Ignoring friends' advice got Filner into trouble

But he is capable of wising up and must be given chance

I have spoken with a lot of people with inside knowledge of what has happened to Mayor Bob Filner. Here are some facts: 1. He is rough on people who work for him, but rougher on women than men. He has admitted as much; 2. He is flirtatious and makes sexual suggestions that are out of line; 3. While he was running for the job, he was warned by more than one person that his sexual aggressiveness could bring him down; he ignored the advice. 4. When in office, his temper sometimes got out of control, as did his tendency to make sexual suggestions; 5. His chief of staff, the now-resigned Vince Hall, should have been a buffer between Filner and the staff. Hall was not. He exacerbated the problem; 6. Filner ignored people who should have been his friends. Lawyer Cory Briggs tried to warn Filner's senior aides that the handling of the Sunroad matter was wrong. Briggs was ignored, and became one of the three who demanded Filner's resignation; 7. While she was serving as Filner's consultant on open government, Donna Frye didn't have the latitude to pursue her passion. When she left, he failed to reach out to her. She, like Briggs, became one of the three to demand his resignation; 8. Filner spent 20 years in Washington D.C., where sexual suggestiveness and banter is much more tolerated than it is in San Diego; Filner did not adjust to the new culture.

Bottom line: Filner has promised to reform. He must not only stop the sexual aggressiveness. He must control his temper, tone down his arrogance, and cut down on his abrasiveness. Changing personality that quickly is a very tall order, but he must do it if he is to survive. And he is the person for the job. He was elected because he saw what was wrong in San Diego: the neighborhoods and infrastructure were being ignored while money was hogged downtown. He is the only one who can curb the power of the downtown corporate welfare faction. To do this, he must shape up. The Republicans and Democrats who want to replace him -- Faulconer, DeMaio, Fletcher, Gloria, et al -- would reverse the progress already made. Filner's new aide, Tony Buckles, served him in Washington and knows him well. His appointment appears to be a good step.

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Comments

My opinion only--too little, and too late.

Never too late. Don't forget Ted Kennedy.

Not interested in reliving things that are not in our control. Filner, on the other hand, is very much under our control. If he doesn't resign, he will more than likely be recalled. He will not finish this term.

Filner is not a resigner. A recall costs a fortune (that could better be spent on propping up a candidacy for Nathan Smackover) AND it requires a vote of the people who might vote in greater numbers for an embattled Filner than they did for Congressman Filner. He definitely will finish this term.

Filner staying in office will cost the city even more. Unfortunately, the candidates already mentioned have their own issues, but at least the women in the mayor's office would be safer.

monaghan: I hope you are right. I am heartened by the number of San Diegans professing belief in due process. Best, Don Bauder

aardvark: If he doesn't finish his term, San Diego will be the loser. Best, Don Bauder

Don: The city is a loser either way. While I do feel Filner won't finish his term, will the losses be greater with or without him as mayor?

aardvark: I don't think it is too late for Bob Filner to rescue himself. Best, Don Bauder

The damage has been done. Filner cannot now govern effectively. San Diego deserves better.

Filner can reform his behavior. Many have done it. Mayor Filner's ideas can bring this town to life.

He can reform himself on his own time and his own dime.

aardvark: Filner can be very charming while making profound observations. I am hoping that side of his personality can triumph over the dark side. Best, Don Bauder

monaghan: Filner's ideas are the most important variable in this discussion. Best, Don Bauder

Sjtorres: I disagree. Thank goodness, there are a lot of people in San Diego who believe in due process. Best, Don Bauder

The allegations are not of sexual "aggressiveness" (or fanny-slapping, as you put it yesterday in a remarkably ugly and dismissive way).

Here's the LA Times: "SAN DIEGO — Turning up the pressure on Mayor Bob Filner to resign, three former supporters Monday released details of his alleged sexual harassment of women, including the forcible kissing of two constituents and grabbing the buttocks and breast of a staff member."

