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It's official. Democratic Mayor Bob Filner wants to appoint himself to the board of directors and the executive committee of the San Diego Association of Governments, otherwise known as SANDAG.

And Filner, a former member of Congress and veteran of its hardball political spoils system, has made sure his fellow Democrats at city hall will share the wealth.

As noted here last week, payment for the outside board appointments have long served as a quiet source of optional extra cash to supplement council and mayoral salaries, and have been spurned by councilman Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, as a waste of tax dollars.

The latest appointment news is contained in a disclosure filing posted online yesterday by San Diego City Clerk Elizabeth Maland, entitled "Proposed 2013 Appointments by Bob Filner."

The SANDAG board position carries a per meeting stipend of $150, for a total potential annual payment of $3,500, according to the filing.

If Filner can't attend a meeting, his first alternate is fellow Democrat, councilwoman Marti Emerald, who would be able to claim the cash.

The SANDAG executive committee spot pays $100 per meeting. Besides naming himself to that spot, Filner has designated Emerald as his first alternate and Democrat Sherri Lightner second. Total potential annual payment is listed as between $1001 and $2000.

Yet another council Democrat, David Alvarez, is also listed as a Filner-appointed SANDAG board member, with Democrat Sherri Lightner first alternate, and the GOP's Scott Sherman second alternate.

Another disclosure posted online by the city clerk, entitled "Proposed 2013 appointments by Todd Gloria," lists Filner as Gloria's choice for SANDAG board, with Emerald as alternate. Gloria himself is also listed as a member of the SANDAG board, with the GOP's Lorie Zapf as first alternate and Democrat Lightner second.

UPDATE: Our sources on scene report that a dispute broke out between Filner and his fellow Democrat and city council president Gloria during this afternoon's council meeting over who had authority to name SANDAG board members. After a private meeting between Filner and Gloria, the discussion of appointments was reportedly continued until next Monday. As soon as the video replay goes up on the city's website, we expect to have more.

MORE: Filner testified before the city council, directly addressing Gloria:

"Under our charter, the City Council president -- as much as we love him -- does not have the authority to appoint SANDAG representatives, so you are taking up an item which is contrary to our charter."

"Now, in my belief, the mayor has the authority to appoint the SANDAG representatives subject to council confirmation. It is a joint appointment in that respect -- you can turn down anything I say -- you have the free vote.''

After a closed door meeting with Gloria, the mayor returned to the open session and said:

It should not have gotten to this point and we apologize to the council.

Filner added that he and Gloria, "will try to do this in a better way."

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HonestGovernment Jan. 9, 2013 @ 8:30 a.m.

Thank you for this reporting, Matt. Compared to what can be read about this elsewhere, your account is informative and unbiased. The reporting of the closed door meeting and of Filner's subsequent statements provides a broad picture of the proceedings. It seems that what happened is a great example of how good, honest government should and can work. And compared to "elsewhere," your link works!

The enmity toward Filner, as expressed in the always slanted headlines and reporting elsewhere, is disheartening. You remember: the elsewhere people loved their "Gentleman Jerry." They can't handle a truly strong mayor, primarily because he has a D after his name, and their main line of attack is constantly and tiresomely to portray him as uncouth/abrasive/disagreeable. That Sanders screwed over the residents and neighborhoods for his entire reign matters not, to the elsewhere reporters; that he did it quietly and politely gave him a pass with them. Not where I live.


laplayaheritage Jan. 9, 2013 @ 9:39 a.m.

According to our City Charter Mayor Bob Filner has the ”SOLE AUTHORITY” to appoint City representatives to outside agencies. Gloria and Zapf conspired with the City Attorney’s office to challenge the City Charter authority, “rights, powers, and duties” of the voter-approved Strong Mayor form of government. Specifically our City Charter Sections 265(b)(11 and 12). Pages 2 and 3 state:


“Section 265: The Mayor

(b) In addition to exercising the authority, power, and responsibilities formally conferred upon the City Manager as described in section 260, the Mayor shall have the following additional rights, powers, and duties:

(11) As provided for in Charter sections 41 and 43, the authority to appoint members of City boards, commissions, and committees, subject to Council confirmation;

(12) Sole authority to appoint City representatives to boards, commissions, committees and governmental agencies, unless controlling law vests the power of appointment with the City Council or a City Official other than the Mayor;”

City Attorney Goldsmith’s December 21, 2009 Report to the City Council RC-2009-33 “Authority to Make Appointments to Outside Organizations under the Mayor-Council Form of Governance” stated 16 times that then-Mayor Sanders had the sole authority to appoint SANDAG representatives.


