And Now For Something Completely Different…

And Now For Something Completely Different…
By Andrew Lockard

Newly-elected Mayor Bob Filner is kinda funny, if you think about it.[1]  San Diego is used to its lead-from-behind, backroom politicians.  It is a quiet place.  This is Breakfasttown, USA.[2]  We elect Sanderses over Aguirreses, and shy away from the muck-rake.[3]  So, what’s up with Bob?  In his short time in office, he has already put on notice: the Keystone Pipeline;[4] the Nuclear Regulatory Commission;[5] City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer;[6] City Council President Todd Gloria;[7] Police Chief Lansdowne;[8] U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy;[9] San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis;[10] and most recently City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.[11]

The Mayor is not a quiet man.[12]  He recently crashed a press conference of the City Attorney – literally.[13]  It’s been no secret that Filner and Goldsmith are not besties.  It took only four weeks after taking office for Filner to publicly shame Goldsmith over his office’s prosecution of medical marijuana dispensaries.[14]  Their relationship has since appeared… tense.  Then it got weird: Mayor Filner showed up, unannounced, to said press conference, and began rebutting (read: shouting replies at) Goldsmith’s comments.  The issue at hand was a City Council approved measure that authorized the Tourism Marketing District to collect 2% of gross revenues from big hotels to promote tourism for the next 40 years.  Filner thinks it’s a tax.  Goldsmith says, “I disagree with whatever he said.”[15]  Goldsmith parted the press conference by telling reporters “We used to have a city attorney who wanted to be mayor, now we have a mayor who wants to be city attorney.”[16]  My goodness.

It’s a clash between two competing visions of San Diego: a multi-cultural, dynamic border town vs. Pete Wilson’s shining resort upon a hill.  Things used to be done in this city – quietly.  Pensions were borrowed from – quietly.  It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.  Filner is sand paper, but he represents a potential sea change for the city.  Sanders had the demeanor of a man on Quaaludes; he is what San Diego was.  Filner’s confrontation with Goldsmith may be political faux pas.  But, at least there’s now a dialogue.[17]

[1] He is not classically handsome.








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[17] Be sure to visit the Mayor during his office hours.

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