We’ll forgive you if you missed mayoral candidate Bob Filner’s performance during the City Council hearing on the future of Balboa Park Monday. The meeting lasted seven-and-a-half hours and Filner was just one of the 140 speakers who gave their point of view before the council voted in favor of philanthropist Irwin Jacobs’ plan to remake the park’s Plaza de Panama.

Filner opposed the project and headlined a rally against it before the council hearing.

His six-minute speech during the hearing was an absent-minded-professor moment mixed with hubris and humor.


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We have the recording of Filner’s speech below, but here are some highlights:

• Filner referred to current Mayor Jerry Sanders, a project supporter, as “my predecessor as mayor.”

• He questioned the project’s financing by wondering what happen if the tech company Jacobs’ founded, Qualcomm, lost its value. Or what would happen if “Irwin dies.” After a beat Filner added, “Heaven forbid.”

• Filner coached the crowd to taunt his mayoral opponent, City Councilman Carl DeMaio. As DeMaio watched from the dais, Filner warned that the city’s bill for the project might grow. Filner said he’d call that situation “The Carl DeMaio tax.” Then he turned to the audience to do a call-and-response. “What are we going to call it?” Filner asked. “The Carl DeMaio tax,” the crowd responded. (DeMaio, who is famously anti-tax and was hot and cold about the Jacobs project during the campaign, voted in favor.)

• Filner attempted and failed numerous times to say the word “unmitigable,” a reference to the profound effects the project might have on the park. That resulted in this, according to our Kelly Bennett, who was in the room.

• Filner closed his speech by wondering what Balboa Park maven Kate Sessions would think of Jacobs’ proposal. (Sessions died in 1940.) Filner then said, “Holy mackerel, she’s here!” Up walked a Sessions look-alike dressed in period garb. The look-alike first clarified that she was not, in fact, Sessions. She added she was opposed to the plan.

Watch the full video of Filner’s speech:

Disclosure: Irwin Jacobs is a major supporter of Voice of San Diego.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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    This article relates to: Balboa Park, Election, Government, Mayor 2012, News, Parks

    Written by Liam Dillon

    Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

    18 comments
    Joe Jones
    Joe Jones subscriber

    Finally, subjective artistic judgment is in the eye of the beholder, and not the domain of the legal system. Enjoy, or at least tolerate, your new bypass.

    jad555
    jad555

    Finally, subjective artistic judgment is in the eye of the beholder, and not the domain of the legal system. Enjoy, or at least tolerate, your new bypass.

    Dagny Salas
    Dagny Salas memberadministrator

    --Dagny Salas, web editor

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    Lets hope he never designs structures.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    Lets hope he never designs structures.

    Kristen Aliotti
    Kristen Aliotti

    Hello: Just wanted to let you know you forgot to post your disclaimer (that Irwin Jacobs is a big donor to VOSD) at the way, way, way bottom of the piece. This time you forgot to post it at all. Biased attacks are boring, no matter which side they are on. I'm only glancing at this drivel to keep up with the Park issue and I can tell you, it's painful reading the VOSD. Please give us a break and do some real reporting and analysis.

    Kristen Aliotti
    Kristen Aliotti subscriber

    Hello: Just wanted to let you know you forgot to post your disclaimer (that Irwin Jacobs is a big donor to VOSD) at the way, way, way bottom of the piece. This time you forgot to post it at all. Biased attacks are boring, no matter which side they are on. I'm only glancing at this drivel to keep up with the Park issue and I can tell you, it's painful reading the VOSD. Please give us a break and do some real reporting and analysis.

    Michael Russell
    Michael Russell subscriber

    Seems like what was said is that Filner gets the thing right, plans, and then idiot republicans come and destroy it. If we could just get rid of the republicans, we could accomplish something, at the local, state, or federal levels.

    philosopher3000
    philosopher3000

    Seems like what was said is that Filner gets the thing right, plans, and then idiot republicans come and destroy it. If we could just get rid of the republicans, we could accomplish something, at the local, state, or federal levels.

    Richard Ross
    Richard Ross subscribermember

    Regarding the mayorial race and Balboa Park ironically Filner is the fiscally responsible one in opposing Jacobs' project. DeMaio who claims to be a Republican acted fiscally irresponsibly in supporting the parking garage which the IBA report clearly points out will have a revenue shortfall between a half million to close to one million. Guess what...the shortfall will come out of the cash strapped General Fund.

    Activist
    Activist

    Regarding the mayorial race and Balboa Park ironically Filner is the fiscally responsible one in opposing Jacobs' project. DeMaio who claims to be a Republican acted fiscally irresponsibly in supporting the parking garage which the IBA report clearly points out will have a revenue shortfall between a half million to close to one million. Guess what...the shortfall will come out of the cash strapped General Fund.

    Judith Swink
    Judith Swink subscriber

    The Jacobs bypass bridge does not respect either the historic structures or other elements (Alcazar Garden, Palm Canyon, Organ Pavilion) associated with the exposition, subordinating them to the almighty private automobile.

    LibraryLover
    LibraryLover

    The Jacobs bypass bridge does not respect either the historic structures or other elements (Alcazar Garden, Palm Canyon, Organ Pavilion) associated with the exposition, subordinating them to the almighty private automobile.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    So what you are saying basically is that Filner is a failure?

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    So what you are saying basically is that Filner is a failure?