It’s hard to imagine anyone who cares about San Diego politics who won’t be trying to find out what is said today at a 10 a.m. press conference. At it, three prominent progressives, all former supporters of Mayor Bob Filner, will explain why they asked the mayor to resign immediately based on accusations of sexual harassment they have not yet described.

Former city councilwoman and mayoral candidate Donna Frye and lawyers Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs were all in favor of Filner during the mayoral campaign and have defended his policies since. Frye even spent some time in Filner’s administration, serving as the director of open government. “I cannot in good conscience remain silent on this,” Frye wrote in a letter to Filner. “I call on you to do the only honorable thing at this time, resign immediately.”

KPBS broke the story Wednesday and we spent the afternoon making sense of it.

• Liam Dillon writes Filner’s personality has been a topic of concern for some time. “Frye was among the first to leave Filner’s office. He’s also lost at least three schedulers, all of them women,” Dillon reported.  “City Attorney Jan Goldsmith… told his staff that they weren’t allowed to visit the mayor’s office without a witness, and his directive especially applied to women.”

• Scott Lewis noted that while Filner’s political foes have been stoking rumors of a recall, their fingerprints are absent from this latest attack. “That’s what makes today’s news so powerful,” he wrote. “A group of avid supporters of the mayor, progressives like him, have said they think he needs to leave the job immediately.”

• Lisa Halverstadt rounded up the questions that are still swirling around this debacle. For instance, what actually does happen if Filner resigns?

• It’s been an undeniably bad week for Filner. The new accusations come only days after U-T San Diego reported that federal agents were investigating a $100,000 donation to the city by a developer who was seeking the mayor’s approval for revisions to an ongoing project. And earlier this week, Filner’s fiance acknowledged publicly that the pair’s relationship had ended.

• Social media, of course, exploded with the discussion. Even U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch commented on Scott Lewis’ Facebook post. Oddly, Lynch doesn’t think the mayor should resign. San Diego can’t handle another election and he’s too good for the news industry, he wrote in his own way.

• So far, the press hasn’t heard a peep from the mayor about it all. The Democratic Party and Labor Council both said they were concerned and awaited his response.

File photo by Sam Hodgson
File photo by Sam Hodgson

It Gets Worse

While Attorney Cory Briggs was busy sending his letter to the mayor, Andrew Keatts reported that Briggs was also busy filing suit against the city of San Diego over that same $100,000 donation incident being investigated by the FBI. The suit alleges quid-pro-quos, conflicts of interest and, if nothing else, an end-run around proper legal procedure for approving the project.

“His lawsuit challenges the city’s right to approve a reduction of public park space without additional environmental review, since the easement approval didn’t include a statement of its environmental effects,” Keatts wrote.

Absent Kings, How to Support Research?

Science can be an expensive and slow process. It used to be that researchers were supported by wealthy individuals, and that still happens sometimes today. Kelly Bennett reported on how Carlsbad is looking at how to support research in a different way: by offering cheap rent to researchers, and even paying their utility bills. “The effort attempts to address the question of bringing down the costs for scientific research,” Bennett wrote. “The city hopes to nurture fledgling companies that will grow… and bring new jobs, products and patents to the city.”

News Nibbles

  • Our Streets & Sidewalks event went off with intriguing discussion between some very sidewalk-savy citizens last night at the Jacobs Center. We’ll have more coverage of the event for you later today.
  • The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority says it has a plan to finally connect the trolley line to the airport.
  • Retailers can no longer sell puppies, kittens or bunnies in San Diego.
  • City Attorney Jan Goldsmith reiterated in an interview yesterday that he doesn’t want to be mayor, he swears.
  • Fish populations in Southern California have dropped 78% over the last 40 years. The culprit? Probably climate change

Coming to Eyeballs Near You

As a tech and gadget geek, I get excited any time I see the convergence of our bodies with wearable and implantable technology starting to emerge on the horizon. A new “telescopic” contact lens being researched at UCSD is exactly that kind of technology. “Superhuman vision may be closer to reality now that researchers at University of California San Diego are working on special contact lenses that could double vision by blinking,” Fox 5 San Diego reported.

Besides looking exactly like you would imagine (super creepy), the device does exactly what you’d hope it does: it allows you to zoom your vision up to 2.8 times just by blinking in a certain way. They still have to work on making it comfortable to wear for the average person. We’ll just have to wait… and see.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

Seth Hall is co-founder of the community group San Diego Privacy, which is a member of the TRUST SD Coalition.

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