Filner’s Departure Was a Product of Impeachment

Filners Departure Was a Product of Impeachment

Dear Editor,

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said in a recent interview that he and his staff strategized as lawyers: “How were we going to remove the mayor?” “It was a de facto impeachment.” It was a putsch.

Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner awaits a Dec. 9, 2013 sentencing for his guilty plea on charges brought by State Attorney General Kamala Harris. In early July 2013 — as one woman after another went public with accusations of sexual harassment against him — City Attorney Goldsmith and his staff concluded that Filner was an unrepentant felon and that women at City Hall needed to be protected. Goldsmith was prepared to plead before a judge that the mayor posed a threat to women and should be barred from City Hall by way of a Temporary Restraining Order. A psychologist retained by him was set to testify that Filner fit the pattern of a sociopath.

Filner, 71, was the first Democratic mayor elected in San Diego in two decades. Goldsmith, a Republican serving his second term as city attorney, had endorsed Filner›s Grand Old Party opponent, Carl DeMaio.

Goldsmith then maneuvered to force Filner out of office — by squeezing him financially, bluffing him about state law and about the efficacy of that possible restraining order backed by the fly-by-night psychologist and embarrassing Filner by releasing doctored documents showing the anger and dismay of Filner’s City Hall staff. Goldsmith, a former judge, said he believes it was the threat of the restraining order, which finally persuaded the ordinarily combative mayor to surrender.

Skywriting helped.

I testified at a City Council hearing that the Honorable Members were “between a rock and a hard place” because, having all asked the mayor to resign, they were still forced by law to pay for his defense. Goldsmith was there, too. He lied. He said that a cop who demanded sexual favors from prostitutes in exchange for leniency had to be defended in court but the mayor failed to meet this exacting standard (somehow). I and another citizen took the trouble to testify, but Mr. City Attorney seems to think we’ll laugh it off now that he has admitted he gave the mayor false interpretations concerning state law. Indeed — since I voted for him — I feel intense voter remorse.

Earlier Goldsmith had advised the Council that Filner was required by law to sign a tax regime favoring hoteliers that was to last four decades into the future. A judge shortly thereafter upheld Filner.

The 200+ members of the Democratic National Committee meeting in Phoenix voted unanimously (by voice, without discussion) to demand his resignation. Bob had signed his resignation prior to the convocation of the DNC and that signed document was being held by a mediator pending City Council of San Diego acceptance and more importantly, public input on the details of a done deal.

— Richard Thompson

UCSD Alumnus ’83

 

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