“Bob Filner’s Knee-Jerk Hispanic Support”
Democrat Mayor Bob Filner of San Diego stood at the speaker’s microphone. He apologized for his behavior with women. Then he lashed out at his critics and the 70% of San Diegans (including Mexican Americans) who demanded his resignation. He called them, the media and ordinary citizens a “lynch mob” denying him “due process.” When he ended his 15-minute combination “mea culpa” and attack, he was greeted with scattered applause in the packed city council chambers.
Leading it was prominent San Diego Border activist Enrique Morones, Filner’s most outspoken supporter throughout the several weeks of allegations. Morones and many of his Hispanic activist colleagues supported Filner vigorously, loudly with two words “due process” over and over.
Morones and his colleagues insist that Filner’s record that started with the San Diego Board of Education, the San Diego City Council and 20 years in Congress was always supportive of what Morones calls “communities of color” especially the Hispanic community 95% of which has a Mexican background. Is it Hispanic political myopia rooted in profound mislaid loyalty to Democrats like Filner or is it political blindness deeply seated in the word “Democrat” that motivates this support. When real life issues present themselves that affect Mexican Americans where did Filner stand?
Certainly, Filner made it a point to hire some Hispanic and Black employees on his congressional staff but not in important positions. His last Chief of Staff – a White D.C. woman lawyer. When his San Diego Chief of Staff, an old government hand and labor union guy resigned over allegations against Filner, whom did Filner call, Master Degreed Morones? No. The same White woman lawyer who was in Washington, not San Diego. Her words: “Due Process.” She tried to claim attorney-client privilege in her discussions with Filner as his Chief-of-staff. Legal garbage ruled the independently elected City Attorney.
While negotiations for resignation were ongoing, Enrique Morones and his friends were standing in front of television news camera demanding “due process” for Filner and attacking Filner critics because they had not proven their allegations and “smears.” Enrique obviously didn’t know Filner well.
When first elected to Congress Filner faced two major issues in 1993; first was a Clinton tax increase that was arguably the largest tax increase in history for which he voted and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Filner’s congressional district included 97% of the California border with Mexico. The southern part of San Diego City and County east to all of Imperial County to Arizona with a population of over 50% Mexican American made Filner’s district the most populous industrial and agricultural one on the border adjoining a large Mexican city.
Billions of dollars of commerce cross the border in each direction every day as do hundreds of thousands of people every week. NAFTA, a duty free agreement dropping tariffs on American goods entering Mexico and eliminating tariffs on Mexican goods crossing north was designed to increase trade between the two countries (and Canada) which by its very nature created more jobs in both countries. Filner’s district was destined to benefit the most of any district on the border; thousands of new jobs, millions in trade were predicted for his district. The only survey done of Mexican Americans in the US concluded that 80% of them supported NAFTA.
Not by Filner, however. The AFL/CIO and member unions were totally against NAFTA; they were part of what became the racist anti-Mexican campaign led by the Halloween Coalition of Jesse Jackson, Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot and the AFL/CIO. The campaign was vicious against NAFTA and trade with Mexico, it was highlighted by Ross Perot’s war cry that the “Giant sucking sound” of jobs going to Mexico.”
Bob Filner was right there doing what his campaign contributors in the unions told him to do. He betrayed his district, he betrayed the majority Mexican Americans in his district and he betrayed the entire industrial complex of the San Diego/Tijuana trading area that is built by thousands upon thousands of jobs on both sides of the border that feed trade across the border that makes the area the most industrialized bi-national area in the entire world.
Filner betrayed his city and district by voting no on NAFTA. Despite that, Mexican Americans supported him for Mayor. He won only because he carried their vote. They forgot that councilman Filner refused to pave dirt alleys in the barrio while pushing a $90 million dollar bridge in the northern White part of the city. They apparently couldn’t count past ten when 18 different women complained publically about his rude and molesting behavior. They stayed loyal even as he resigned.
As he walked away from the microphone, there were Mexican Americans thanking him; it was clear that these True Believers simply were blind to his political back-stabbing orchestrated by the American union leadership’s dollars. Ironically, the last two standing supporters of Mayor Filner were some Mexicans Americans and union leadership that stabbed the very same Mexicans in the back with Filner’s help. ###
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