A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Saturday, Aug. 26, 2013

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigns

      San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigned in the face of sexual harassment allegations on Friday. Tijuana's newspapers put the story on their front pages, and it was even a top featured news item on Televisa's main nightly newscast, "El Noticiero con Joaquín López-Doriga."
Update, Oct. 16, 2013: Filner pleads guilty to false-imprisonment and battery charges.
Update, Feb. 11, 2013: City of San Diego settles sexual harassment lawsuit with former top Filner aide for $250,000; Republican Kevin Faulconer elected mayor.

Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013

Filner alleged to have improperly touched women on trade mission to Mexico City, KPBS reports

       San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is alleged to have improperly touched and talked to women on the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual trade mission to Mexico City in April, KPBS reported Tuesday. KPBS' Amita Sharma reported, "Of the eight women on the mission, sources said Filner sent out sexual signals to at least four." Story, KPBS.
Frontera reports on U-T San Diego poll that says seven of 10 surveyed in San Diego think Filner should be removed from office.
El Mexicano (PDF) reports on Filner beginning two-week therapy treatment to deal with sexual harassment issues.
Update, Aug. 7: Two more alleged Filner victims come publicly forward; Frontera (PDF) publishes story about them and a list of all 11 who have come forward.
Update, Aug. 13: Frontera (PDF) publishes story about rally outside City Hall of people who want Filner to resign. Filner finished his intensive therapy earlier than expected, as he had secretly started the sessions a week early. The word rally seems to have entered the Spanish lexicon, as the story was titled: "Realizan rally ciudadano contra Filner."
Update, Aug. 16: El Mexicano (PDF) reports on 16th woman to come forward with sexual harassments against Filner — a 67-year-old great-grandmother who works as a liaison at City Hall for the elderly.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tijuana media lead with former aide's sexual harassment lawsuit against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

Filner's hopes of being the person to greatly strengthen cross-border ties severely damaged by allegations; ex-aide who brought case had accompanied him to opening of mayor's office in Tijuana in February

      Tijuana media on Monday and Tuesday led with the story of the former City Hall aide who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. Televisa Channel 12 led its 10 p.m. newscast Monday with the story, while El Mexicano newspaper Irene-McCormack-Jackson-Notivisaput the story on its front page on Tuesday. Frontera newspaper also put a picture and headline referencing the story on its front page; its story was on Page 12A.

       High-profile attorney Gloria Allred of Los Angeles said she had filed suit against Filner on behalf of former Filner communications director Irene McCormack Jackson, who said Filner "is not fit to be mayor of our great city. He is not fit to hold any public office.” Jackson said Filner had tried to kiss her and saw "him place his hands where they did not belong on numerous women." Allred said Filner had placed McCormack Jackson in a headlock and had asked her to work without her panties on. Allred said there were witnesses to some of what is being alleged.

In the still taken from the beginning of Monday's 10 p.m. Notivisa newscast, the Spanish translation of Jackson's statement that "The last six months turned out to be the worst time of my entire working life."

       Jackson had actually taken a $50,000 pay cut to work with Filner, leaving a $175,000-a-year job with the Port of San Diego.

      Filner, in a media release, said, "I am saddened by the charges that were leveled against me today. Once due process is allowed to unfold,  I am certain there will be a better understanding of this situation. ... I do not believe these claims are valid."

      After McCormack Jackson came forward, a large number of her former colleagues at the San Diego Union-Tribune expressed their absolute conviction in her integrity and truthfulness.

       In February, McCormack Jackson had accompanied Filner to the Feb. 22 opening of his Tijuana office, in what he had hoped would be the start of a new era of Tijuana-San Diego relations. Filner has made many trips across the border; on July 2, just before the scandal broke, he introduced Tijuana Innovadora founder José "Pepe" Galicot at an event at San Diego's Institute of the Americas.

Filner at IOAirene mccormack jackson at tijuana office opening






At left, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner speaks at the Institute of the Americas in San Diego on July 2, shortly before the sexual harassment allegations story broke. In right photo, at the February opening of Filner's office in Tijuana, Irene McCormack Jackson is in the center of the photo, part of her face obscured by a long camera lens.

Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Frontera's front page. Frontera Page 12A.
Story, Story, Story, KPBS.

Update, July 24: Laura Fink allegations: Frontera reports on the allegations by former Filner deputy campaign manager Laura Fink. She said in an interview with KPBS that at a 2005 fund-raiser, Filner "proceeded to take his hand and pat me on my posterior." Story, Frontera (PDF). Story, U-T San Diego. Note: While the U-T story by Mark Walker says Fink had said the inappropriate touching occurred after someone had commented to Filner that Fink had been "working her ass off for you," in her interview with KPBS she says the person had said "I had worked my tush off for him." KPBS also broke the original sex-harassment story; the Fink interview is titled: "Filner Harassment Scandal Grows As Second Woman Comes Forward."

