Morning Report: Settlement - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: Settlement

City Council will Friday decide on a proposed agreement with Mayor Bob Filner that may end his term in office.

On Thursday, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith announced that he, Mayor Bob Filner and two City Councilmen have agreed to a proposed settlement for the sexual harassment lawsuit Filner’s former communications director Irene McCormack filed, which had also provoked a suit by the city against the mayor. Goldsmith said they had all pledged confidentiality until the City Council votes on it Friday in a closed session that begins at 1 p.m.

Most news outlets have concluded the mayor’s resignation is part of proposal as Faulconer, Gloria and McCormack have all demanded he step down. But the deal is not done.

Late in the evening, for instance, Councilman David Alvarez signaled some frustration with how little information he was getting.

“I hope I get more information than what is public prior to entering closed session. And hopefully not thru the media,” he wrote. A key question will be how willing to cover the mayor’s legal bills Alvarez’s colleagues Todd Gloria and Kevin Faulconer were in the negotiations.

It’s also unclear what attorney Gloria Allred and McCormack think of the settlement. Allred told KPBS that she would be holding a press conference, at her office in Los Angeles, with yet another dramatic twist: The mayor’s ex-fiance, Brownwyn Ingram, will join Allred at the gathering. It was Ingram’s public announcement five weeks ago that she had ended her relationship with Filner that began this saga.

Here’s more from another busy day in this narrative:

• The U-T profiles the mediator in the Filner affair, while CityBeat checks in with a top strategist with the recall campaign.

• The recall effort claims to have gathered 11,000 signatures. It needs more than 100,000 valid ones. Meanwhile, we answer a question about what will happen to signatures if the city’s recall rules are found unconstitutional.

• The city’s chief operating officer, Walt Ekard, praises the work of city employees in an inspirational-style new video while acknowledging that during “this difficult time.”

• We need to present this tidbit from NBC San Diego in its entirety: “NBC 7 News filed a Public Records Act request on July 15 to obtain the mayor’s appointment schedule. The station has made repeated requests to get the information from the mayor’s staff. On Tuesday, the mayor’s office told an NBC 7 Investigates producer that they could not fulfill the request filed because of the number of media requests for the information.”

What’s Next in City Spending

“San Diego has a $1 billion-plus list of things that are broken. It also has a huge amount of things that it says it needs, the costs of which are unknown,” we report. “The city wants to borrow at least $80 million in January. With that money will come the inevitable tension between fixing the old and building the new.” Our story examines the conflicting ideas.

Social Media Ups and Downs in Local Government

In a new story, we examine how local government agencies are using social media like Twitter to get their messages out and engage with citizens. Some, like the county and the city of Chula Vista, do a nice job. But others, especially the police department, earn a low grade.

Food and Politics: Our Major Player in Congress

Who’s most crucial to San Diego’s food future? No, not Ronald McDonald or Bob’s Big Boy. Clare Leschin-Hoar, our food politics blogger, explains why Rep. Juan Vargas is a major player in the halls of power.

Quick News Hits

• The U-T has published an extensive graphic that examines the shooting death of police officer Christopher Wilson in 2010.

• Sempra Energy, the company that owns SDG&E, wants you to get to work on its behalf and (maybe) your own, the U-T reports. It’s launched a campaign to convince customers to tell legislators to support a bill that’s “likely to increase fixed charges, decreasing the burden on certain large users of home electricity and raising rates for others.”

SDG&E says the current system is unfair; “consumer and environmental groups are concerned changes could undermine incentives for energy conservation and rooftop solar deployment.”

• The stolen Lorax statue has returned! (NBC)

• If you’ve driven to Valley Center through Escondido, you probably know about the big clump of traffic along Bear Valley Parkway. Will it ever get better? The answer, the U-Treports, won’t make drivers happy: A road-widening project is moving sluggishly along, snarled by negotiations with property owners.

• The Atlantic Cities blog takes a look at San Diego’s venture capital investments.

• In the video mentioned above, the city’s chief operating officer acknowledges what he’s learned about the city while on the job: “It’s not dull. Boy, is it not dull.”

Boy, is he absolutely right. We may have finally shed our “sleepy navy town” image for good. While our political scene is becoming battier each day, many of us are more awake and alert than ever — witness the intense civic reaction to what’s been happening — and ready to fix what’s broken. That’s a legacy that could last.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

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