Bob Filner responds to recall petition: We'll "go backwards" as a city if I'm ousted as mayor

We must, he says, continue to “move forward.”

Here’s the real significance of the Filner saga: It’s honestly difficult to decide which is more pathological, his approach to women or his approach to power. It’d be one thing if he was claiming innocence and was determined not to be muscled out of office on a trumped-up charge, but he’s not claiming that. He’s admitted that he needs help for his behavior. He knows that prosecutors are looking into this. He knows, I assume, that the sheer volume of complaints from women has forced cops to set up a special hotline just for them. He knows that the locks on his office doors have been changed for mysterious, unspecified reasons. He knows there’s not a single Democrat in any position of real power willing to defend him anymore. And he knows that city government has been paralyzed by this clusterfark, and yet still — he’s going to force voters to remove him from office rather than resign. In light of the recent polls, he also surely knows that the result of the recall is a fait accompli. But still, he won’t go.


This job, or rather this status, must mean everything to him.

In the response, Filner provides a rundown of the accomplishments he’s made during his eight months in office, such as negotiating a five-year labor deal with city workers and removing cars from Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama.

“Now is not the time to go backwards — back to the time when middle-class jobs and neighborhood infrastructure were sacrificed to downtown special interests,” he wrote. “We need to continue to move forward.”

Filner ended the letter by saying, “As your mayor, I am committed to moving San Diego forward!”

The head of the recall effort replied, “Mayor Bob Filner obviously believes his policy initiatives excuse his being a sexual predator.” I wonder where Filner, a former Democratic congressman, got that idea.

Meanwhile, the legal case against him is progressing. This piqued my interest:

As federal, state and local officials investigate Mayor Bob Filner, Team 10 has learned that members of the mayor’s security detail have provided information to authorities, regarding the mayor taking different women to a popular downtown San Diego hotel…

After some digging, Team 10 obtained some of the mayor’s corporate credit card statements from parts of January, February and May of this year, detailing 6 different transactions at the Westgate Plaza Hotel between January 21 and February 7, then two more on May 10 and May 12 for a grand total of $511.06.

Still unclear: what was purchased or who it was purchased for.


Josh Marshall raised an eyebrow at that, as did I. The fact that cops want to know what he was doing at a hotel obviously suggests suspicions of criminal wrongdoing, but having an affair isn’t a crime. One obvious possibility is that he was following Spitzer’s lead and hiring hookers, but eight transactions at $511 comes out to less than 65 bucks on average. That’s an upscale hotel; rooms there aren’t that cheap. Could be that he was taking women to dinner there instead, in which case maybe they suspect he used his city credit card for personal business. Or, given that Filner allegedly told some of the women he came onto that he wanted to take them to dinner, maybe they’re looking for evidence that some of his victims agreed under duress, because they felt they’d be professionally damaged if they said no to the mayor. In that case, the receipts would be evidence that Filner followed through after pressuring women into agreeing to see him socially.

Update: It has, my friends, come to this.

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