Wow, what a relief.
I’m sure the women of San Diego are breathing easy now that Mayor Headlock is taking himself off to “behavior rehabilitation.”
For at least two weeks starting Aug. 5, the mayor will be off the streets, unable to inflict his trademark “half Filner” and “full Filner” wrestling moves on the female population. (Until then, ladies, steer clear of City Hall!)
For those who missed it, at a noon news conference on Friday, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, a 70-year-old Democrat, apologized for his “conduct.” He ignored the growing chorus of calls for his resignation, opting instead to apologize for unspecified behavior and announce he’d be going away for a little while.
“I am responsible for my conduct,” he said. “And I must take responsibility for my conduct by taking action so that such conduct does not ever happen again.”
Using “conduct” as a euphemism is not really good enough, Mayor Feelin-her. Why don’t you spell out for us what you did wrong, exactly, so we can be assured that we’re all on the same page about your misdeeds?
Isn’t the first step in rehabilitation admitting what you've done?
Maybe I can help. Here is a list, compiled from what the public statements of your alleged victims. Feel free to refer to it in your first group therapy session:
- Irene McCormack Jackson, your former communications director, said you regularly inflicted the Full Filner on her, tried to kiss her and told her she’d do a better job without her panties. She’s suing you.
- Laura Fink said you patted her buttocks in 2005 when she was your deputy campaign manager.
- San Diego Union School District psychologist Morgan Rose said you tried to kiss her four times in 2009 when she was trying to discuss America’s Angel Campaign, a child welfare project with you. She contacted the San Diego County Sheriff’s dedicated Filner Sex Follies hotline.
- Retired Navy Rear Adm. Veronica Froman says at the end of a business meeting in your congressional office, you ran your finger up her cheek and asked her if she was involved with anyone. She asked her assistants to never leave her alone with him again.
- Sharon Bernie-Cloward, president of the San Diego Port Tenants Assn., said that last year Filner approached her after an event, hugged her and then groped her “backside” leaving her “startled and fearful.”
- Joyce Gattas, a dean at San Diego State University said that at various times, you held her too tight, touched her knee and kissed her.
- San Diego businesswoman Patti Roscoe said you put her in the headlock more than once in order to try to kiss her. A few months ago, it happened again, she told San Diego’s KPBS. “I turned and he just slobbered down my chin. And I was so violated and so offended.”
I think it’s important to note -- for the mayor, who seems confused on this point -- that going to rehab is not the same as “taking responsibility” for his, ah, conduct.
Rehabilitation is a distinctly different stage on the road to recovery.
Behavioral rehab is not the penalty for unwanted sexual touching. It is the treatment for unwanted sexual touching.
The penalty is something else entirely. It might be a forced resignation, or a recall election. It could be civil litigation by alleged victims. It could even be criminal assault charges.
I'm happy that Filner has vowed to use his time in rehab to become “the best person I must be.”
Mayor Headlock, however, needs to be held accountable for what he has already done.