Paul Jacob

What a great deal the people of San Diego have, with Bob Filner as their mayor.

When the going gets tough, when charges of sexual harassment sprout forth against a fellow so frequently that the county sheriff sets up a “hotline” to manage the volume, when one’s own party, the county Democratic Central Committee, votes 34 to six that you should immediately resign, any ordinary public servant would succumb to the embarrassment and shame by surrendering his or her office.

But not Mr. Filner. He’s no quitter.

No matter how humiliated he might be, no matter how much his and the city’s name get dragged through the mud, Fightin’ Filner is willing to suffer those slings with smiles in order to serve the people of sunny San Diego.

Demented? Perhaps . . . but also dedicated.

He’s committed. Or should be.

Seven women have now come forward with specific and horrendous accusations of Filner’s sexually abusive behavior. The mayor’s response? “I begin today by apologizing to you,” he said in a YouTube video weeks ago, after the first allegations broke. “I have diminished the office to which you elected me.”

Filner continued, “I have reached into my heart and soul and realized I must and will change my behavior.” Meanwhile, he remembered to remind folks that he is “someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people.”

With just a few short time-outs from public wonderfulness, apparently.

The mayor admitted he was “embarrassed to admit” that he had “failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them.”

“If my behavior doesn’t change,” he explained, “I cannot succeed in leading our city.”

What?! Unthinkable. How could San Diego survive without Filner fiddling about city hall?


Filner rises above scandals that would stymie most other career politicians. Twenty years in the U.S. Congress, where his predilections were probably par for the course, taught him the arrogance and narcissism needed by today’s politicians. No sooner had Filner expertly delivered his apology, than he was announcing that he will soon “be announcing fundamental changes within the Mayor’s Office designed to promote a new spirit of cooperation, respect and effectiveness.”

Turning scandal into “change” and a “new spirit” is no simple spell; it takes a consummate professional politician.

Later, the magnanimous mayor told a reporter, “I very much welcome the fact that some of these allegations will finally be addressed by an appropriate investigative authority rather than by press conference and innuendo.”

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.