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Tony Manolatos

Filner Swings, Misses and then Swings and Misses Again

San Diego Politics & Media Mashup

I’m not sure what’s worse: suggesting the Republican Party is racist or calling someone a criminal while offering no evidence to support the claim.

Congressman Bob Filner, running for mayor in San Diego, did both of those things in a span of a few days.

Adding fuel to the fire was local labor Lorena Gonzalez. More on her in a minute. First, Filner.

At a mayoral debate Thursday, Filner played the race card while refuting a point by City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio.

“They (the Republican Party) are a party that does not believe that the people of color in this nation deserve an equal chance, they do not believe that Mexico is worthy of respect as a nation,” Filner said, according to KPBS.

Monday on KOGO, host LaDona Harvey noted that Filner basically accused her and a whole bunch of other people of being racist without offering any proof.

Within the hour, Filner was doing the same thing — making serious and sweeping accusations without providing any proof to support his finger pointing.

Monday afternoon, Filner issued a news release calling DeMaio’s partner, Jonathan Hale, a criminal for reportedly helping to organize a squirt gun fight at Balboa Park that badly damaged the park’s historic lily pond.

“This is felony vandalism of the Crown Jewel of San Diego. Carl DeMaio’s partner reportedly helped to organize it. I call on Carl to condemn Jonathan Hale’s criminal actions,” Filner said, adding: “I think voters should be concerned about someone like this playing a significant role in the next mayoral administration.”

The local media spent a good chunk of Monday chasing the lily pond story. Everyone seemed to be weighing in. The Los Angeles Times picked up a statement from San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.

All of this prompted me to tweet: “Not sure what’s sadder: What happened to the lily pond at Balboa Park, or watching everyone try to latch onto the story.”

It was nice to see writers and editors from San Diego CityBeat to U-T San Diego quickly note that connecting DeMaio’s partner to Squirt Gun Gate was a reach.

From the U-T: “Hale’s connection to the event appears tenuous at best. One of his former employees, Ken St. Pierre, was one of the organizers; a columnist at the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN) website, which Hale publishes, previewed the event.”

Several publications previewed the event and the SDGLN story is hardly a smoking gun.

DeMaio quickly fired back, making Filner look foolish.

“By condemning an innocent man today without any facts, Bob Filner has shown that he is absolutely unfit to lead this city,” DeMaio said, according to the U-T.

Gonzalez apparently didn’t like what she was seeing. She took to Twitter late last night to rip the media and DeMaio for allegedly suggesting labor stirred up coverage of Squirt Gun Gate. Gonzalez repeatedly referred to Hale as DeMaio’s lover — a nice touch coming from the far left — prompting CityBeat editor Dave Rolland to tweet:

“You’re really trying hard to make sure everyone knows that @carldemaio is gay, aren’t you?”

Gonzalez’s tweets have been erased but you can see Rolland’s herehere and here.

The mayoral election is in November. Between now and then I’m sure we will hear a lot from Filner on how DeMaio is not fit to be mayor. I hope the next time he goes there he has some proof.

Tony Manolatos is a communications strategist. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedInYou can hear Tony talk politics and media with KOGO’s LaDona Harvey every Monday at 2:35 p.m. on AM 600 and FM 95.7.


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