The Morning Report
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Last week we explained Nathan Fletcher’s plummet following accusations that he sexually harassed and assaulted Metropolitan Transit System employee Grecia Figueroa — and the allegation against Fletcher and MTS that Figueroa was then fired for retribution.
Fletcher resigned as MTS chair and plans to resign as County Supervisor. But the scandal continues to bleed across the region.
This week, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña discussed the latest developments as MTS’s board decided to pursue a separate investigation into the matter of its former chair allegedly assaulting its former employee.
On the county front: The Board of Supervisors must decide how to fill Fletcher’s seat temporarily — and permanently. All the while, the county’s chief administrative officer is trying to retire. Now with a four-person board, split between Republicans and Democrats, could Fletcher’s absence seize county operations? How long will this scandal linger over the Board (and the county’s administration)?
Dominoes, House of Cards, Musical Chairs but with all the chairs: Our hosts haven’t totally nailed down which game metaphor fits best, but politics were popping this week.
Now that Fletcher’s stepped out of his state Senate bid, Assemblywoman Akilah Weber announced this week she’ll step in. In the same breath, La Mesa City Councilman Colin Parent announced his bid to replace Weber’s not-yet-vacant Assembly seat.
And Janessa Goldbeck still wants Fletcher’s supervisor seat.
Then there’s Whitburn: In Fletcher’s absence, San Diego City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn is now interim board chair at MTS, charged with leading the agency through what could be its most tumultuous era ever.
As the downtown city rep, Whitburn’s also been at the fore of the homelessness discussion — aiming to develop new ordinances and safe camping solutions to curb the city’s foremost crisis.
Were that not enough, Whitburn’s chief of staff departed this week in the wake of another scandal.
My favorite question this week came from Lewis: Facing dueling crises — and in the throws of San Diego’s latest major scandal — will Whitburn seize his chance to lead or wilt under the heat?
I wonder how long it will take Whitburn to figure out that Gloria threw him under the bus.
Many forget that it was Donna Frye who endorsed Whitburn’s nascent campaign in 2008 for City Council against Todd Gloria. I believe in large measure it was Frye who enabled me to win a seat on the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee that year. I suppose Wit is an OK cat! Except power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Scott and Andy continue trying to get other agencies to do their investigative journalism for them. First they successfully pressured the MTS board into launching an “independent investigation of Fletcher’s behavior. Now they want the county and UCSD to do their own investigations, and presumably share their findings with VOSD, so Scott and Andy can pump out more articles tearing Fletcher down. This is beginning to feel like VOSD is replaying the same playbook local media outlets and politicians used on Bob Filner when he got caught in a similar peccadillo a few years back.
No need for waiting to see whether the charges made against Fletcher are true or not. Let’s just jump all over our latest falling political star. This is like San Diego’s own Groundhog Day movie.
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