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Collins: Warm weather, beaches and a sex scandal

  • San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye reads a statement from an accuser of Mayor Bob Filner during a news conference calling for the mayor's resignation in San Diego, Monday, July 15, 2013. Filner is accused of sexual misconduct. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Political sex scandals are much more enjoyable when you weren't rooting for the politician.

This brings us to San Diego. I know you were dying to be brought to San Diego, people. How could you not? It has such wonderful weather.

Also, terrible government. The public pension system is billions of dollars in the hole. Fire services are underfunded, and Southern California is not a place where you want to scrimp on fire services.

In November, for the first time in forever, San Diego voters elected a liberal Democrat as mayor. Bob Filner, a longtime congressman, ran as a champion of city neighborhoods, which always got short shrift from a government fixated on downtown business interests. "This is a town where the hoteliers have treated City Hall as their personal ATM machine," said Steve Erie, a professor of political science at UC San Diego.

Filner, 70, was just beginning what was supposed to be a war to shift resources from the big guys to the little people. Then, this past week, some of his prominent supporters called for his resignation, claiming he had sexually harassed staff members and campaign volunteers.

The complainants, who reportedly include a 72-year-old constituent, have not yet come forward in public. Filner says he's not going anywhere. But when the politician's first defense is "I'm a hugger," it does not necessarily bode well.

Things couldn't get much worse. San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the nation. Reforming it while fighting charges that you regularly grabbed women by the buttocks or put them into a "Filner headlock" seems close to impossible.

The nation is always going to have political sex crises, but, in a perfect world, we would confine them to Congress. The only thing you really need members of Congress to do is vote the way you want them to. They can be a day away from indictment or as crazy as a loon and it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.

For instance, you may be totally unaware that this past week we got a new chapter in the story of the private life of Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee. His saga went like this:

; Congressman gets caught sending a lovey-dovey text to an aspiring swimsuit model.


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