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We’re 11 days and $8,000 in donations away from kicking off the third annual Politifest, San Diego’s top civic-minded festival.
Help us reach our funding goal and then join us Saturday, Aug. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Liberty Station in Point Loma. We’ll have events for kids, beer for adults and plenty of talk about hot topics.
You’ll also get a chance to meet VOSD staff members and contributors, including your main Morning Report scribe (me) and Seth Hall, who fills in most Thursdays. You’ll also get to meet folks from a variety of community institutions, organizations and companies, including Balboa Park, Downtown San Diego Partnership, Hillcrest Business Association, KPBS, Normal Heights Community Association, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, UPforED and more.
And we have breaking news: You can now read the list of the five finalists in the Idea Tournament.
Another woman came forward yesterday, via KPBS, claiming the then-Rep. Bob Filner told her to turn around in front of a table of supporters at a fundraiser and patted her on the buttocks. She was his deputy campaign manager at the time. She demanded an apology in an email to Filner and Tony Buckles, his chief of staff at the time. (Buckles has just returned to that job for Mayor Filner.) She says Filner mumbled to her, “I’m sorry” … But he also said she didn’t understand what had happened.
(Buckles is known for being a kind of “Bob Whisperer,” able to control his famous antagonism and temper to a point.)
The woman, political consultant Laura Fink, told KPBS that she didn’t make the complaint public because she “was trying to build a career in the political field … and Bob Filner has a reputation for swift retribution and for holding grudges.”
Here are a few reasons we think it matters.
• VOSD’s Scott Lewis says he sees two separate days much differently now that the mayor’s former director of communications, Irene McCormack has filed her own lawsuit.
Lewis recalls seeing Filner and McCormack a few weeks ago on a day when McCormack and a deputy chief of staff named Allen Jones had resigned in disgust after challenging the mayor about his actions.
McCormack was still on hand to help the mayor, who lied about what had happened. “That was the day the mayor told me, after a panel I moderated with him, that Jones had not quit. Officers had merely helped him carry some boxes he was moving, Filner told me.”
The Rest of the Day in Filner
• Filner’s security detail are now assigned to make sure he is not alone with women while on city property. A question appeared on Twitter yesterday: Does this violate the rights of women who wish to be heard by the mayor because they don’t have the same access as men?
Meanwhile, 10News says the city attorney will question the cops who provide security to the mayor.
• CityBeat, the leftie alternative weekly, previously called on Filner to resign. Now, it says “San Diego is a sad, sick joke” and raps the liberals — there are a lot of them online at places like this pro-Filner Facebook page — who continue to support Filner: “Liberals who can’t bear to consider life after Filner need to get a grip. He’s not nearly as inspiring or effective as they portray him to be. We suggest they start to coalesce around someone who can pick up and carry the mantle, who isn’t crippled by severe personality disorders.”
• Fact Check TV analyzes the mayor’s changing public statements over the last few weeks.
• Our long local nightmare (in the national spotlight) continues. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow updated her viewers about our mess; click here to watch it.
And even now Jay Leno is making fun of hizzoner. Even more shocking: people I know still watch Leno.
Commentary: Filner Isn’t the Only Official Who’s Humiliating Us
In a commentary, Sara Libby calls out Ernie Dronenburg, the county’s assessor/recorder/clerk, who wants to put same-sex marriages on the skids. (The state Supreme Court denied his request, made with other county clerks, yesterday, KPBS reports.)
Not only is he going back on his word, she writes, but he’s also throwing away money and “stripping people of dignity… Filner’s damage is being contained and investigated. But Dronenburg seems free and determined to pursue more.”
Mayor’s Veto of His Own Pension Picks Stands
Mayor Filner’s veto of his own appointments to the San Diego city pension board stood Tuesday as the City Council was one vote short of overriding him. This means that board president Herb Morgan is out. (In his own press release Tuesday, Morgan called on the mayor to resign.)
Morgan is a colorful personality who has said Jan Goldsmith’s actions as city attorney demonstrate why we shouldn’t elect city attorneys. He’s particularly frustrated with this lawsuit Scott Lewis explained a few months ago.
And Morgan was a key reason that the pension board decided not to give the city any relief after much touted five-year labor agreements were crafted specifically with the pension board in mind. It left the city with a bill $25 million higher than it anticipated, which will mean no increase in library hours and police recruits and other positive changes the budget anticipated.
That presumably is what got Filner upset with his appointee. Morgan has tweeted that he is interested in running for mayor.
SDSU’s Mysterious Firing of Basketball Coach Gets Clarity
Tuesday the U-T posted a remarkable expose of why SDSU women’s basketball coach Beth Burns was fired last year. It had been a mystery for months. Now the university is under fire as people wonder if what a video the U-T obtained shows really was worthy of ending her career. She has lawyered up. VOSD sports blogger Beau Lynott has links and background to help you track this story.
How the Trolley Expansion Will Change Everything
“San Diego’s trolley service will soon connect the city’s two densest areas, but the expansion’s success depends on flipping development patterns in the communities in between,” our land-use reporter Andrew Keatts writes in a new story. The affected communities are from downtown to University City.
How-To Guide to Getting a Street Light
Want a new streetlight? It’s complicated. San Diego Explained, our video series, has the details.
Quick News Hits
• The Culture Report offers a grab bag of links to stories about arts and culture, including news of an art show of port public-art projects that have been cancelled.
• VOSD sports blogger John Gennaro says the suspension of a Brewer outfielder could be big trouble for our own team.
• Noir is on my mind, and not just because things have gotten pretty dark around here. Yesterday was the 125th anniversary of the birth of hard-boiled detective novelist Raymond Chandler, who lived for years in La Jolla and created Philip Marlowe (“The Long Goodbye,” The Big Sleep”).
With the help of KPBS staff members, I pondered San Diego’s noir possibilities a while back and even came up with my own little film scenario called “The Big Slip.” It features the El Indio restaurant, an elephant and a $2 million insurance policy.
It won’t take a gumshoe to solve the case. Here’s the last-scene twist: A certain someone really needs to keep his day job.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.