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Today Mayor Bob Filner is scheduled to go into therapy for two weeks. The Associated Press has a good roundup of the story so far.

What’s next for the rest of us? Do we get a two-week break from all this craziness? Dream on. The mayor is still concentrating minds and news coverage. Case in point: Saturday’s Politifest, where a panel of six politicians tackled the issue of what to do now and what to do next. Check our roundup of their thoughts.

The discussion prompted no confirmations about who wants to be the next mayor. Some of the speakers did, however, try to get across the potentially contradictory message that the mayor is a damaging embarrassment who’s hurting the city’s future — Councilman Todd Gloria said we bought “a lemon” — but the city of San Diego keeps doing its job well.

There’s much more to learn from Polifiest, where the insiders go. Along with the outsiders who want to become the insiders, influence the insiders or just make fun of the insiders.

• Bill Fulton, San Diego’s hot-shot new planning director, put a happy face on the times, saying it hasn’t slowed his efforts: “If anything, we’ve actually upped our game, recognizing that in the emerging planning department that we really are moving forward and I’m really excited.”

For more of his thoughts, click here.

• NBC San Diego has a roundup, and you can listen to a podcast of the big “What Do We Do Know?” discussion provided by KOGO.

• CBS 8 interviewed some folks in the crowd and we hear the mayor has even lost chalk guy. You remember chalk guy, Jeff Olson.

Photo by Sam Hodgson
Photo by Sam Hodgson

San Diego Loses an Admired Leader

Complications of a bicycle crash took the life of local technology leader Duane Roth on Saturday, the U-T reports. He was CEO of Connect, a non-profit group devoted to boosting tech start-ups, and vice chair of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

The U-T’s extensive main obituary is here, and it compiles online reactions from community leaders here. The Daily Transcript has more. Here’s Connect’s own take. A Connect policy staffer shared a video about why San Diego matters in the tech world as a mark of the kind of production and message Roth had perfected.

Roth had been training with a group of riders for the trek down the coast that the Challenged Athletes Foundation leads to raise funds for its cause. Sunday a group of riders paid tribute to Roth.

New Chief of Staff Stands with the Mayor

The U-T profiles Lee Burdick, the mayor’s new chief of staff and a stalwart defender. She’s an attorney and says some communications regarding the mayor are protected by attorney-client privilege; it sounds like she’ll get to defend this unusual position in court.

“I know what I’m doing. I’m smart. I’m resourceful. I’m successful. I’m articulate. I’m charming at times…” she told the paper. “I am the most qualified person to inspire this staff to continue to work hard on behalf of an administration and an agenda that is worth carrying forward.”

Writer Craig Gustafson shared his full interview with Burdick here.

• A columnist with the NY Times notices that three wayward politicians in the news are all Jewish men, including “Bob Filner, proud son of Forest Hills, Queens, whose California dream of a life — history professor, congressman, San Diego mayor — was undone by so much alleged lechery that the city he governed established a hot line for victims.” (Actually, the sheriff’s department set it up.)

The column examines the thread of faith that ties Filner to his counterparts and notes that Rabbi Michael Berk of Congregation Beth Israel, San Diego’s largest synagogue, recently “tore into him from the pulpit. ‘I’m sure I’m not the only Jew who is embarrassed,’ he said.”

The Rest of the Weekend in Filner

• A part-time singer says Filner made a bold pass at her in church, 10News reports. The TV station and the U-T have declared her to be the “10th accuser,” but that’s a bit of a stretch considering the allegations in this case.

• Don’t miss late-night comedian Stephen Colbert’s take (his second) on the Filner scandal. It’s in two parts: here and here.

• The influential local Labor Council continues to stand behind Filner, the U-T reports. “It’s an awkward situation, but we have a lot invested in him,” says a union leader.

• The online news organization Slate explores how the GOP is trying to turn the “War on Women” allegation back at Democrats by claiming, among other things, that top Dem leaders nationally haven’t attacked Filner. This is a popular theme on Twitter, which is full of Republican-friendly tweets about Filner and his supposed enabling by national Democrats.

The story blames the GOP for jumping on one weak argument to replace another: “Thus: the ‘war on actual women’ and the attempt to change the subject so the political press found an equivalence between actual laws passed by Republicans and sleazy behavior by Democrats.”

• Just about all of our Top 10 most popular stories over the past week revolved around the mayoral mess.

Quick News Hits

• We have another installment in our Second Opinion series of questions about the effects of health care reform. This time: What will happen to military benefits?

• Ernie Dronenburg is withdrawing his “legal bid to resurrect Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage,” reports the LA Times.

U-T Brass Won’t Be Boston-Bound

• John Lynch, the CEO of the U-T and the most prominent person to tell me to “get a life,” is hopping mad that his paper failed to buy The Boston Globe newspaper despite a decent bid. (The Red Sox owner ended up buying it.)

“At the end of the day, I’m certain our bid was higher and could have been a lot more higher if they had just asked. I’m just stunned. I thought this was a public company that had a fiduciary duty to get the most by its stockholders…,” he told the Boston Herald. “From the beginning, I don’t think they wanted to sell to us.”

Sounds like another case of Boston Strong.

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 and follow him on Twitter:

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Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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