to take his advice. At this point one can only conclude that the mayor and his attorney are trying to negotiate a global settlement which would likely include elements of the following. 1. Settlement with the United States of America regarding Hobbs act felony charges or some sort of reduced charges or simply no prison time and possibly resignation. 2. Settlement with Ms. McCormack Jackson and her attorney which includes resignation and a financial element, likely paid by the city. 3 Settlement with the City of San Diego which includes resignation and indemnification related to Ms. McCormack-Jackson's civil suit and others which may be filed. A lot could get in the way of this deal of course starting with megolomania. Still, I suspect a deal is close or Bob would not have left rehab early. The draft settlement agreements are probably furiously flying about.

Herb Morgan
Herb Morgan subscriber

In the spirit of racing season let me attempt to "handicap" what is happening and what the most likely scenario is in the days ahead. The mayor is no doubt in serious trouble. One the one hand he has civil and political issues to deal with. On the other hand he may have serious criminal issues to deal with. He has an attorney in Mr. Berger who appears competent. Inquiring minds should be opining on two things. First, what is Mr. Berger's likely strategy and second, can he get his client to take his advice. At this point one can only conclude that the mayor and his attorney are trying to negotiate a global settlement which would likely include elements of the following. 1. Settlement with the United States of America regarding Hobbs act felony charges or some sort of reduced charges or simply no prison time and possibly resignation. 2. Settlement with Ms. McCormack Jackson and her attorney which includes resignation and a financial element, likely paid by the city. 3 Settlement with the City of San Diego which includes resignation and indemnification related to Ms. McCormack-Jackson's civil suit and others which may be filed. A lot could get in the way of this deal of course starting with megolomania. Still, I suspect a deal is close or Bob would not have left rehab early. The draft settlement agreements are probably furiously flying about.

don sheffler
don sheffler

Don, because that's just a twitter rumor. It's already hard to resist speculating even when dealing with actual news and real quotes.

don sheffler
don sheffler

How is a recall election structured in San Diego? Is there a replacement ballot which goes along with the recall as it was done in California with Davis? Or is the recall a stand-alone election, with a replacement election held later?

David Cohen
David Cohen

If there is a recall election, I will likely vote against recall unless Donna Frye or someone of her caliber is on the replacement ballot. We cannot lose the vision for SD we elected such a short time ago.

David Cohen
David Cohen subscriber

If there is a recall election, I will likely vote against recall unless Donna Frye or someone of her caliber is on the replacement ballot. We cannot lose the vision for SD we elected such a short time ago.

Greg Scott
Greg Scott

Makes sense Herb . Negotiation could explain the lingering. Otherwise the mayor is just crazy. I've been wondering why he would just stick around letting the rage and legal damage grow.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin

Interesting read Herb. A plea deal of sorts. Does seem Filners only leverage strength is remaining Mayor until he gets the deal he wants. Whether he did in fact violate the Hobbs act is still up in the air though IMHO. He did not personally benefit.

Greg Scott
Greg Scott subscriber

Makes sense Herb . Negotiation could explain the lingering. Otherwise the mayor is just crazy. I've been wondering why he would just stick around letting the rage and legal damage grow.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

Interesting read Herb. A plea deal of sorts. Does seem Filners only leverage strength is remaining Mayor until he gets the deal he wants. Whether he did in fact violate the Hobbs act is still up in the air though IMHO. He did not personally benefit.

James Weber
James Weber

"We cannot lose the vision for SD we elected such a short time ago." No matter how many innocent women have been or will be abused and harassed?

James Weber
James Weber subscriber

"We cannot lose the vision for SD we elected such a short time ago." No matter how many innocent women have been or will be abused and harassed?