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Our weekly insiders guide to political and policy news (Saturdays)
The week in Filner, an out-of-nowhere diversity push, politicians bicker about politicking and what we learned this week.
The national media on Friday seemed stunned by the news Friday that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner would seek “corrective behavior” treatment instead of resigning. Most San Diegans found it about par for the course of an absurd week.
Seven accusers came forward this week. A declaration by a former Filner intern posted by KPBS said he was disturbed by some things he saw and an encounter between the mayor and a “high level education administrator” who is pretty clearly San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten. But the intern did not say what happened and no misconduct with Marten is described.
Filner’s decision means there is only one mechanism remaining to change city leadership before the next election: a recall. Zack Warma and Lisa Halverstadt explained why the city’s murky laws could complicate what would already be a difficult process for Filner opponents.
One of Filner’s strongest supporters got the ball rolling on a recall effort Friday. As we explained, that move might be a shrewd maneuver to actually keep Filner in office.
As for Filner’s treatment plan, one of the accusers who came forward this week told us she’s deeply disappointed by his decision.
More of Friday’s Filner news:
• Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, urged Filner to resign before his press conference.
• Laura Fink, one of the accusers who spoke publicly about her experience with Filner, wrote in the Huffington Post that Filner’s decision to stick around betrays his activist past: “Bob Filner is no longer fighting for us — he is fighting against us, and only for himself.”
• The city attorney’s office successfully served Filner with a subpoena for Irene McCormack’s case. The subpoena requires his presence for an Aug. 9 deposition, a date that falls during Filner’s two-week treatment period. (U-T San Diego)
• Sherri Lightner, one of the three remaining holdouts on the City Council, asked for Filner’s resignation. (Fox 5 San Diego)
In another city, a mayor’s decision to veto his own pension board picks might be the weirdest thing a leader did all week. Here, the news was largely drowned out by other Filner items.
Filner’s chief of staff told the City Council on Tuesday that the mayor was scuttling his own choices in order to take the opportunity to diversify an all-male board. Lisa Halverstadt points out some reasons why that doesn’t pass the smell test. For one, Filner could have nominated women to begin with in May.
John Gennaro believes Padres third baseman Chase Headley has finally recaptured some of last season’s magic. Almost. “The good news is Headley’s no longer in a downward spiral. The ‘bad’ news is the power that he flashed last season has yet to return,” Gennaro writes in this week’s Sports Report, with updates on Chargers training camp, SDSU’s Beth Burns and more.
Robert Brewer, who’s challenging District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, wrote in to say he’ll never weigh in on political races. Doing so, Brewer argues, compromises the office. Case in point: The D.A.’s office will sit out any possible prosecution of Mayor Bob Filner.
• “I refuse to sit on the sidelines when it comes to speaking out about important issues,” Dumanis shot back in her own op-ed.
• Emergency help comes late most often in the poorest, brownest parts of the city: A deeply reported investigation by Liam Dillon found that by their own standards, San Diego Fire-Rescue crews arrived late to more than 37,000 incidents over a 21-month period. Fire stations in high-need areas would help, but city leaders haven’t put a dime toward funding them.
• A local women’s shelter is not “well under capacity”: A downtown residents group argued in a memo to the mayor that putting a homeless shelter in the old Central Library space would be overkill. The nearby Rachel’s Women’s Center is “well under capacity,” the group argued. Alex Corey ran the shelter’s stats and rendered a False verdict. The shelter was close to capacity for 17 of the last 18 months.
• San Diego can do more to foster innovation: Nearly 100 VOSD readers converged for our event to discuss San Diego’s innovation economy Wednesday. One audience member urged local innovators to create tools to lift up the poor. Another spurred a discussion about what role local educators should play in cultivating innovation.
“A man who lacks character makes a mockery of his ideas” — Irene McCormack, in her statement accusing Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment.
“My failure to respect women and the intimidating conduct I engaged in at times is inexcusable.” — Filner.