SAN DIEGO - Even before Bob Filner was elected mayor of San Diego, his opponents criticized his sometimes aggressive behavior. Is this what the mayor's office needs or could it undermine progress?
"I think early on he may be trying to establish that he will not be an easy pushover," said political analyst Carl Luna, Ph.D.
Filner certainly did not back down last week. He confronted San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria, saying, by city rules, the two needed to come to an agreement on certain government appointments and that he wanted to deal with it then and there.
Gloria, saying he was happy to resolve the issue, told Filner, "Mr. Mayor, I'm sorry. I'm running the council meeting at this time."
Filner responded, "Then give it to somebody else to run."
The two left the meeting for 30 minutes, came back with no agreement and then resolved their differences days later.
Also last week, Filner said he would take on City Attorney Jan Goldsmith for prosecuting local marijuana dispensaries. Goldsmith said all Filner had to do to make it stop was put it in writing, which Filner did.
None of this, Luna says, is cause for alarm.
"Because the mayor has a different leadership style does not necessarily mean he's going to be less effective than previous mayors," Luna said.
Filner's hard-charging style was the subject of his opponent's attack ads during the campaign.
"Bob Filner was Bob Filner before the election," said Luna. "Now, he's Bob Filner after the election."
The party affiliation of the person on the receiving end does not seem to matter. Gloria is a fellow Democrat.
"Mayor Filner is able to unite beyond partisan lines that he can annoy people on both sides of the spectrum," said Luna.
Is there any downside to Filner's leadership style?
"The mayor does not want his early narrative to become animosity with the city council, so the mayor has a window of opportunity to learn to deal with the council and vice versa before it becomes a major source of public debate," said Luna.
He said Filner's style works on Capitol Hill where it is harder to get attention but as mayor, he will be more closely scrutinized here.