Morning Report: Filner's Empty Pockets - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report UNVEILING THE UNSEEN

Morning Report: Filner's Empty Pockets

Woman comes forward to accuse mayor, feds after Filner again, Q-and-A with groundbreaking police leader and more drama over Balboa Park.

It’s time for a festival, and not just to celebrate the fact that this difficult month is finally coming to an end. Join us this Saturday for Politifest full of food, fun and wonkery. (Two weeks of therapy not included.)

Sexual harassment is not part of the mayor’s job description, the city of San Diego argues in a new lawsuit, and he should have to pay if it suffers legal damages. That was part of a 1-2 punch delivered by the City Council Tuesday: It also voted unanimously not to pay Filner’s own legal fees in his sexual harassment suit.

In another wild day at City Hall, that was far from the only gobsmacking news:

• Another woman came forward publicly — the eighth — on KPBS to talk about a private meeting with Filner that ended with an inappropriate kiss. The woman did not report the incident.

• One of Filner’s accusers, the head of the San Diego Port Tenants Association, paid $200 to help the mayor retire some of his campaign debt, Liam Dillon reports. “It was a typical campaign check. My job is my job, and you’ve got to work with these people,” she explained. U-T San Diego reports that six honchos from the Sunroad development company — now tangled up with Filner and the City Council in another scandal — gave him $3,000 for his campaign debt.

• Councilwoman Marti Emerald, one of two Democratic women on the council who hasn’t called on Filner to quit, stuck to her position in remarks Tuesday.

• We take a look at a mystery that’s been distracting local politicos and those who watch them: What’s with the two recall campaigns? There are suspicions that one is bogus, either an attempt to screw up the system or force the legitimate one to start earlier than its leaders would like.

Our story examines the legal issues of dueling recall campaigns and the prospect of criminal activity.

Feds Investigating Filner Again

We told you recently about the weird case of a developer who paid the city $150,000 for a park and was then allowed to build a project on El Cajon Boulevard. It’s different, as we noted, from the Sunroad mess in some ways. Now, the U-T reports, the feds are investigating the matter.

How He Saw Paris

Remember when the news came out that two Filner staffers got their city credit card limits boosted to $30,000 each when the mayor went to Paris? (This was the same trip that cost taxpayers $20,000-plus for the mayor’s security detail.)

Councilman Kevin Faulconer has been trying to get more details about the credit-card limits. But he’s been largely rebuffed, the U-T reports.

As we noted yesterday, there are other questions around the Paris trip, notably whether the funding for it was an illegal gift to the mayor. And we note in a new post why a non-profit’s legal status matters.

Our Slap-Happy Mayor

Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian has been following the Filner scandal and shares some local color as it continues. Her column features comments from VOSD reporter Liam Dillon and details about when the mayor slapped him, not once but twice.

The Rest of the Day in Filner

• In a letter, local philanthropist Darlene Shiley — a Democrat — calls on Filner to resign and raps the Council members who haven’t done the same: “Your silence is deafening and disappointing.”

• In case you missed it, the city’s art and culture chief quit her job last week, saying she couldn’t “in good conscience” continue to work for Filner. This news leads this week’s Culture Report, our weekly compilation of links to stories about local arts and culture topics.

Also in the Culture Report: San Diego Music Award nominees, horses in Mexican folk art, the Surfing Madonna and the elimination of the restaurant tip (but not, alas, the restaurant add-on fee).

Bidding Farewell to a Trailblazer

Lawrence McKinney, an assistant police chief and one of the Police Department’s first top black leaders, is retiring and leaving a legacy of improving race relations in the diverse Mid-City neighborhoods. We sat down with him for a kind of exit interview.

McKinney answered questions about the tensions of being a black man in law enforcement (“I wanted a long time ago to make differences as a black man within the organization, affecting change from the inside”), the challenges of gaining trust in minority neighborhoods (“sometimes law enforcement is not viewed as the hero of the story”) and the perceptions that divide cops from the community today.

Quick News Hits

• The Drug Enforcement Agency will pay $4.1 million to a local student abandoned in a cell for days, the Los Angeles Times reports.

• In letters, Bernie Rhinerson, a trustee of the San Diego Community College District, writes about how local schools are meeting the needs of students when it comes to innovation.

• Guess what: Not everyone’s happy about mostly ridding Balboa Park’s now-cozy Plaza de Panama of cars. Museums, handicapped patrons and others are complaining, the U-T reports. Meanwhile, the Cabrillo Bridge won’t be closed to cars on certain days, as planned, as of September.

• Yesterday’s Morning Report included an item about the new tables, chairs and umbrellas at the Plaza de Panama. Put in an easy chair and wi-fi, I wrote, and I’d never leave.

It’s true that at least some of the green areas of the park lack wi-fi for those of us who like to sit under trees and work on our laptops. But it turns out much of the museum area in the park does offer free wireless connections. You can get details here.

Now about that La-Z-Boy …

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