Oh, stop! I am offended all over again to hear these licentious descriptions of "forcible kissing" and manhandling -- pardon the expression. I don't see why we don't just go directly to imprisonment without any charges being brought at all.

monaghan: That's what Filner's enemies want: an Oxbow Incident. Hang him without a trial. Best, Don Bauder

Randy: The Times intelligently said "alleged" sexual harassment. At this point, these are allegations only, and not legal allegations. Last time I checked, they are from unnamed sources. Best, Don Bauder

Don - let me. rdotinga: There is a game called grab ass. Boys and girls start playing it about in the 7th grade. Some girls don't stop playing it until they are married, some before 10th grade, some never (a small minority). Men never want to stop playing it. They might get married and stop (or not), but unless they are gay, men tend to have a stronger tendency toward playing grab ass in one form or another, no matter how old they get to be. Especially if they are single. You see: women are beautiful. And some women are willng to play grab ass as they get older as well. How do they find each other? Well, you might ask for a kiss. You might say something "offensive." But if you're a young and attractive enough guy, what's offensive might be considered "flirtation. (Face it: we don't know any more because we are old guys who spend our time on computers to make us feel smart and involved.) There is no doubt that the mayor crossed some lines, And if someone had their job threatend for not going along with his sexy ways, I think that should be enough to put his old skanky ass in jail. He didn't know when to stop playing grab ass. I guess nobody told him directly. A long career in congress and no one has ever called him out until the local politicos that used to run this city started gettng uncomfortable because they see there aspirations drying up with all the attention being put on the citizens. That is an odd coinkydink. If the mayor was such a big problem, those women accusing him would have ratted on him a long time ago. It was a permissive environment. Right or wrong. Now that so many women know that he's a sex maniac and received a grope or kiss, why aren't the women coming forward to protect other women? He must not have been that much of a problem. Of course he could be shooed away. He no doubt was. (The big perv) But Filner did not rape anybody. And that is what is almost being implied. As far as terms being thrown around in the media, Filner is obviously more guilty of "fanny slapping" than "sexual assault". I saw that one used on the UT website. The paper of record. Read enough of anything and you end up believing it, That is just how we work. I'm suggesting that everybody calm down and consider other sets of facts. And consider who you're talking to when you talk to Don Bauder. He's not just Don Bauder. He is an old guy who has been around and seen things change. It's called perspective. These whippersnappers.

Most women, if they have lived more than a few years on this planet, have had to deal with mashers, including in the workplace. I find it fortunate that we as a society have recognized that it isn’t right to be sexually imposed upon, and that we have forced our legal system to punish those who do so. I find it unfortunate that women still don’t get that it is their duty to come forward if something happens to them that they are morally bound to report. Morally bound to report because every time they don’t, that not only empowers the transgressor but exposes other women to the same conduct or worse. Supporting these women by enabling them, hiding their names, their accounts withheld from rigorous scrutiny, in fact drags women back to the bad old days of being treated as delicate flowers whose virginal reputations must be protected. If Donna Frye really wanted to help, she would have demanded that they come forward, after all according to her there are legions of women with the same stories, no reason to fear being the only victim pressing charges. This really appalling and disgusting game of toppling by innuendo has to stop. Either file charges and let’s see who wins in court, or stop with the screeching pressers. There’s work that needs to be done in this city, our elected representatives have to put away their torches and pitchforks and go back to their real jobs.

villageram: Well said, and well thought out. Filner didn't know when to stop playing grab ass. In her always-perceptive regular commentary, Norma Damashek talked about the overt celebration of wide-open sex at Over-the-Line, and then contrasted that with the attacks on Filner. Very interesting juxtaposition. I suggest people read Norma's regular commentaries. Best, Don Bauder

"He's not just Don Bauder. He is an old guy who has been around and seen things change......." And I might add that he's also an "old guy" with the energy and insight of a well-informed young turk. Can anyone imagine the effort involved with not only crafting these enduring treatises on issues so vital and relevant to San Diego, but in addition answering each and every comment made here? It's astounding, to me. I can't think of any other columnist/blogger who does so on this scale. His voice and views are an indispensable element in the struggle against the good ol' boy network so prevalent in SD. This hat is doffed to him.

