During the mayoral campaign, Bob Filner earned a reputation as a rambler. He didn’t always make a whole lot of sense. His sharpest moments often came in acts of comedy.

Tuesday night, though, the historian in Filner captured an important movement in San Diego’s civic life clearer and simpler than anyone I’ve heard before.

This city has changed demographically. It has changed business-wise. It has changed with the kind of people and the way they look at the world. They want a liveable, bikeable, walkable city. But the political structure has not kept up.

Now, it’s difficult to argue that Filner has also kept up with all of those changes. Considering those demographics were glaringly on his side, his margin of victory was remarkably thin.

There are a lot of things the Filner era could be remembered for in San Diego history by the time it’s done. Petty squabbling. Scandal. War with Orange County.

But here’s to hoping that it’s remembered for Filner grabbing on tight to that notion he found on election night — “They want a liveable, bikeable, walkable city. But the political structure has not kept up.” — and making it his legacy.

I’m Andrew Donohue, contributing editor and a John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University working on innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership in journalism. I served as VOSD’s editor from 2005 to 2012. You can reach me at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org.

    This article relates to: Election, Government, Mayor 2012

    Written by Andrew Donohue

    33 comments
    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    Filner has no "good" to do. He's bought with $2 million in union money and the union and welfare vote. He will do everything he can to take more from the ever shrinking number of productive citizens for his special interest.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    Filner has no "good" to do. He's bought with $2 million in union money and the union and welfare vote. He will do everything he can to take more from the ever shrinking number of productive citizens for his special interest.

    Frances O'Neill Zimmerman
    Frances O'Neill Zimmerman

    Also, I wouldn't mischaracterize as "hopeful" our VOSD Stanford Fellow's pejorative and dark take on four years of Mayor Bob Filner -- "Petty squabbling. Scandal. War with Orange County." I mean, that's pretty heavy prognosticating, even from Palo Alto.

    Patty Mooney
    Patty Mooney subscriber

    Seems to be a few "glass-half-empty" guys in here indulging in sour grapes. Guess you know now how we liberals have felt over the last 25 years of Republicans taking the Mayoral office. Like Mick Jagger sang, "You can't always get what you want, but but if you try sometime, you get what you need." So calm down. Like Fyrdoc says, "I plan to move forward and be part of a solution, you can join in or sit back and gripe...your call." He is so right! Maybe some of you can share how you have practiced your civic duties as a San Diegan? Complaining doesn't hold much water unless you back it up with real action. And you have the opportunity to do that now, with Bob Filner as our Mayor.

    Tiger Cherry
    Tiger Cherry

    Seems to be a few "glass-half-empty" guys in here indulging in sour grapes. Guess you know now how we liberals have felt over the last 25 years of Republicans taking the Mayoral office. Like Mick Jagger sang, "You can't always get what you want, but but if you try sometime, you get what you need." So calm down. Like Fyrdoc says, "I plan to move forward and be part of a solution, you can join in or sit back and gripe...your call." He is so right! Maybe some of you can share how you have practiced your civic duties as a San Diegan? Complaining doesn't hold much water unless you back it up with real action. And you have the opportunity to do that now, with Bob Filner as our Mayor.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    The new convention center and the new stadium will soon convince people that, despite the death of redevelopment, it will be alive and well under Filner,as long as it has a PLA attached. Wait and see, it will be Golding all over over again.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    The new convention center and the new stadium will soon convince people that, despite the death of redevelopment, it will be alive and well under Filner,as long as it has a PLA attached. Wait and see, it will be Golding all over over again.

    Andy Kopp
    Andy Kopp subscribermember

    tarfu7, surely the mayor of the City of San Diego has an outsized influence over the SANDAG board. With all due respect to cities like Lemon Grove or El Cajon, who are all critical partners in developing regional transportation, it's going to be San Diego's mayor that has the most pull in lobbying for the federal funds that makes up a good chunk of the RTP funding. So here's hoping he uses that influence.

    Andy Kopp
    Andy Kopp

    tarfu7, surely the mayor of the City of San Diego has an outsized influence over the SANDAG board. With all due respect to cities like Lemon Grove or El Cajon, who are all critical partners in developing regional transportation, it's going to be San Diego's mayor that has the most pull in lobbying for the federal funds that makes up a good chunk of the RTP funding. So here's hoping he uses that influence.

    tarfu7
    tarfu7 subscribermember

    The RTP is updated every four years, and SANDAG just began its new planning cycle for the next RTP (to be released in 2015). Hopefully Filner will put appropriate pressure on SANDAG to accelerate transit projects like these. But ultimately he's not really the decider.

    tarfu7
    tarfu7

    The RTP is updated every four years, and SANDAG just began its new planning cycle for the next RTP (to be released in 2015). Hopefully Filner will put appropriate pressure on SANDAG to accelerate transit projects like these. But ultimately he's not really the decider.

