Bob Filner would probably be the first to admit he’s about as liberal as Democrats can come. And while that does not always mesh with the beliefs and morals of Imperial County voters, Filner has been popular here because he has been effective.
After 2012, Filner will no longer be Imperial County’s congressional representative, as he made it official last week that he will run for mayor of San Diego.
In an era where the term bringing home the bacon can be seen as a negative, Filner has done just that for Imperial County. While much of his voter base is in southern San Diego County, he has always made his Imperial County constituency feel just as important.
Filner will be missed. He’s done a great deal for veterans as head of Veterans Affairs Committee, and he has helped bring Imperial County millions of dollars through appropriations. More important, for an area that feels neglected at times, he has given us attention and a voice. Filner has left some pretty big shoes to fill.
Late last week, state Sen. Juan Vargas announced he intends to fill those shoes, announcing that after less than a year in his new office, he will set his sights onWashington, D.C.
Vargas has been a disappointing character in our opinion, way back to 2005 when he ran against Filner for Congress. Vargas ran campaigns that were some of the dirtiest Imperial County had ever seen, and his campaign workers were often alleged to be trouble makers. In fact, as recently as the Democratic primaries, where Vargas took on Mary Salas, a particularly pushy and overbearing poll-count monitor was said to allegedly be in the employ of Vargas.
As Imperial County’s state senator, Vargas has continued to live down to his reputation. It’s common knowledge that Vargas is a ghost, spending almost all of his time in San Diego County or Sacramento. He has passed a few pieces of legislation with Imperial County in mind, but these were minor pieces (yes, we consider the county registrar of voters bill minor because of the scope).
His local office staffer has been virtually absent from local events as well. That might be because he cannot speak English, a fact not lost of the county Board of Supervisors, who criticized Vargas’ choice to head his local office.
Vargas is a career politician, whose sole vocation seems to be winning elections, not serving constituents. It’s no surprise he would seek Filner’s seat before the ink dried on the congressman’s press release. Vargas couldn’t beat Filner while he was in office.
There is still time for Vargas to prove us wrong. But we’re familiar with him down here, and he has shown very little for quite a while.
It’s our hope that a candidate emerges for Filner’s seat that will be what Filner was to the area — someone who will be visible, hard-working and tuned in to local concerns. Vargas is not that man.
Filner to leave the district.
Filner knew how to bring home the bacon.
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
Send us your thoughts on this topic to www.ivpressonline.com/letterstotheeditor