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by Duhbya

Duhbya: Many thanks for the kind words, and let me expatiate on this topic. People should look at Norma Damashek's incisive commentary on our double-personality society. I, for one, celebrate the sexual freedom that is manifest at Over-the-Line, although I have never seen one. These young people, men and women alike, celebrate sexual liberation. Good. Then there is the Gay Pride parade. I am all for it. Fifty and sixty years ago I knew gays who were forced for economic and social reasons to be in the closet. They were forced to live double lives. They were miserable. I rejoice in their new freedom.

But we also have this Puritanism that exists at the same time as sexual liberation. Both men and women are confused, and ought to be. From what I know of Puritan societies, they were horribly oppressive. I don't want to see us return to those days.

What do we do about this societal schism? Best, Don Bauder

Don, could you possibly provide a link to Norma D's article? Or point me to the appropriate blog? I can't locate it. Thanks in advance.

Duhbya: I will work on it. Best, Don Bauder

I guess I missed this hilarious reflection. I liked "we are old guys who spend our time on computers to make us feel smart and involved..." and "...consider who you're talking to when you talk to Don Bauder. He's not just Don Bauder. He's an old guy..." Very sweet. FYI, Dotinga is not an old guy, but he's no whippersnapper either.

monoghan: I have no idea how old Randy Dotinga is. I don't know him. Best, Don Bauder

So far, if the allegations can be proven, nothing worse than what the Guvernator did, and no one has yet come forward to allege Bob was schtupping the nanny, so he's got some catching up to do, lol.

KLoEditor: Excellent observation. Best, Don Bauder

Our advice to Mayor Filner is to go to the two Homeless tents and apologize for his aggressive immature behavior.

The poor and Homeless need a direct apology by the Mayor, and assurances that the $25 million not saved from the 5 year pensionable pay freeze for the General Fund will not have any effect on San Diegans needing hope. Everyone needs to feel safe.

laplayaheritage: He has officially apologized for the aggressive behavior. He could go to homeless refuges and apologize, too. Best, Don Bauder

Clearly you haven't heard that Mayor Filner is "unsafe" to be around, so I don't understand why you would suggest this. Donna Frye said so, and I am her devoted fan, so I believe it. Plus she's got lawyers backing her up on this one, so I feel safe about not questioning anything she is putting out.

monaghan: She has two lawyers backing her up, maybe more. Filner has hired a lawyer, too. Let's see if Filner's aggressive behavior crossed the line into harassment. I can't conclude that yet. Best, Don Bauder

Ignoring friends and failing to set up a kitchen cabinet of such friends is definitely a mistake. Filner has smart people in his corner. He should convene them regularly. He should also respond to correspondence so that people know he's hearing them. I noted the culpable Vince Hall's self-serving exit, trashing his boss as he left the premises. No one has mentioned that Hall was chief of staff for Gov.Gray Davis shortly before he was recalled.

monaghan: Yes, Hall was on Davis's team. And his departing statement upon leaving Filner was thoroughly disgusting and horribly self-serving. Best, Don Bauder

I’d be more open to Filner stalwarts who warn of conspiracy if I didn’t know a victim of his harassment.

Who, by the way, didn’t just mention it just the other day and is not seeking anything from anyone.