    Jeff Clyons
    Jeff Clyons subscriber

    You keep dreaming of your right wing world coming to fruition and I'll keep working to serve you and your family, keeping them safe and working to move this city forward....have a nice life....

    Fyrdoc
    Fyrdoc

    You keep dreaming of your right wing world coming to fruition and I'll keep working to serve you and your family, keeping them safe and working to move this city forward....have a nice life....

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    The logical way to improve the non vehicle infrastructure is to tie the requirements to future development. I'm not sure it's worth it to do so from an ROI standpoint, but regardless you are correct that Filner is the worst type of person to try to reach that sort of compromise. He is a steamroller, not a team builder, and not someone who can work with peers because in his own mind he has none.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    The logical way to improve the non vehicle infrastructure is to tie the requirements to future development. I'm not sure it's worth it to do so from an ROI standpoint, but regardless you are correct that Filner is the worst type of person to try to reach that sort of compromise. He is a steamroller, not a team builder, and not someone who can work with peers because in his own mind he has none.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    The election is over, until the next one, but the conflict is not. We still have pension reform to enact, competitive bidding for a few more of the city services, and schools we need to lift up out of near last place. Greedy public unions may have delayed the fix with Filner, but eventually things will be set right, and people who actually care about the well being of the city will prevail.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    The election is over, until the next one, but the conflict is not. We still have pension reform to enact, competitive bidding for a few more of the city services, and schools we need to lift up out of near last place. Greedy public unions may have delayed the fix with Filner, but eventually things will be set right, and people who actually care about the well being of the city will prevail.

    Andy Kopp
    Andy Kopp subscribermember

    In my view, all of this means exactly the opposite of what Mr. Filner has campaigned against - more Downtown (and Uptown) development, both business and residential. I hope he'll see the necessity.

    Andy Kopp
    Andy Kopp

    In my view, all of this means exactly the opposite of what Mr. Filner has campaigned against - more Downtown (and Uptown) development, both business and residential. I hope he'll see the necessity.

    David Cohen
    David Cohen subscriber

    I, too, want a liveable, bikeable, walkable city (of neighborhoods!) even though I haven't been on a bike in 15+ years. Filner was my choice, but with the political sociopath on the ballot, "not him" would have been my choice in any event. Let's get on with the business of making this city a better place to live and work.

    fryefan
    fryefan

    I, too, want a liveable, bikeable, walkable city (of neighborhoods!) even though I haven't been on a bike in 15+ years. Filner was my choice, but with the political sociopath on the ballot, "not him" would have been my choice in any event. Let's get on with the business of making this city a better place to live and work.

    Jeff Clyons
    Jeff Clyons subscriber

    Either way, it is over now and we can move forward together with or without you...

    Fyrdoc
    Fyrdoc

    Either way, it is over now and we can move forward together with or without you...

    Jeff Clyons
    Jeff Clyons subscriber

    well you reap what you sow. You and Jim have railed against the public employees so turnabout is fair play. What gives me pleasure is the fact that it was clear that this election could not be bought. I plan to move forward and be part of a solution, you can join in or sit back and gripe...your call

    Fyrdoc
    Fyrdoc

    well you reap what you sow. You and Jim have railed against the public employees so turnabout is fair play. What gives me pleasure is the fact that it was clear that this election could not be bought. I plan to move forward and be part of a solution, you can join in or sit back and gripe...your call

    Mark Giffin
    Mark Giffin subscribermember

    BTW, wonder how long it will take Filner to start talking pension obligation bonds again?

    mgland
    mgland

    BTW, wonder how long it will take Filner to start talking pension obligation bonds again?

    Louis Cornelio
    Louis Cornelio subscriber

    Everyone I know who I have discussed the election with says their vote was AGAINST DeMaio, not 'for' Filner. It was a rejection of that tea-party inspired, right-wing agenda as exemplified by our so-called city newspaper. The stink of plutocrat that his big backers left on DeMaio was too much to stomach, so that even a crummy candidate like Filner was preferable.

    schoolboy
    schoolboy

    Everyone I know who I have discussed the election with says their vote was AGAINST DeMaio, not 'for' Filner. It was a rejection of that tea-party inspired, right-wing agenda as exemplified by our so-called city newspaper. The stink of plutocrat that his big backers left on DeMaio was too much to stomach, so that even a crummy candidate like Filner was preferable.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    Filner is not the answer to San Diego's issues. The city workers won't step up, they have the guy who will cover for them, the council won't fix anything more this year than they did the previous years. Only DeMaio changed the game, Filner is just an empty suit. Welcome to four years of stagnation and window dressing, as the slow decline speeds up a little.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    Filner is not the answer to San Diego's issues. The city workers won't step up, they have the guy who will cover for them, the council won't fix anything more this year than they did the previous years. Only DeMaio changed the game, Filner is just an empty suit. Welcome to four years of stagnation and window dressing, as the slow decline speeds up a little.

    mgland
    mgland

    Hope it works out


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