Lessons from ex-San Diego Mayor Filner's sex harassment scandal

Third, it behooves every reporter and interested citizen to ask every potential elected official whether he or she has ever been accused of sexual harassment or discrimination, or trained to recognize it and prevent it. Get 'em on the record.

(It may not have made a difference for Mayor Headlock, since he remained in denial about the severity of his behavior until the bitter end. I wish I’d thought to raise the issue with tea party darling Herman Cain, whose long-shot 2012 presidential candidacy eventually collapsed under the weight of sexual harassment claims stemming from his stint in the late 1990s as head of the National Restaurant Assn. His evasions and denials might not have lasted so long if the question had simply been asked early on.)

Earlier this month, the Voice of San Diego website and its media partner, the TV station NBC7, smartly posed those questions to the three men who are running in a special election to replace Filner. All of them said they had undergone harassment training and had never been accused of sexually harassing anyone.

Good for them. But even better for the scandal-weary citizens San Diego.

[For the record, 10:06 a.m., Oct. 16: An earlier version of this post misidentified the former press secretary for Filner. She is Irene McCormack Jackson, not Johnson.]


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