Randy: That alleged victim should then come forward. I simply cannot believe that all the alleged victims are afraid to come forward. I suspect a lot of them are afraid to come forward because they fear they wouldn't survive being deposed. Best, Don Bauder

Garden variety harassment cases like Filner's appear to settle for around $30,000. The settlements are fully taxable. Should they win women filing claims against Filner should expect to net about $12,000 after legal fees and taxes. I think most women are going to conclude its not worth the time or effort to file a claim. Women who file harassment cases are pariahs in the labor market and should think twice before filing. I doubt many women are going to want their names in the paper, or have their lifestyles exposed if the case goes to court. I think Filner will survive if only two or three cases are filed against him. I predict that only one harassment case will be filed against him.

He will be fortunate if just a singular harassment charge is brought against him.

aardvark: We will have to see. These things have a way of snowballing. Will the charges be filed against him or against the City? Best, Don Bauder

I fear the answer to your question will end up being yes to both.

aardvark: Possibly. But if he were to resign, the lawsuits -- against him and against the City -- would not be dropped. Best, Don Bauder

Burwell: Yes, but in this case a female filing a claim might get a cushy job with the downtown establishment in addition to any monetary award. Best, Don Bauder

I appreciate Burwell's estimate about what happens when "garden variety" sexual harassment cases are filed, the amount of monetary gain that can be expected, that complainants become workplace pariahs, and the possible wide publicity of a trial. So there are protective laws, but using them exposes the complainant to a lot of daunting negative consequences. Good to know.

As for getting paid off (with a job) for filing such a claim: I know for a fact it has happened before in this town.

monaghan: The downtown corporate welfare lads and lassies take care of those who smear people wanting reform. Best, Don Bauder

8 on your list is what has hurt Filner from the beginning. San Diego isn't DC, and our mayor has not been quick enough to realize that, probably at the cost of his job.

But 5, 6, and 7 are most distressing. Who needs enemies when you've got one-time friends stabbing you in the back?

KayL: Fellow Democrats, including some progressives, are going after Filner, while the Republicans and Tea Partiers howl in laughter, just waiting to run City government again.

This is exactly right. This little self-appointed guardians of our moral universe are the witting puppets of the people in this town who want things to return to the status quo. And you notice each of the people in this cabal have their own motivations. It's pathetic they have lost sight of the bigger picture.

KLoEditor: Some of the people making the most noise want to replace Filner as mayor. If they succeed, just wait until their past sins -- and we all have them -- start being featured in the media. Best, Don Bauder

What I don't need to hear is that San Diego deserves better. What a shocking pack of hypocrites live in this city. I suppose the gay man would have run a sex free office. Or that power is never passed from girlfriend to girlfriend in this city. Bob Filner is accused of very common behavior, behavior that should change, but so common everyone is quick to believe it happened. Let's wait for facts, and whatever those facts suggest, know that this City is composed of flawed people.

Psycholizard: If the City runs Bob Filner out without due process, the consequences will be far worse than letting time take its course. Best, Don Bauder

Is Filner toast? I don't know. But I do know what's said about old dogs, and Filner's age as well as his admitted alledged behavior seems to fit.. "It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks."

Hahahhaha...I can HEEL but not ROLL OVER and PLAY DEAD!

Well, that's good, but I was calling YOU a heel..... double :>)

Duhbya: Were you call me or SurfPup a heel? We've both been called heels, no doubt -- and also loafers! Best, Don Bauder

Well, you both definitely have a lot of sole. Me, I'm more of a sneaker.

SurfPup: Nobody will ever accuse you of playing dead. Best, Don Bauder

Duhbya: Spoken like a heel. Best, Don Bauder

SurfPup: I'll bet you are chomping at the bit to learn some new tricks. Best, Don Bauder

JustWondering: I am the first to admit that asking Filner to change his habits and old patterns is an extremely tall order, rather like teaching an old dog new tricks. But as someone else pointed out, keep Ted Kennedy in mind. He was able to change (or at least not get caught anymore.) Best, Don Bauder

And to complete the cycle, Teddy gave Obama a young dog.

