Former executive assistant city attorney Andrew Jones likened his run-in with former mayor Bob Filner during a city-council closed-session hearing last year to that of Rosa Parks being ordered to the back of the bus to make room for white bus riders.
“To me it was tantamount to asking Rosa Parks to sit in the back of the bus,” Jones told a television news crew from NBC in April 2013. "I didn't sit in the back of the bus. In fact, I sat at the table."
At the time, Jones’s accusation was, according to the city attorney's office, just another example of Filner's mean streak.
The two had another run-in during a closed-session hearing in April of 2013. On that occasion, Filner ordered officers to remove Jones for what he said was disruptive behavior. The city attorney responded by releasing the transcripts of that secret meeting to reporters from the U-T and 10News. However, when asked for transcripts from the previous meeting, Goldsmith and his attorneys weren't as open. They refused. It has taken one year and a direct order from a Superior Court judge to force them to turn over the documents.
If there were any question as to whether Goldsmith and his top attorneys were using the press to disparage the former mayor, there aren't now.
Transcripts from closed-session meetings from the months leading up to Filner's order to remove Jones from a closed-session meeting indicate the existence of tension between the mayor's office and Goldsmith's office. But what is missing is proof that Filner made racially insensitive statements.
During a February 2013 meeting, shortly after calling the meeting to order, Filner noticed Jones walking around the room.
"Mr. Jones, can you...do you mind taking a seat?" Filner asked. "I don't know what you're doing. You just keep walking back and forth. I don't know if you're going to take the microphone or what. Do you mind taking a seat?"
"Sure," Jones responded.
That was the end of the exchange.
One month later, the two ran into each other at another meeting.
"The March 12 — the March 12 — are you going to stand there the whole meeting?” asked Filner of Jones.
"I'll sit here, Mayor, if it makes you feel better," said Jones.
"Is this better?" asked Jones.
"Yes, I mean, look, you guys seem to indicate that you can interrupt at any moment. That's not your role, the city attorney's role... You will ask for recognition the way everybody else does. You're not to intrude upon the conversation unless asked and recognized."
Filner then called the meeting to order.
The transcripts come nearly two years after the incident and after tens of thousands of dollars spent by deputy city attorneys devising ways to fight the lawsuit filed by San Diegans for Open Government over access to the documents. Instead of turning them over, the city will be ordered to pay attorneys fees from between $50,000 to $100,000.
Jones has since retired.