Morning Report: Filner's Deal
It may be the last day of Mayor Bob Filner’s short term in office. But Thursday proved we still can be surprised.
Several media outlets yesterday reported anonymous sources confirming Mayor Filner will resign as part of a deal awaiting City Council approval today. The Council will meet in closed session at 1 p.m. to listen to public comment and vote on a deal, the details of which aren’t publicly known.
Our Lisa Halverstadt described what we do know about how the vote will go down. “Before council members go behind closed doors to discuss the proposal the group reached, they’ll hear from residents in City Council chambers,” Halverstadt reported. “Then they’ll step into a smaller room to discuss Filner’s fate.” Awkwardly, if Filner shows up to the closed-session meeting, he’ll be the one leading it.
Among others, Council President Todd Gloria and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, as leaders of their respective offices, have attended the mediation meetings which have led up to this point. But one of those “others” is Councilman Kevin Faulconer, and without a clear leadership position, Halverstadt wondered why he’s been so heavily involved. “Why did Faulconer, and not the current City Council president pro-tem, Sherri Lightner, get the mediator’s ear? It’s likely his Republican clout,” she wrote.
Didn’t See Her Coming
As the clock approached 1 p.m. yesterday, all eyes turned to Los Angeles, where Filner’s former fiancee Bronwyn Ingram had scheduled a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred. Imaginations flared when thinking of what bombshell Ingram might drop in the 11th hour. Turned out, it wasn’t Ingram at all, but Allred who wanted to “blow up” the deal struck with Filner, our Liam Dillon wrote.
“At a press conference, Allred said any agreement that would result in Filner receiving taxpayer dollars or protection would be “callous and unholy,'” Dillon wrote. Allred also claimed the deal with Filner “had nothing to do with the sexual harassment lawsuit she filed on behalf of the mayor’s former spokeswoman Irene McCormack,” reported Dillon.
“Her remarks [helped] us understand what it is that the City Council is considering settling,” our Scott Lewis wrote. “It’s not [Allred’s] suit against the city.” Instead, Lewis imagines the deal resolving the cross complaint filed by the City filed against Filner when the accusations came to light. That, and maybe something else. “It likely is some sort of agreement to help Filner pay for his lawyer as he faces Allred’s wrath,” Lewis wrote.
What’s In It For The Next Guy
Assuming Filner does resign, the job of leading the city will temporarily fall to Council President Gloria, unless the council appoints somebody else. But the Morning Report’s Randy Dotinga noted the so-called interim mayor’s power is drastically limited. He’s got a long list of do’s and dont’s, but it boils down to Gloria continuing in his councilmember duties and managing the mayor’s staff. No vetoes for him, and no “discretionary privileges” enjoyed by an elected mayor, Dotinga wrote.
Recall Presses Forward
Meanwhile, while all attention is on the possibility of a resignation, the signature-gathering effort for the campaign to recall Filner continues on. Lisa Halverstadt discovered that some businesses are friendlier to the volunteers doing the gathering than others. By law, big shopping centers are de facto public spaces and must allow the activity. “Stand-alone stores, however, can turn signature-gatherers away,” Halverstadt reported.
Citybeat chronicled some of the strange bedfellows that have come together to form the Filner recall campaign.
Finally, NBC San Diego asked the recall campaign if they would return money that has been donated for their cause if Filner resigns. Communications official Rachel Laing said the money was spent. “There’s no pot of money laying around.”
How To Get What You Want
The race is on for municipal projects that want to make it into next year’s budget, and Speak City Heights reporter Megan Burks wrote up a guide for how your neighborhood can benefit from some of the available dollars in the budget. Panelists at one training session “urged attendees to participate in their community planning groups,” Burks wrote. “Local community groups are a step ahead; residents are mobilizing to make their voices heard.”
On Plastic Phalli and Journalism
Our Sara Libby recently opined on an incident with Filner’s Press Secretary Lena Lewis, where pictures of Lewis at play in Las Vegas were criticized by political consultant John Dadian. Dadian wrote in with his response, defending his criticisms of Lewis. “If [Sara] Libby spotted Bob Filner going into a strip club, can she honestly say that her logic would be that it is on his own time and not a story?”
• This year “could determine the future of the Aztecs football program,” writes sports blogger John Gennaro.
• City officials don’t consider text messages to be public record, and won’t hand them over.
• Despite mayoral troubles, city staff have been working to get the new bike sharing program off the ground.
• “Former Carlsbad school board member Kelli Moors was hired by a law firm 12 days after she voted to renew the firm’s $100,000 contract with the district,” reported the UT.
• Southern California Edison “has already started its campaign to get you to pay for its egregious blunder in wrecking its San Onofre nuclear plant,” according to one LA Times writer.
• In case you missed it, Chula Vista has a little league team going to the World Series.
A Rep To Live Down
When President Obama gave a speech in New York on Thursday, he meant to mention Byron Brown, the mayor of Buffalo. Instead, he identified Bryan Higgins, a Democrat Representative for the same state. Higgins took it in stride, though.
“At least he didn’t call me the Mayor of San Diego,” Higgins tweeted.