Morning Report: The Mayor Stands Alone - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: The Mayor Stands Alone

The scandal surrounding Mayor Bob Filner ramped up in a major way Friday – though no one is still quite sure what happened.

After a relatively quiet few days (when you consider our breathless-press-conferences-every-week new normal), the scandal surrounding Mayor Bob Filner ramped up in a major way Friday – though no one is still quite sure what happened.

What we do know:

• The last two holdouts on the City Council – Marti Emerald and Myrtle Cole – asked Filner to resign Friday in a joint statement. Emerald’s now completed a total 180: She went from applauding Filner’s “courage,” to urging him to get help, to calling on him to resign immediately.

• Sen. Barbara Boxer also urged Filner to resign Friday in a pretty scathing letter posted on her website.

• Filner started his treatment a week early, and is now wrapping it up. (Lee Burdick, Filner’s chief of staff told Scott Lewis the treatment was done; a letter from Filner’s lawyers sent late Friday said he’d finish on Saturday.) The city attorney confirmed locks were being changed at the mayor’s office.

Later, Burdick explained to Lewis why she had the locks changed at the mayor’s office: “My concern is/was that if anything was removed while the Mayor was away, it could raise all kinds of questions about preservation or spoliation of potential evidence.”

She says the mayor will get the key when he returns. He’s apparently going to take some days off.

What we don’t know:

• It’s unclear on what Filner’s exit means for the deposition that was supposed to take place Friday but was rescheduled because Filner was supposed to be in treatment.

The NWVAA’s Series of Weird Appearances

Throughout the scandal, one group has kept popping up.

The National Women Veterans Association of America first made news when they decided to yank a planned lifetime achievement award for Filner. But they still scheduled him to deliver a keynote address at the event. Then they canceled that, too.

Things got even weirder this week: The head of the group called the mayor a “sexual predator” and said she discovered he’d  harassed eight members of her organization. But, she still wanted him to appear at the fundraising event.

Joel Hoffmann examined the group’s bizarre public statements in the Filner scandal, and found that the group has some private troubles as well: More than half its board members have resigned in the last year, which some experts say is a big red flag.

Recall vs. Resignation vs. Grand Jury

Plenty of Democrats want Filner gone, but not all of them think a recall election is the right way to go. If Filner does leave, whether he resigns or is ousted from office will go a long way toward determining his successor, Liam Dillon explains.

The two possible paths each have different rules: “A resignation means the city will have a primary and likely a runoff special election, meaning someone will have to win a majority vote to become mayor.  … A recall means one election, meaning Filner’s replacement could win with the kind of vote share – or less – than Murphy got. For any candidate, it’s winner-take-all.”

• We got a copy of a grand jury complaint against Filner filed Aug. 1. It argues the grand jury should take action because San Diego’s strict recall rules mean such an effort would likely fail.

• Nathan Fletcher, who has switched parties since he ran against Filner for mayor, says he would consider running in a recall.

What We Learned This Week

• San Diego law enforcement agencies have been recommending the Corrective Behavior Institute to offenders as part of plea deals. But the group, which bills itself as a life skills center, has problems of its own: “A Voice of San Diego review found shoddy recordkeeping, red flags in financial records and poor internal oversight at the organization.”

• Now that the San Diego Film Commission is shuttered, prospective film crews and ones with projects already in the works are left to wander the maze of local permitting without a guide.

• We just scratched the surface with our reporting quest on San Diego’s innovation economy. Check out Kelly Bennett’s wrap-up here. Speaking of Bennett and wrapping up, she hung up her reporter’s fedora at VOSD after seven great years. But she’ll still be popping up from time to time in the Culture Report, freelance projects and next month’s Meeting of the Minds event.

San Diego’s trolley is cost-effective. But do people use it? Andy Keatts broke down four ways to gauge how our city’s transit system stacks up nationally.

Quick News Hits

• The L.A. Times’ Robin Abcarian defends Gloria Allred, sort of.

• The NSA is touting the case of a San Diego cab driver as proof of “the unique value of a National Security Agency program that collects tens of millions of phone records from Americans.” (Washington Post)

• Things aren’t going well for the Padres. Or the Chargers.

• One of San Diego Unified’s deputy superintendent is a finalist to be named superintendent of Mt. Diablo schools. (Contra Costa Times)

• Videos from Politifest are up. Check out new city planning director Bill Fulton talking about the future of neighborhoods, and local elected officials talking about how to move forward from the Filner scandal.

Update: We updated the Morning Report with the late information from Burdick about why the mayor’s locks were changed.

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