Not much is new in this Los Angeles Times piece looking back on City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s perspective during the scandal surrounding Mayor Bob Filner and his resignation.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good story that helps us take a step back at an extraordinary time. But we knew, for instance, that the city attorney was pushing Filner on multiple legal angles. We knew he was finding his own witnesses to Filner’s behavior toward women. We knew he pushed on other legal concerns apart from women to gain leverage.

Scott Lewis on Politics LogoAnd we knew Goldsmith was saying something fascinating that day at Politifest when he said he’d be offering Filner an “out” sometime soon.

What was new about the L.A. Times piece was Goldsmith’s own view of what he had done. In short, the man believes he removed Filner. Here’s how it reads:

In early July, as one woman after another went public with accusations of sexual harassment against Filner, Goldsmith and his staff concluded that Filner was an unrepentant felon and that women at City Hall needed to be protected from him.

But the City Charter contains no provision for removing a mayor except through the difficult, expensive, politically unpredictable process of a recall election.

“We strategized as lawyers: How were we going to remove the mayor?” Goldsmith said in a recent interview. “It was a de facto impeachment.”

I have before praised Goldsmith’s effort to create a settlement with Filner. My view of the history was that many folks, led initially by former City Councilwoman Donna Frye and lawyers Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs, ended up putting so much pressure on Filner that he was faced with three simultaneous crises: 1) Women were coming forward at a regular frequency and creating a media firestorm that led virtually every city elected leader to call for his resignation; 2) a recall campaign was moving forward, raising money and collecting signatures and 3) legal threats from Goldsmith, Gloria Allred and criminal prosecutors were being filed, with more looming.

All that left the mayor isolated. Goldsmith adroitly helped negotiate the legal threats, secured Filner’s resignation and the rest fell into place.


We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

And now, Filner’s admissions of guilt on three counts of criminal harassment of women seem to close the case on whether we had something real to worry about as Filner interacted with women.

But I was struck by the language Goldsmith used in his reflection. Impeachment? As the article notes, we have no provision in San Diego for “impeaching” anyone. Filner resigned. What the heck is a “de facto impeachment,” as Goldsmith put it?

To me, de facto means “Call it what you want and maybe it was not official but it was in actuality an impeachment.”

On Twitter, I asked Goldsmith to clarify. Here’s his definition of de facto impeachment:

“A removal from office with city council and mayor agreement, but without a formal process. How’s that?” he wrote.

Got that? The mayor was removed but without a formal process.

Also, it seems kind of weird for Goldsmith to include “City Council and mayor agreement.”

Isn’t that like saying the mayor did not resign but instead joined Goldsmith and the City Council in removing himself from office?

In other lands, removing yourself from office is also known as “resigning.”

Goldsmith even cops to a significant bluff. He says he persuaded the City Council to agree to not defend Filner against sexual harassment lawsuits even though he knew they had no choice but to defend him.

The whole L.A. Times piece reads as though Goldsmith wants credit for being the clever Filner slayer.

When I tweeted that Goldsmith wanted it to be known that Filner had not resigned but was “removed” and that Goldsmith was the one who did it, Goldsmith was not happy.

“Scott, you need to get some self-control. I did not say that. A reporter asked what we did and I responded,” he wrote.

    This article relates to: Bob Filner, Jan Goldsmith, News, Politics, Scott Lewis on Politics, Share

    Written by Scott Lewis

    Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently breaks news and goes back and forth with local political figures. Contact Scott at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527, and follow him on Twitter at @vosdscott.

    22 comments
    OPENMINDJON
    OPENMINDJON

    The only equal with Goldsmith's distortions is the toupee LYING on his head! Hahahahaha!

    John Falchi
    John Falchi


    Dear Folks-
    This recent story in the L.A. Times seems to give City Attorney Jan Goldsmith a great deal of credit for "...a de facto impeachment of Mayor Filner." Most students of what actually happened would describe that as a bit of an overstatement. His gaming the City Council to agree not to fund Filner's legal costs may have been a part of the endgame scenario, but by itself it was not sufficient to bring him down.

    I contend that there was much more to Bob's exit than what this story revealed. Most acute observers would agree that Filner did have serious conflicts with others who had a great deal to gain from his removal. Furthermore, there is no question that these forces acknowledged, promoted and sensationalized the work of The Three, Donna Frye, Marco Gonzalez, and Cory Briggs, who held the initial press conference on Filner's sexual picadillos. This, certainly, added to the pressure for Bob to resign.

    For contrasting analyses of the other forces at work that helped force Filner’s resignation, see the well-researched, series "The Birds, the Bees, and the Wolf Pack," by Norma Damashek, former head of the San Diego League of Women Voters, San Diego Free Press, 9/03/13, 9/10/13, and 9/20/13, as well as the meaningful analysis by Bill Adams, Urban Planner, in UrbDeZine San Diego, 8/31/13, entitled "Who Really Deposed San Diego's Mayor and Nullified The 2012 Election?"


