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    U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, the federal government’s top law enforcement official in San Diego, was not very happy with U.S. Rep. Bob Filner Sunday.

    Filner appeared with his rival for the mayor’s office Carl DeMaio at Temple Emanu-El Sunday in a forum designed to let a number of candidates speak and take questions from the audience. Duffy, as a member of the temple, helped organize the event.

    She was not working in her capacity as head of the Justice Department’s presence in San Diego.

    The candidates had been told not to treat it as a debate. Filner, Duffy told me, “had issues.”

    “I know the event that was intended and it went far afield from what he was invited to do and I was sorry to see that happen,” she told me.


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    Wherever Filner took it, DeMaio helped him get there. DeMaio challenged Filner to say he would not take a city pension if elected mayor. DeMaio said it would be a $120,000 pension and cited a Voice of San Diego report, which actually shows the majority of that pension would not come from the city.

    DeMaio didn’t mention that part.

    It set Filner off.

    “I wanted this to be a civil debate, but he’s a liar. He knows he’s a liar,” Filner said from the podium at the temple. DeMaio’s team posted a video of the exchange here.

    Duffy sent an email apologizing to DeMaio’s campaign, which the campaign then passed on to reporters. It was underneath an email with story ideas and links to that YouTube video and others.

    Campaign Manager Ryan Clumpner claims forwarding the email to reporters was inadvertent. It showed Duffy was not pleased with Filner in the apology she sent DeMaio’s team.

    “Our apologies that Filner had to be admonished about his uncivil ‘debate-style’ remarks,” Duffy wrote in the email to a DeMaio aide, Tommy Knepper. “If it is any consultation (sic), I heard more than one temple member express their view that he embarrassed himself and that they thought Carl appeared far more mature and capable of addressing the challenges San Diego faces.”

    If Filner was guilty of making “’debate-style’ remarks,” it’s hard to see how DeMaio didn’t also bend the rules (though he kept a cooler head). DeMaio originally lobbed the question that set Filner off during a mayoral debate.

    I contacted Duffy to verify it and asked whether she wanted to elaborate.

    “That email was a personal email I sent. It was an honest observation and not an endorsement of any kind,” she told me.

    “We had every single solitary candidate from every single race that was relevant to that community come to Temple Emanu-El. They went in pairs. Everything proceeded very professionally except for that particular pairing,” Duffy said.

    The Filner campaign declined to comment.

    I’m Scott Lewis, the CEO of voiceofsandiego.org. Please contact me if you’d like at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it’s a blast!):

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      This article relates to: Elections, Government, Mayor 2012, News

      Written by Scott Lewis

      I'm Scott Lewis, the editor in chief of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it's a blast!): @vosdscott.

      18 comments
      Lee Hazer
      Lee Hazer subscriber

      Duffy made a cash contribution to DeMaio's campaign. Case closed.

      Leecal
      Leecal

      Duffy made a cash contribution to DeMaio's campaign. Case closed.

      joe vargo
      joe vargo subscriber

      Eric, I respect your position. I think your saying right is right and left is wrong. I'm a little more moderate. With this little melee, Duffy showed her true self. I'm sorry, but does she only have conviction for liberals.

      joev
      joev

      Eric, I respect your position. I think your saying right is right and left is wrong. I'm a little more moderate. With this little melee, Duffy showed her true self. I'm sorry, but does she only have conviction for liberals.

      Eric Robinson
      Eric Robinson subscriber

      Amazing...still. We (all) smell anti-Semitism when we sniff it. Perhaps San Diegans are (still) upset that Susan Golding somehow slid through our otherwise "fine" city's mayoral office? Duffy (not Dumanis) has a hand in offering many cards to add to the mix, and I'm...sorry. As a long-time resident of this city, I remember the scar of what is occurring now (via Filner), and it makes me sick. Renewed hate comes back in disguised ways. As usual. Of course DeMaio will "win." Of course we don't want an(other) you-know-what in office. Of...course.

      Eric
      Eric

      Amazing...still. We (all) smell anti-Semitism when we sniff it. Perhaps San Diegans are (still) upset that Susan Golding somehow slid through our otherwise "fine" city's mayoral office? Duffy (not Dumanis) has a hand in offering many cards to add to the mix, and I'm...sorry. As a long-time resident of this city, I remember the scar of what is occurring now (via Filner), and it makes me sick. Renewed hate comes back in disguised ways. As usual. Of course DeMaio will "win." Of course we don't want an(other) you-know-what in office. Of...course.

      joe vargo
      joe vargo subscriber

      Jim, are you following me?

      joev
      joev

      Jim, are you following me?

      Jim Jones
      Jim Jones subscriber

      Joe, if by passion you mean he's a blowhard with no respect who flies off the handle and doesn't know when to shut up, you are 100% correct.

      Jim Jones
      Jim Jones

      Joe, if by passion you mean he's a blowhard with no respect who flies off the handle and doesn't know when to shut up, you are 100% correct.

      joe vargo
      joe vargo subscriber

      Filner has passion, I respect that. Habitual liars are closer to insanity. Duffy's a political hack.

      joev
      joev

      Filner has passion, I respect that. Habitual liars are closer to insanity. Duffy's a political hack.

      Chris Brewster
      Chris Brewster subscribermember

      I cannot comment on what happned in this instance as I do not know. I have served as a public official in San Diego and what I believe is that if you do not want to distract from the mission of your agency or to tie it to particular political beliefs, you avoid getting involved in political issues as an individual. Ms. Duffy may be completely right, completely wrong, or somewhere in the middle; but by allowing her personal opinions of a candidate or candidates to become public, as a public official, she has erred. I have the impression she is a highly professional individual. I hope this is a learning experience for her. I doubt that the agency she serves wants to become involved in the mayoral campaign.

      B Chris Brewster
      B Chris Brewster

      I cannot comment on what happned in this instance as I do not know. I have served as a public official in San Diego and what I believe is that if you do not want to distract from the mission of your agency or to tie it to particular political beliefs, you avoid getting involved in political issues as an individual. Ms. Duffy may be completely right, completely wrong, or somewhere in the middle; but by allowing her personal opinions of a candidate or candidates to become public, as a public official, she has erred. I have the impression she is a highly professional individual. I hope this is a learning experience for her. I doubt that the agency she serves wants to become involved in the mayoral campaign.

      Mark Giffin
      Mark Giffin subscribermember

      Filners a hothead and DeMaio pulled his chain ...(again)

      mgland
      mgland

      Filners a hothead and DeMaio pulled his chain ...(again)