WASHINGTON, D.C. | Rep. Bob Filner has gotten himself into some interesting situations during his time in Congress — arguing with fellow congressmen, disputing presidents, raising hell and getting thrown in the slammer.
But recently in Washington, Filner was on the phone with his constituents in a conference call with whoever wanted to call his office from San Diego and Imperial counties. Filner was as smooth as still water. With caller after caller, there were no disagreements, just total love fest, warm and soothing.
“Did I pronounce your name right?” he politely asks one woman. To another man, Filner checks in about that day’s nice temperate climate in usually hot El Centro and notes “sol” is Spanish for sun.
Another man has mortgage problems, fearing his house may soon be lost to foreclosure.
“Please call my office tomorrow, I would like to help you work with your bank,” Filner says. To another caller worried about his safety net of health coverage, Filner bluntly asserts, “Insurance companies get away with murder.”
His even-keeled talks with constituents, and his history of quarreling with the establishment, underscore the two Filners in Congress. There is the Filner who is a cantankerous curmudgeon with his colleagues, news media and even presidents, the one who is assertive and downright blunt. Then there is the Filner who listens to and works hard for his constituents.