    In any case, Goldsmith got a lot of help from:


    1) a very compliant San Diego media: TV stations, right-wing talk shows, and, the infamous UT with its headlines and cartoons about the Mayor’s plight;

    2) other people who worked in Government, alongside the Mayor, like Council President Todd Gloria, et al., who hamstrung Filner's efforts from the get go;

    3) insiders like Communications Director McCormack, who admits to taking notes following her many meetings with Bob; Deputy Chief of Staff Jones, who handled Sunrise Enterprises, but whose developer background didn’t align at all with Bob's progressive agenda;
    4) people who put together a Mayoral Recall Effort, starting soon after his election;

    5) prominent people, like Attorney Gloria Allred, who helped sensationalize the charges against the Mayor;

    6) Powerful figures who opposed the Mayor's progressive agenda, e.g., a) Douglas Manchester, who lost to the Mayor on the 40 years of Tourist fees; & b) Irwin Jacobs whose $40 Million Balboa Park Renovation Proposal Filner ridiculed, et al;

    It seemed that much more of a combination of these forces, in aggregate, were responsible for riling up the public, and contributing to the pressure for Filner to resign as Mayor. In sum, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith's legal steps to oust Mayor Filner may have played a role in helping to cause him to resign, but he had a lot of help!

    Yours,
    John Falchi

    John Falchi
    John Falchi subscriber


    Dear Folks-
    This recent story in the L.A. Times seems to give City Attorney Jan Goldsmith a great deal of credit for "...a de facto impeachment of Mayor Filner." Most students of what actually happened would describe that as a bit of an overstatement. His gaming the City Council to agree not to fund Filner's legal costs may have been a part of the endgame scenario, but by itself it was not sufficient to bring him down.

    I contend that there was much more to Bob's exit than what this story revealed. Most acute observers would agree that Filner did have serious conflicts with others who had a great deal to gain from his removal. Furthermore, there is no question that these forces acknowledged, promoted and sensationalized the work of The Three, Donna Frye, Marco Gonzalez, and Cory Briggs, who held the initial press conference on Filner's sexual picadillos. This, certainly, added to the pressure for Bob to resign.

    For contrasting analyses of the other forces at work that helped force Filner’s resignation, see the well-researched, series "The Birds, the Bees, and the Wolf Pack," by Norma Damashek, former head of the San Diego League of Women Voters, San Diego Free Press, 9/03/13, 9/10/13, and 9/20/13, as well as the meaningful analysis by Bill Adams, Urban Planner, in UrbDeZine San Diego, 8/31/13, entitled "Who Really Deposed San Diego's Mayor and Nullified The 2012 Election?"


    In any case, Goldsmith got a lot of help from:


    1) a very compliant San Diego media: TV stations, right-wing talk shows, and, the infamous UT with its headlines and cartoons about the Mayor’s plight;

    2) other people who worked in Government, alongside the Mayor, like Council President Todd Gloria, et al., who hamstrung Filner's efforts from the get go;

    3) insiders like Communications Director McCormack, who admits to taking notes following her many meetings with Bob; Deputy Chief of Staff Jones, who handled Sunrise Enterprises, but whose developer background didn’t align at all with Bob's progressive agenda;
    4) people who put together a Mayoral Recall Effort, starting soon after his election;

    5) prominent people, like Attorney Gloria Allred, who helped sensationalize the charges against the Mayor;

    6) Powerful figures who opposed the Mayor's progressive agenda, e.g., a) Douglas Manchester, who lost to the Mayor on the 40 years of Tourist fees; & b) Irwin Jacobs whose $40 Million Balboa Park Renovation Proposal Filner ridiculed, et al;

    It seemed that much more of a combination of these forces, in aggregate, were responsible for riling up the public, and contributing to the pressure for Filner to resign as Mayor. In sum, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith's legal steps to oust Mayor Filner may have played a role in helping to cause him to resign, but he had a lot of help!

    Yours,
    John Falchi

    Jennifer Spencer
    Jennifer Spencer

    I'd have to agree that the democratic process was subverted....and not just by Goldsmith. There are several power brokers in San Diego that were dissatisfied with Filner's rather aggressive political behavior, dismissing their input and proposals.
    Goldsmith has just stepped forward to put voice to their dissent.
    Maybe Goldsmith won't be judge for long. When elections come around again, this incident will have his name all over it, now that he's come out as the "Filner Slayer".

    Jennifer Spencer
    Jennifer Spencer subscriber

    I'd have to agree that the democratic process was subverted....and not just by Goldsmith. There are several power brokers in San Diego that were dissatisfied with Filner's rather aggressive political behavior, dismissing their input and proposals.
    Goldsmith has just stepped forward to put voice to their dissent.
    Maybe Goldsmith won't be judge for long. When elections come around again, this incident will have his name all over it, now that he's come out as the "Filner Slayer".

