Filner themes — obnoxiousness, shadiness — merge

June 30, 2013

By Chris Reed

Bob_Filner_-_Freedom_Rider_t658Cal Watchdog readers have been updated regularly on the goofiness and ugliness that’s unfolded in San Diego since veteran Democratic congressman Bob Filner took over as mayor in December. The two main themes of Filner coverage are his sheer stinking obnoxiousness and his sense that the law doesn’t apply to him because he’s such a noble guy. (He really thinks this; he was a Freedom Rider in the early 1960s, therefore he’s always pure.)

Now the two themes have meshed in a scandal that offers a perfect snapshot of the mayor of California’s second-largest city. This coverage is from the Voice of San Diego:

 “Mayor Bob Filner’s recently departed deputy chief of staff, Allen Jones, said Friday the mayor knew full well about a negotiation with a developer that many are calling extortion — and that he stands by it.

“Jones’ comments came hours after Filner announced he had returned a $100,000 donation to the city from the developer Sunroad. The mayor said he made the decision after he discovered a memo between a Sunroad representative and Jones that explicitly laid out a quid pro quo between the city and the developer.”

OK, that’s juicy enough. But why is Jones “recently departed”? Was it because of heat over the scandal that he blames on the mayor but which also makes him look bad?

That’s how the mayor rolls: ‘repeated humiliation of staff’

Nah. It’s because Jones thinks the mayor is obnoxious.

“Allen Jones, the longtime ally of Mayor Bob Filner, the one who set up his transition to mayor and worked as his deputy chief of staff said he resigned because of the mayor’s repeated humiliation of members of his staff.

“’On a number of occasions, I talked about how I thought the way the mayor interacted with and treated mayoral staff and members of boards and commissions and others was demeaning and abusive. And it, most importantly, undermined his ability to pursue the progressive agenda he campaigned on,’ Jones said.

“He said he couldn’t stand it any longer.

“’When I see mayor’s staff treated in that demeaning of a manner so often, if I remained, I believed I was being complicit in sustaining that abusive environment and I can’t do that,’ Jones said.”

So the mayor is blaming his extortion scandal on a top aide who just quit because he found the mayor to be obnoxious. I can’t think of any parallel to this, and I’m a political junkie.

Filner asks if anyone else wants to quit. As a matter of fact …

Wait, there’s more. Jones wasn’t the only top staffer to quit.

 “The mayor described a staff meeting in which Jones had brought up concerns about the way Filner was treating staff. When Jones said he was leaving, Filner said he asked if anyone else wanted to, and [communications director Irene] McCormack said she did.”

A fact that Filner didn’t reveal for a week — his press secretary abruptly quitting. This stuff is comedy gold.

At least if you don’t live within San Diego’s borders, where obnoxiousness, scandal and dysfunction in your city are more dismaying than entertaining.

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