Video start time: 1 Hour 16 Minutes.



HonestGovernment Jan. 9, 2013 @ 10:39 a.m.

Thanks, LP. That's excellent info. I have no doubt that Filner, having served his constituents well and long in the House, knows how to deal with people who want to blur rules and confuse the issue. Filner will be well-versed in the regs and rules. And, he's got Donna! Gloria has practiced the art of obfuscation without challenge, and had better realize that he can't continue sleazing his way through. The City Atty's office is horrendous and plays the same obfuscation game, to whatever end serves their purpose, law and rules be damned. But Filner will deal with them all, I trust.


Dennis Jan. 10, 2013 @ 8:33 a.m.

Not sure I understand the headline on this article. Why should it be controversial that elected officials get appointed to an Association of Governments? Those are exactly the people that I would expect to be appointed, not downtown developers.


nostalgic Jan. 10, 2013 @ 1:52 p.m.

The video tape is up, and it is better than anything on prime-time. See the City Attorney's true colors! See Todd Gloria in his glasses! See the council members who forgot that Filner won the election! See a real person with strength, facts, and persuasion, our new mayor and a new way of doing business in the City of San Diego.


HonestGovernment Jan. 11, 2013 @ 8:11 a.m.

The video is fantastic. Go Filner! He knows how to debate and argue, he has the facts, he is thorough. This is going to be a great Mayor. http://granicus.sandiego.gov/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=5618


BlueSouthPark Jan. 11, 2013 @ 9:20 a.m.

Watched the session. I almost cried with feelings of gratitude for Filner for pointing out the evasive, incorrect words by the Dep City Atty. It reminded me of the many times in the past 8 years that some Dep City Atty sat up on the council dais and lied, twisted words, purposefully confused, or skirted the questions, to achieve an end that Sanders or someone from the council or Planning or Econ Dev depts wanted. ...Oh, how sweet to have a mayor who is shrewd and calls a spade a spade and clearly states the truth, the law and the facts. I am just ecstatic! I'm sure there are some good Dep City Attys, but they have yet to appear in council meetings. I mean, so many truly ignorant, ill-spoken, confused DCAs have been seen, and have been willing to lie or evade and follow the lead of a councilmember who wants them to say certain things to some end, that it's hard to believe that any really competent and honest ones exist. Maybe things will change. And the opining will become strictly honest and correct. Under Goldsmith, the laws have always been "interpreted" ito serve a twisted interest.


BlueSouthPark Jan. 11, 2013 @ 2:29 p.m.

The amateurish attempt by Todd Gloria to wrest power from Filner was amazing to watch. Gloria is in waaaaay over his head. He kept trying to maintain the upper hand by calling the smaller shots, his last error being to direct his and Filner's staff to hash it out. Bam!

It was hilarious when Todd tried to cast Filner's nominations as "defective" (for holding a vacancy for someone from the new D4; not a defect, opined the DCA), and when Lightner pointed out that actually Todd's nominations are defective (like, for illegally nominating too many of the same people for positions).

Also wonderful when Todd pulled out the old "Form 1472" dodge. Heads up Mayor Filner: in council politics, 1472s are the last refuge of the day's scoundrel. Obviously, at 5 pm last Friday, Todd, not having Filner's 1472 with nominations, could have picked up the phone (or had his staff do it) and called Filner to remind him to submit it. But NO!!! Amateur Todd sees that as his big chance to make and docket HIS nominations (which he likes to refer to as "appointments").


You are working with a real politician now, Todd, and a real Democrat. Better get used to it. You really lost out on your big power play and look very foolish and small. Filner referred to "trying to work with Gloria for ~15 years" (Gloria was Rep Susan Davis' aide) ...would love to know some of that history.

Good job, Mayor.


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