It's not often that women like retired Rear Admiral Veronica "Ronne" Froman and Joyce Gattas, the dean of San Diego State University's College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts come forward and accuse a well-known public figure of gross sexual harassment. That is exactly what has been happening over the past two weeks in San Diego, California's second-largest city, with a population of 1.3 million. The culprit is the city's mayor, Democrat Bob Filner, a lifelong politician who served for two decades in the House of Representatives. Filner, age 70, has been in Democrat politics since 1979.
Filner has told the public he wants to be remembered for his "progressive" policies. He may ultimately be best-remembered for the "Filner Headlock," a maneuver which involved grabbing women by the neck and applying slobbering tongue to their faces. The accusations, known for over two years by San Diego political insiders, emerged with a press conference held by former city council member Donna Frye, who featured constituents who described Filner's crude sexual advances and battery. Former aides described the "Filner Dance" as an awkward maneuver observed when unfortunate women trapped in Filner's grasp would "bob and weave" to avoid his sloppy kisses.
I first became aware of Filner when I covered House and Senate members in 2010, and noticed that the overwhelming majority had not just been in office for an average of well over a quarter of a century, most, particularly Democrats, were over age 75.
At only age 68, Filner was a "young 'un" by comparison with most of the others in Congress in 2010. I was struck by his official Congressional photo.
The reason Filner's "romantic" overtures seem to have consisted of grabbing unwilling, unsuspecting women at any opportunity, groping their bodies and forcing slobbering kisses on them, may have been that in actuality, Filner looks like this:
Yep. Chester the Molester.
This would all be black comedy, if it were not for Filner's victims, nearly all of whom said they were frightened, "rattled," or greatly disturbed. Just one of the many work-related harassment claims against Filner is his penchant for telling female employees they'd do a better job if they came to work without panties.
As far as "action" is concerned, Filner's situation has been going on for years. Men like Filner don't suddenly begin grabbing women and telling them to take off their panties on a whim. Filner's former fiance reported that she broke off their engagement after he began texting other women and "making dates" in her presence.
On June 25, after more than two weeks of daily fresh accusations by credible individuals, the San Diego Democratic Party Committee voted "overwhelmingly" to ask that Filner resign. Francine Busby, San Diego Democratic Party chair, told the New York Times, "Democrats aren’t going to give him a pass, but may be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because we’ve waited so long, nearly 20 years, for a mayor who could put forward a progressive agenda,” she said. According to the Los Angeles Times, "A week earlier, when Filner's accusers had not yet gone public, the committee had declined to take such a step, saying more information was needed."
Democratic Party national chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has called for Filner to resign, but Filner is "hanging tough." He has told constituents he'll attend "intensive treatment" for two weeks for a problem he has barely admitted. Filner may be more out of touch than even troubled New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. One of the primary accusers, Filner's former communications director, Irene MacCormack Jackson, is represented by none other than famed women's rights advocate and Democratic Party operative Gloria Allred -- to my knowledge the first time I know of Allred representing a female accuser of a politician with a "D" after their name.
Just imagine the 2014 Democrat "Dream Team" ticket: Weiner and Filner - Staying Hard the American Way.