“How long have you been hearing about these kinds of rumors?” one of the dozens of reporters at a Thursday morning press conference asked.
“As long as all of you,” Marco Gonzalez replied.
After Bob Filner’s 30 years in San Diego politics, 20 years in Congress, eight months as San Diego’s mayor and 20 hours since sexual harassment allegations against him became public, we know what we’ve always known about him: He has a reputation for being hard on his staff and not being great with women.
A 20-minute press conference with Gonzalez, fellow progressive attorney Cory Briggs and former City Councilwoman Donna Frye revealed that they say they’ve received “credible evidence” of Filner sexually harassing “numerous” women, and nothing more.
The trio didn’t provide any specific evidence of any instance of harassment. No women have gone public. No one’s filed a lawsuit.
Instead, Thursday’s press conference turned into a merry-go-round of reporters trying to figure out something new.
“Can you at least say how many women you represent?”
“No,” Gonzalez said.
“When you say numerous are you talking about in the double digits?”
“No,” Gonzalez said.
Another reporter started asking a question.
“Hold on,” Gonzalez interjected. “That wasn’t, ‘It’s not double digits.’ That was, ‘I’m not going to answer that’.”
So what we have to go on are Frye’s comments — “There is no doubt in my mind that these allegations are true” — Briggs’ exhortations about good government and Gonzalez’ allusions to Dante when explaining why he spoke out against his former ally.
Based on the volume of rumors against Filner over the years, that these kinds of allegations might be his undoing shouldn’t surprise anyone. What is surprising is that after years of snowballing rumors, we haven’t heard anything more than vague accusations.
Filner’s three accusers pleaded with the media not to make the situation into any more of a circus. But their unwillingness to tell the public anything other than what was already known — and so far Filner’s unwillingness to surface publicly — ensures the circus will continue for a while.