Yes, San Diego has once again made headlines, and not for a good reason. Earlier this year we elected Bob Filner as mayor of the city. He is a democrat and I tend to support his positions, but I was uneasy pulling the lever for him. Previous to this he served in Congress for nearly 20 years and he had a reputation as a hothead with a hair trigger temper. In 2007 he was charged with assault after an altercation in the baggage area. The woman who got in his way appeared in ads for Bob’s opponent during the election.
Now we are hearing about charges of sexual abuse. Allegations in the last few weeks paint a picture of a man who, for example, suggested that a female employee should come to work without panties. There are also charges of groping, kissing, etc. Last week he acknowledged that he has acted “inappropriately” and that he needs help. Shortly after this he answered specific charges by saying he is entitled to “due process of law.” When one of his employees came forth yesterday, Filner denied the charges.
OK, let’s sort this out. Mayor Filner states that he is entitled to “due process of law;” that phrase comes from Section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. It only applies to criminal proceedings; to the extent that nobody has seriously suggested the mayor be arrested, due process doesn’t apply.
The mayor needs to resign. The charges point to a pattern of behavior that is simply unacceptable and it makes day to day operations difficult. The women who work near him now need to worry about their own safety as a first priority, not the business of the city.
A common misconception with men like this is that they see this as a perk of being powerful. In reality these are men who are weak and want to be powerful and think this will do it. It’s inconceivable to the rest of us, but they honestly don’t think this kind of abuse is unwelcome or frightening. When confronted they downplay it, suggest they were “just kidding” or “just fooling around.”
It’s not playful or welcome. It’s unacceptable and does not serve the people of San Diego.