    David Cohen
    David Cohen subscriber

    Dishonest manipulation? Surely you jest, for Goldsmith is (allegedly) an honorable man. How did he ever get to be a judge?

    wadams92101
    wadams92101

    I'm still wondering if Goldsmith didn't act illegally or dishonestly. For example, in recommending the settlement with Filner to the Council, he advised them that the City was strictly liable for Filner's conduct as Mayor. However, a few weeks earlier when the Council voted to NOT defend Filner in the litigation (and in essence, NOT defend itself according to Goldsmith's subsequent reasoning), I did not see any of the same advice to Council. Was he dishonestly manipulating Council to achieve his own objectives? He seems to subscribe to the end justifies the means philosophy, not an appropriate philosophy for an officer of the Court. In the end analysis, Filner's accusers' remedy was through the court. The question of whether Filner should have resigned or not was a political decision which belonged to the public via a democratic process - a process subverted by Goldsmith.

    David Cohen
    David Cohen

    Dishonest manipulation? Surely you jest, for Goldsmith is (allegedly) an honorable man. How did he ever get to be a judge?

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw



    I read the story in the L.A. Times this morning and wondered why this story was written. Did the Times badger Goldsmith about details of Filner's departure, did Goldsmith initiate the story? Whichever, it was a totally unnecessary story that was best left untold. Filner's gone; there's nothing more to be learned from his tenure. Let's move on.

    Bill Smith
    Bill Smith

    Bill,
    As Mongo would say they were just tools in game of life.

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw

    You guys are living in a fantasy world! Filner did himself in, ably abetted by a large cast of former supporters, 100% of whom were Democrats. Sure, the old boys downtown wanted him out, but wishing doesn't constitute a crime. Are you suggesting the numerous women who came forward, several of whom are very prominent professionals, made this stuff up?

    David Cohen
    David Cohen

    There is much to be learned from the forces that colluded to oust him, and we will eventually learn all of it.

    Bill Smith
    Bill Smith

    Bill,
    This is the real story and it has just begun! How the power structure in San Diego removed the elected mayor is going to be legend in Political Science books for decades to come. It was all about politics and grabbing women had little or nothing to do with it. I wish we had an LA Times in San Diego, with their high standards of journalism. Let the heads begin to roll.

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw subscribermember



    I read the story in the L.A. Times this morning and wondered why this story was written. Did the Times badger Goldsmith about details of Filner's departure, did Goldsmith initiate the story? Whichever, it was a totally unnecessary story that was best left untold. Filner's gone; there's nothing more to be learned from his tenure. Let's move on.

    David Cohen
    David Cohen subscriber

    There is much to be learned from the forces that colluded to oust him, and we will eventually learn all of it.

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

    You guys are living in a fantasy world! Filner did himself in, ably abetted by a large cast of former supporters, 100% of whom were Democrats. Sure, the old boys downtown wanted him out, but wishing doesn't constitute a crime. Are you suggesting the numerous women who came forward, several of whom are very prominent professionals, made this stuff up?

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

    " Filner was not a rich man, he's always supported the poor and downtrodden...." He certainly did so rhetorically but I guess I missed the many accounts of Filner's personal charitable giving; I thought it might have been his several ex-wives who were the "culprits".

    David Cohen
    David Cohen

    Goldsmith must be so proud of himself for saving the City.

    David Cohen
    David Cohen subscriber

    Goldsmith must be so proud of himself for saving the City.

    Bill Smith
    Bill Smith

    Scott,
    Give me a break, this whole thing was to prevent the democratic process from handling the matter; yes and Voice of San Diego is as complicit as Mr. Goldsmith. Everyone knew Filner was not a rich man, he's always supported the poor and downtrodden - there's not a lot of money to be made with these constituents. Poverty of a defendant is the tool the criminal justice system uses to manipulate the process, and Mr. Goldsmith did it well by telling hid client half-truths and outright lies - he should be impeached. My favorite part is the end when Filner is charged with False Imprisonment for hugging a woman, the felony they needed to make him go away. In return he received no adverse judgment, the charge was treated like a minor traffic infraction. Voice of San Diego keeps repeating that his pension has been reduced, but this is a complete falsehood. Next time your publication should get out of the way and let the democratic process prevail - whatever the results.

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw

    " Filner was not a rich man, he's always supported the poor and downtrodden...." He certainly did so rhetorically but I guess I missed the many accounts of Filner's personal charitable giving; I thought it might have been his several ex-wives who were the "culprits".

    OPENMINDJON
    OPENMINDJON

    The only thing Goldsmith (the CITY ATTORNEY!) can take credit for is lying to Mr. Filner and the public like that toupee lies on his head! Hhahahahahaa!