Ignoring friends' advice got Filner into trouble
But he is capable of wising up and must be given chance
I have spoken with a lot of people with inside knowledge of what has happened to Mayor Bob Filner. Here are some facts: 1. He is rough on people who work for him, but rougher on women than men. He has admitted as much; 2. He is flirtatious and makes sexual suggestions that are out of line; 3. While he was running for the job, he was warned by more than one person that his sexual aggressiveness could bring him down; he ignored the advice. 4. When in office, his temper sometimes got out of control, as did his tendency to make sexual suggestions; 5. His chief of staff, the now-resigned Vince Hall, should have been a buffer between Filner and the staff. Hall was not. He exacerbated the problem; 6. Filner ignored people who should have been his friends. Lawyer Cory Briggs tried to warn Filner's senior aides that the handling of the Sunroad matter was wrong. Briggs was ignored, and became one of the three who demanded Filner's resignation; 7. While she was serving as Filner's consultant on open government, Donna Frye didn't have the latitude to pursue her passion. When she left, he failed to reach out to her. She, like Briggs, became one of the three to demand his resignation; 8. Filner spent 20 years in Washington D.C., where sexual suggestiveness and banter is much more tolerated than it is in San Diego; Filner did not adjust to the new culture.
Bottom line: Filner has promised to reform. He must not only stop the sexual aggressiveness. He must control his temper, tone down his arrogance, and cut down on his abrasiveness. Changing personality that quickly is a very tall order, but he must do it if he is to survive. And he is the person for the job. He was elected because he saw what was wrong in San Diego: the neighborhoods and infrastructure were being ignored while money was hogged downtown. He is the only one who can curb the power of the downtown corporate welfare faction. To do this, he must shape up. The Republicans and Democrats who want to replace him -- Faulconer, DeMaio, Fletcher, Gloria, et al -- would reverse the progress already made. Filner's new aide, Tony Buckles, served him in Washington and knows him well. His appointment appears to be a good step.