Filner preparing City Hall comeback amid recall drive; Coastal Commission power play; Mulling L.A.’s murals

Written by

Official portrait of Bob Filner, mayor of San Diego

todaysnewsbanner2

Filner saga. Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is expected to return to work either today or tomorrow after two weeks of behavioral therapy. Protestors will be waiting for the mayor, who’s accused of sexually harassing more than a dozen women and committing other offenses.

A petition drive to recall Filner launched yesterday. Backers have an uphill battle on their hands. They need to collect 101,000 signatures in the next 38 days to force a recall vote – about one of every six registered voters in the city.

Recall organizer Dave McCulloch told San Diego’s Channel 8 TV that more than 1,000 volunteers have signed on to gather signatures.

“We are going to be everywhere: we are going to be at sporting events, art shows. You name it, we’ll be out there,” McCulloch said.

Even if opponents collect the required signatures the recall effort could be challenged in court.

Filner, a liberal Democrat who served 10 terms in Congress, has defied a growing chorus of voices calling for his resignation. He’s accused of harassing 16 women, including a Navy admiral, city business leaders and a dean at San Diego State University. Other allegations include shaking down developers and misusing his city credit card. KFMB

Coastal enforcement. A debate over the power of the California Coastal Commission is expected to come to a head this week in the state Legislature. The Senate is considering a bill that would allow the commission to levy fines, much like other state agencies. Proponents say the commission’s rulings lack teeth because the agency must go to court to collect penalties from developers who damage coastal habitat, homeowners who block access to the beach as well as other violations of the state Coastal Act. Business groups oppose the bill. They say the Coastal Commission already has too much power. A close vote is expected. L.A. Times

Food aid. California has more residents eligible for food stamps than any other state – but it ranks last in the U.S. when it comes to enrolling people in the food assistance program. Only about half of the 5.8 million people who are entitled to food stamps in California are getting them. California’s 55 percent enrollment rate compares to 80 or 90 percent in other states. The L.A. Times says confusing applications, onerous paperwork and unhelpful county benefits offices all contribute to California’s low enrollment rates. The federal government foots the bill for the $74 billion-a-year food stamp program. It’s administered by the states, which get an economic boost when people have more money to spend on groceries. L.A. Times

Mural moves. The L.A. City Council will take up the debate over murals tomorrow – an issue that touches on freedom of expression, property rights, aesthetics and blight. The council is considering a bill that would toss out the city’s current mural ban and replace it with policies making it easier to put up works of art on private property. One controversial proposal would also allow homeowners to paint murals on their houses. Another idea being floated is to allow murals, while creating mural-free zones in some neighborhoods. Curbed L.A.

Blue streak. A 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies ended the Dodgers 10-game winning streak last night. But the red-hot Dodgers aren’t exactly fretting. The club is in the midst of a historical run of success. Before yesterday’s loss, the Dodgers had gone 42-8, the third best 50-game stretch in major league history – and the best since the St. Louis Cardinals in 1942. The Dodgers are now 25-4 since the All Star break and lead the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks by 7-and-a-half games. CBS Sports