Update, July 25: Morgan Rose allegations: Frontera reports on allegations by San Diego Unified School District psychologist Morgan Rose, who said Filner, while a congressman, tried to put the moves on her and kiss her four times in 2009. Story, Frontera (PDF).

Update, July 27: Filner says he will get therapy: Filner says he will get two weeks of intense therapy in August. Front-page story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump. Story, Frontera (PDF). Frontera also reported on Thursday's night's Democratic committee's 34-6 vote in favor of Filner resigning. Filner also was the top story on Televisa Channel 12.

jaylenoUpdate, July 31: Frontera reports on how city wants Filner to pay his own expenses to defend himself.

Comedian Jay Leno makes border crosser-Filner joke.

Update, Aug. 1: Frontera (PDF) reports on San Diego refusing to pay for Filner's defense.

Update, Aug. 3: Frontera (PDF) reports on unified effort for Filner recall.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Frontera reports on news conference on Filner sexual harassment allegations, details 'Filner Headlock' and 'El Baile Filner'; Notivisa Tijuana makes Filner its lead story

    Tijuana's Frontera newspaper on Tuesday published a story about Monday's news bob filnerconference where more allegations were laid out against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who is facing widening calls to resign. The story refers to the "Filner Headlock" and "El Baile Filner" (the Filner dance), the first where Filner is said to put his arm around a woman's neck and try to isolate her to make sexual advances; the Filner dance is described as taking place when a woman tries to avoid being kissed by Filner. Story, Frontera (PDF).

     Meanwhile, Notivisa Channel 12 in Tijuana led its 10 p.m. newscast with the news conference. It did not translate former San Diego Councilwoman and former Filner aide Donna Frye's recitation of other women's allegations against Filner, but did translate the comments of Filner defenders at the news conference who sought due process for him. Frontera, Notivisa and El Mexicano all reported that Filner refuses to resign.

     The Frontera and Notivisa stories did not go into some of the detail that U-T San Diego did, where it talks about how one woman was reported to have said she had rebuffed Filner's advances, but then "the mayor quickly had his hand on the inside of her bra and was again trying to put his tongue down her throat." The paper quoted former Filner fiancee Bronwyn Ingram, who announced her breakup with Filner last week, as saying, "Bob recently began texting other women sexually explicit messages and setting up dates while in my presence and within my line of vision." El Mexicano also reported on Ingram's comments on Page 2A (PDF), while mangling her first name; meanwhile, it also ran a Notimex story on the issue on Page 8C (PDF) that did spell her name right.

      U-T San Diego also reported on anonymous letters sent to Filner's mayoral opponent, Republican Carl DeMaio, last fall, that claimed Filner had engaged in similar behavior in his office at the U.S. House of Representatives.

Update, July 17: U-T San Diego reports that the National Women Veterans Association of America will now not give Filner a "Lifetime of Leadership" award Aug. 30 in San Diego. The paper said the association's Facebook page said he is its gala's keynote speaker to raise money to fight "military sexual assault, sexual harassment and violence against women & children." Story, U-T San Diego.

Update, July 18: Frontera's weekly San Diego edition puts Filner story on the cover and on three inside pages. Page 1 (PDF). Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Strikingly, however, the edition had no follow-up story on the July 7 Baja California elections, where Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Francisco Castro Trenti finally conceded to the National Action Party's Francisco Vega on Saturday, July 13.

Update, July 19: Border activist Enrique Morones, who in the fall called Filner San Diego's first Latino mayor, says Filner deserves due process. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Democrats deadlock, 24-24, on what to do about Filner headlock. U-T San Diego.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mexican media follow sexual harassment allegations against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

     El Mexicano on Saturday put on its front page the sexual harassment allegations against Democratic San Diego Mayor Bob Filner that have caused many of his closest supporters to call on him to resign. The story mangled the first name of his former fiancee, Bronwyn Ingram, who recently said they were breaking up.

     The twice-married Filner, who opened an office in Tijuana earlier this year, has been strongly pushing greater binational ties. In a recent talk at the Institute of the Americas, where he introduced Tijuana Innovadora founder José Galicot, Filner continued to push the idea of a San Diego-Tijuana bid for a Summer Olympics, saying that at the least, it would push the two cities to take stock of their infrastructure and see how it needs improving. The sexual harassment allegations were the latest in a series of troubles for Filner, who has often tried to govern with a take-no-prisoners attitude.

       A Mexican politician who faced sexual harassment allegations earlier this year was elected mayor of Rosarito by a wide margin on July 7. Silvano Abarca Macklis, a National Action Party politician who previously served as the city's first mayor, claimed the allegations were politically motivated.
Update: Zeta reports that Abarca Macklis may have fathered a child with a 15-year-old when he was a state official.

Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump (PDF). Story, Frontera (PDF).