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by Duhbya

Duhbya: .....a young dog who was taught old tricks. Best, Don Bauder

I'm not sure when or if Senator Ted Kennedy ever changed his promiscuous habits, even when married to his wife Victoria, though it seemed they were very close. I mention Ted Kennedy because he's an example of a reprehensibly sexually promiscuous person in public office who nonetheless made great contributions to American life over the arc of his long career in the U.S. Senate. Not long after he was handed a seat in the US Senate by Massachusetts voters, Kennedy was involved in a car accident at Chappaquidick MA in which he was the drunk driver and his female companion -- not his wife -- drowned. It was a huge scandal that prevented his ever running for President, but he seemed to settle in as a legislator and he became an iconic liberal with a great history. In retrospect, it was a blessing he was not removed from office, in spite of a heinous and tragic event in which he had been a main player. Something important was salvaged from his continuing in public life.

monaghan: Yes, Chappaquiddick was a huge scandal, and deservedly so. One of the worst aspects, I thought, was that his lawyer was asked why he didn't call the police while the young lady was drowning. The lawyer said he didn't have his client's (Kennedy's) permission. The lawyer should have been disbarred permanently. He wasn't touched. Kennedy did try to run in a presidential primary against Jimmy Carter, then an incumbent, but Kennedy was beaten. I agree Ted Kennedy was an effectual advocate for people who needed representation. Best, Don Bauder

I personally look at the bigger picture. You want obscenity and horror, try how this city has been overtaken by money interests, special interests, wheelers and dealers on every level of the City Council and government, our own city council trying to sell off Balboa Park to developers, and Lilygate, just to name two issues associated with the boy glorious who would be interim Mayor (think on that one), then look at how our Mayor has in six months cleared off so many of the longstanding issues this City has been mired in (that’s “mired,” Toad Gloria), and then look at the bright prospects of this city in the coming years as problem after problem is resolved, and then look at how all of the citizens of San Diego are benefitting, and will benefit, from Mayor Filner’s leadership. It would be one thing if Bob hadn’t apologized, said he needed help and pledged to work on his issues, but even then I don’t see the pressing need for his resignation. The fact is, based on innuendos and unwritten and unproven allegations, it doesn’t make sense for him to resign. Unless you really do want to live in a city governed by lynch mob mentality.

KLoEditor: Well said. The City has been run far too long by crooks steering public money to themselves and their friends who line their pockets. Bob Filner has been trying to stop that. The crooks are salivating, just waiting to get back in the saddle. Best, Don Bauder

There is no reason in the world for Filner not to remain in office as Mayor. It will just be heavier sledding than before and he will have to determine to govern despite the regular sniping. It's not a prospect for the faint of heart, but Filner is sturdy enough to do it. The office of mayor is his for three-and-a-half more years. Think of all the good he can do.

"Donna Frye didn't have the latitude to pursue her passion. When she left, he failed to reach out to her."

I assume you talked to her Don. In your opinion: which seemed more important to her while she worked for Bob, "pursuing her passion" for the open government we all want, or her passion for protecting women from predatory men, which we also all want?

In other words did she witness any sexual harassment while working that closely with Bob but ignored it in favor of her greater passion for open government or did she only become aware of his sexual problem after she left?

And if Filner had reached out to her after she left, would she still have condemned him for sexual harassment based only on what she learned after she left?

Pat: Those are excellent questions but I can't answer them because I did not talk to Donna before writing this particular entry. I agree with you that Donna has both passions: promoting open government and protecting women from a person she considers a sexual predator. I can't imagine she didn't know of his sexual aggressiveness before she took office. Maybe she didn't think it was as bad as she now perceives it to be. I cannot understand her statement that Filner has received due process. She knows better. Sorry not to address your perspicacious inquiry. Best, Don Bauder

Thanks Don:

You answered all you could. I just thought such questions are better coming from her friends than from her enemies. The weakness of her argument is its timing.

