Ex-Mayor Bob Filner is now a convicted felon. This is no surprise to people who have been following the Filner saga. As each layer of the onion was peeled off, the “monster within” (Filner’s description of his problem) had a history of prolonged abuse of women. What was a rumor on Capitol Hill became reality as he campaigned in the political fishbowl that is the City of San Diego.
I take no pleasure in seeing the broken Filner. What he did was reprehensible and I pray for the victims– their ordeals were tragic and may carry repercussions, in the personal and professional lives, for decades to come. I pray for the City of San Diego and her citizens. This saga levies yet another blight on City Hall and erodes the confidence we have in government. I’m praying for Bob Filner. How a young man, with the courage to face the the collectivist evil that is racism, could end up a felon confuses many. But Man is fallible and good men can become bad men, especially when power is their primary libido. So, I pray for Bob Filner to have the courage to confront that monster and do better.
Reflection demands us to ask this question; if Filner’s behavior was so prevalent, how did he garner political support with casual indifference to the “monster within” ? Prominent Democratic elected officials, labor unions, and the local Democratic Party enthusiastically supported this man’s campaign for Mayor. Were they hoodwinked by a charlatan or did they know, but ignore the “monster within”, because they too shared Filner’s libdio dominandi ?
I’ve asked Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña this question, over and over again:
“Did the San Diego Democratic Party threaten to withhold support from you if you refused to endorse Filner in the Mayoral election?”
Saldaña promised me an answer to that question three months ago and to date, has ducked, dodged, and ignored it. Today, the UT San Diego asks it as well:
But it is Saldaña whose story is most revealing. She ended up endorsing Filner in 2012. How could this proud feminist back someone she believed to be a serial sexual harasser? “Party leaders, she said, made it clear that if people didn’t support Filner they wouldn’t receive their support again,” the Voice of San Diego reported in July.
Saldaña needs to explain her statement to the Voice of San Diego about the Democratic Party leadership. She needs to explain it because I think it is essential to the Filner saga, Let me posit a theory about the Filner saga:
1- Filner represented the Democratic Party’s best chance to win the top prize at City Hall. They knew that the 2012 election would bring a high Democratic turnout and they wanted a candidate who mirrored President Obama’s ideology. Even if Mitt Romney was elected the Oval Office, the Democratic registration advantage, in the City of San Diego, would bring out the most partisan voters and deliver City Hall to their party. Their strategy was to lie low in the June election and unify behind the one Democrat in the race, That (seemingly admirable) discipline could only be ruined if the rumors about Filner’s “monster within” came to fruition. It was a calculated risk with plausible deniability (at that point) to support Filner.
2- Lori Saldaña posed a threat to the “unified party” strategy. Her warning lacked substantive evidence so they relied on the plausible deniability to support Filner. When Saldaña suggested more due diligence, the prospect of losing City Hall was so great that the Democratic power brokers threatened her career so that they could remain in the gray area.
3- Filner’s psychological problems were exacerbated by operating the in fishbowl. As one of 435 in the House of Representatives rumor and innuendo got cast aside. But as San Diego’s head honcho, all eyes were on him. What indignities that women staffers might endure in the swamp that is DC, San Diego women won’t. This frustration fueled more aberrant behavior from Filner, causing his “monster within” to become more careless in its pursuits. Filner’s lust knew no boundaries.
4- Filner’s lust was now a ticking time bomb for the San Diego Democratic Party. Faced with the reality of the “monster within”, the Dem power brokers knew this might blow up right before the 2014 elections. This would wreak havoc on their ability to re-elect Congressman Scott Peters, be competitive in District 2 and 6 Council races, and possibly hurt Assemblywoman Toni Atkins and Congresswoman Susan Davis. They faced destruction of the local Democratic brand and decided to “bite the bullet” now rather than risk that bomb going off a year later.
5- Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs acted as surrogates for the real party power brokers: Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Congressman Scott Peters, Congressman Juan Vargas, State Senator Ben Hueso, Congresswoman Susan Davis, and Assembywoman Toni Atkins. Exposing Filner in 2013 would be an act of self preservation for the power brokers.
6- The Democratic Party’s Alvarez endorsement is a smoke screen and a nod to progressive activists. The Dem power brokers already decided that Fletcher is an ambitious politician whom is “pliable”. Stated differently, uniting behind Fletcher in the general election, if he advances, will be much more palatable than a Faulconer victory to them. They know that Fletcher’s libido dominandi comes with practical (READ: flexible) principles and that he can be trusted to advance their agenda in City Hall. They had Fletcher lined up to run before they made their move on Filner. The Dem power brokers know that Fletcher’s ambition reaches back up to Sacramento and they may try to ride that horse to the Governor’s mansion.
7- If Alvarez doesn’t advance to the run-off election, expect every Democratic elected official to unite behind Fletcher while trying to paint the more moderate Kevin Faulconer as a “tea party Republican”. The message will be that Fletcher is post-partisan (like Obama) and that Faulconer is “anti-government”.
8- If that doesn’t work, and Faulconer is elected, Peters, Gonzalez, Davis, Vargas, and Atkins will ask Lori Saldaña to finally answer the question I asked her three months ago. They’ll use this to sack the local Dem leadership and remake their Central Committee in their image and likeness.
9- If the Fletcher strategy works, Lori Saldaña will never answer the question. The Dem power brokers will remake their Central Committee anyway and ask Lori Saldaña to lead either the Committee or that “restructuring” effort. The Dem power brokers will promise her support in a future race for Congress or State Senate.
Lori Saldaña will not answer the question I asked her until the run-off election is over (at best) or, more likely, ever. She won’t answer that question because it reveals the casual indifference to women, the libido dominandi, and corrupt nature of the San Diego Democratic Party. Like it or not, Saldaña is a political animal with ambition, too. She’ll keep her story secret unless it advances her political career…and in San Diego progressive politics, she has to make sure her ambition is aligned with the Dem power brokers.