There was a time before color TV and princess phones that prehistoric creatures such as San Diego Mayor Bob Filner would simply be called a cad for his transgressions.
Today, there are more appropriate terms for those who foist their sexual urges on others.
One would think that Filner would know better after spending 20 years in Congress. His Rip Van Winkle defense that the city didn’t provide him with sexual harassment training and the nuances of California law is a bit disingenuous. If a 70-year-old in a leadership role needs to be told that slapping those who work for them on their rear ends while making sexual suggestions, demanding kisses, telling them he wants to see them naked, dragging women employees around in headlocks while whispering in their ears, and asking them to come to work without panties is sexual harassment he should resign from office merely on the grounds of extreme stupidity.
But then again, he was in Congress which at times seems more aligned with “Animal House” than “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
Congress, by the way, exempts itself from workplace rules and laws that govern the private sector and virtually every other level of government. It was perfectly acceptable for Filner to do what he was accused of back in the party halls of Congress.
The San Diego City Council, in a brilliant move to protect taxpayers from having to pay for Filner’s sins, voted unanimously to deny the mayor city funds for his legal defense. Filner’s lawyer was shocked. You would be too if you could no longer access The Mother Lode for your legal fees. That is why attorney Harvey Berge says the city is on the hook because it didn’t provide his client with state-required harassment training.
The attorney says lack of sexual harassment training is no excuse for any inappropriate behavior that may have occurred but was quick to add California law has some definitions of sexual harassment that may be lost on Cro-Magnon men.
As for Filner, he says he’s going to enroll himself into an intense two-week therapy to rid him of his demons. Unless it involves shock therapy or perhaps a frontal lobotomy, it is doubtful that at age 70 it is going to do much good.
In the four months he’s been mayor, Filner has made more offensive moves than the San Diego Chargers.
He could plead ignorance of the law given the fact he’s a Congressman. Male politicians apparently are part of a dying breed of boorish men who have no clue of what has been going on in the workplace over the past 30 years in terms of what you can and can’t do. Some politicians have adopted cutting edge technology to project their sophomoric whims onto others. Anthony Wiener comes to mind.
Besides both being former Congressmen without a clue, they think running a big city is nothing but fun and perverted games.
Here’s a news flash for Filner, Wiener and others of their ilk: It has never been morally OK to engage in sexual harassment. The big cultural change is it is now illegal to do so.
It is pure unadulterated arrogance for any politician to believe they’re so talented at addressing pressing public issues that somehow they can play by different rules.
While what Wiener did actually isn’t illegal, it clearly shows bad judgment and obviously underscores personal attitudes toward marriage and how one communicates with women.
As for Filner, he is about to find out how the other 312 million Americans are obligated by law to conduct themselves as opposed to the privileged 535 members of Congress.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 249-3519.