Walter Mencken 11:31 a.m., Feb. 1
Pelosi and Papa Doug: strange bedfellows in anti-Filner follies
Fate of GOP La Jollan Manchester's multi-billion dollar downtown Broadway Complex remains in the balance as high-stakes game of strange bedfellows plays out in national media
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is out with her take on San Diego's Bob Filner, and it isn't positive.
"Don't identify him as my former colleague," she snapped, according to an account in the Huffington Post, when asked at a Capitol Hill press gathering yesterday about the ex-Democratic congressman with whom she served for years.
Of course, the liberal duo haven't exactly been on hugging terms for some time, at least not since Filner departed Washington to become mayor of San Diego and the bane of Douglas Manchester, the wealthy conservative Republican media mogul and hotel developer from La Jolla for whom previous GOP mayor Jerry Sanders carried plenty of water in the nation's capital.
One of Filner's first moves as mayor was to fire the city’s taxpayer-paid Sanders-hired D.C. lobbyist who was advancing Manchester’s massive downtown Broadway complex development agenda in Washington.
Manchester's organization reported Filner's action without mentioning the publisher's hefty personal stake in the decision.
The abrupt dismissals leave the city without an important voice in both capitals right when the first round of budgets and legislative priorities are being crafted.
The embattled mayor hasn't gone any easier on his former fellows in the House.
As reported here last fall, Filner took to the airwaves of Los Angeles public radio station KPCC (the San Diego State University owned public broadcasting operation didn't carry it), and used the interview to undiplomatically blast both fellow Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well as president Barack Obama:
"I couldn’t believe the kind of people who had come and taken power. Many of them had never had any government experience. They had no respect as it were for government per se. I mean, I don’t know why you run for government office with the intent to close up government."
Filner says half of the Congress didn't believe in science; they thought that "climate change didn’t exist, did not believe in stem cell research, thought that you teach creationism and not evolution." "If you have a group like that, what do you do?" says Filner. "There’s no reaching across the aisle."
And that was only a warm-up.
Filner saves his harshest words for his own party: A President who gives away the store before sitting down to negotiate; Democrats who had run the House for 40 years didn’t understand you can’t legislate as a minority; leadership wasting its time in the weeds on the process of government rather than the politics of trying to win back the House.
"When we were in the minority they would always have motions," he says, for things like defeating the previous question. "Well, who cares about those?" He says nobody knew "what the hell we were talking about and yet we spent all our energy on that."
Filner says one good thing came from Newt Gingrich: He diminished the power of seniority on the Republican side. Not so for Democrats who, he says, still rule from the top down. "They keep their control by intimidation," says Filner. If you don’t go along with the votes, he says members lose committee assignments or floor time to talk or even their chance of getting bills passed.
The San Diego mayor then hit Democrats for ignoring veterans.
He admits it was the news about rat-infested dormitories at Walter Reed Hospital that put a public spotlight on the veterans crisis – and made the funding possible. He says he can’t understand why Democrats never figured out how powerful the veterans issue was. "They just didn’t seem to understand that this was a constituency that was ours if we showed that we cared," he says.
Some well-heeled local Obama fans have returned Filner's favors of late.
As reported here Monday, La Jolla’s Christine Forester, one of the president's most prolific national fundraisers, has called on Filner to resign and is organizing an effort to clear the field of possible successors to make way for newly-minted Democrat Nathan Fletcher, an employee and past political beneficiary of Qualcomm, founded by Obama mega-donor and San Diego's richest man Irwin Jacobs.
More like this:
- Americans for Prosperity launches Scott Peters attack ad — Oct. 25, 2013
- Mayoral battle joined as billionaire Jacobs goes for Fletcher — Sept. 25, 2013
- As Filner recall gathers, U-T San Diego owner bankrolls local GOP — Aug. 1, 2013
- Democrats rule in lucrative Filner committee appointments — Jan. 8, 2013
- Bob Filner Dunned by Nancy Pelosi — Dec. 19, 2011