As this thing drags on, which it will, and as people start to do U-turns, which they will, because they have to deal with Bob as Mayor, they will start to justify those U-turns by finding holes in Donna's arguments.

Much of what has happening so far, Mitrovitch for example, is based on an assumption that Bob will be forced to resign. They forget that he has the rule of law on his side.

People will start to realize that the rule of law would be undermined if Donna, or anybody else, no matter how well intentioned, could take it upon themselves to remove an elected representative without due process. That danger will become clearer and clearer with time.

If Donna, Marco and Cory wanted Filner removed they should have done so the constitutional way, by starting a recall movement. Everything else is tyranny.

Pat: I agree completely. If you read the letters to the editor in today's U-T, you will be heartened by the number of San Diegans sticking up for due process. You will also be surprised that the U-T printed letters in a balanced fashion. Best, Don Bauder

Don: The rule of law is bigger than all of us. This may turn out to be a timely reminder.

The rule of law is bigger than all of us**

there is no rule of law really, we live in essentially a banana republic........where the law is for sale to the highest bidder....usually the 10%, or those connected to the 1%

Pat: I sure hope you are right. Best, Don Bauder

Mitrovich -- why are we talking about that vassal of the downtown special interests? If I had a dime for every dollar that guy has been paid by GOP and DINO movers and shakers alike to do their public pontificating, I would be rich as Croesus.

Donna (Sunshine Law) Frye and attorneys Cory Briggs and Marco Gonzalez have disgraced themselves by abrogating rules of fundamental American fairness. They knew what they were doing and they did it twice -- to an embattled Democratic mayor. I think Flannery will recognize that as the catechism description of sin. I have heard former Frye fans say she is "dead " to them.

First person accusations deserve due process also. Should someone come forward and detail a crime at the risk of their careers, I would take that very seriously. Until they do. the obvious fact that Filner has enraged so many powerful and corrupt people makes me proud of my vote. If the UT hadn't demanded his resignation by now he would have disappointed me.

The U-T hasn't demanded his resignation. CityBeat, the leftie alternative weekly, has.

Randy: The lefties have been the most Puritanical, demanding his resignation. The Republicans are laughing their tails off. Best, Don Bauder

Psycholizard: I don't know how seriously people take the U-T. They certainly didn't take it seriously in the last election. Look at all the U-T's Puritanical piety. Suppose........oh, never mind. Best, Don Bauder

Exactly. Wait till we actually catch Manchester with one of his whores.

An endorsement by the UT seriously damages reputations for progressives. Formerly I double checked my ballot to be sure I didn't vote for anyone they endorsed.

Psycholizard: You're not alone in that strategy. Take the paper into the booth and vote for the ones it doesn't recommend. People do that in my sports predictions. If I say one team will win, smart people put money on the other team and clean up. Best, Don Bader

Randy: I don't know, but wouldn't be surprised if the U-T sometimes endorsed Filner for Congress, or for school board, or perhaps in a primary. At least under the Copley and Platinum Equity management, it almost always wanted Republicans to win, but would sometimes endorse Democrats if there was no chance of the Republican triumphing. The U-T absolutely did NOT back Filner for mayor. It backed DeMaio in an embarrassingly bumptious way. Best, Don Bauder

I find it interesting one of his alleged victims father, husband, brother, or boyfriend did not clean his clock long ago.

Murphyjunk: Good point. Best, Don Bauder

Deserved beatings don't get advertised. We should note that Filner is accused of first asking whether women are married or have boyfriends. Crude but lawyerly.

Murphyjunk: If he didn't ask about fathers and brothers ("How big is your brother?"), maybe his self-defense claim falls apart. Best, Don Bauder

Psycholizard: Somehow, I knew this colloquy would get back to the Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin matter. By inquiring if the women were married or had boyfriends, maybe Filner was acting in self-defense. Maybe a jury would agree. Best, Don Bauder

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