Metaphorically-speaking, these are the kind of guys who smoked in the boy's room. They got called to the principal's office. And to this day, you bet, they question authority and the status quo. They are Our City's most influential rebels.
Two words: “Filner headlock.”
And two more: “Filner dance.”
That's how environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez boiled down Filner's treatment of women, noting how Filner would grab them and pull them close and demand kisses or ask them sexually charged questions.
The phrases soon became nationally recognized.
Gonzalez, who joined with Frye and attorney Cory Briggs to initially call for Filner's resignation, said he came up with phrases after victims gave him similar descriptions of Filner's behavior.
"After hearing one woman say 'It was like being put in a headlock' and then hearing another say 'He put his arm around my neck and pulled me close,' it just made sense to come up with a common description,” he said.
He realized they could be “powerful tools” to describe what the women went through, but he had no idea they would resonate so widely.
Gonzalez went out of his comfort zone on the mission to oust Filner. A progressive, he supported the mayor during his election campaign. But Gonzalez is also known for making waves, including his controversial efforts to kill fireworks during the Fourth of July. They harm the environment, he argued.
He also wanted the city of San Diego to pay him more than $750,000 in legal fees over the spat. Um, that went over really well …
However, his creative and memorable terms helped fueled the backlash against Filner and may have even sped his inevitable resignation.
Yes, he was also one of the first to champion Filner's resignation, but Cory Briggs' influence goes beyond that.
Some wish it wouldn't. He's a pain to the establishment.
A lawyer, he's filed a number of lawsuits against big targets, including solar projects, Walmart, the San Diego Convention Center expansion and the City of San Diego (for a number of alleged ills).
If you Google “Cory Briggs” and “lawsuit,” you get more than 5 million hits — a surprisingly low number.
One of his more notable suits is against the city for levying a two percent charge on hotel bills, money that goes to the Tourism Marketing District, in part, to promote San Diego. Briggs claims it's an illegal tax.
Bob Filner, when mayor, wanted assurances from the hotels that they would refund the money spent should Briggs be successful. Many wouldn't agree, which caused all sorts of funding problems for the San Diego Tourism Authority, which gets its money from the TMD.
In July of last year, it laid off 31 workers — 40 percent of its staff.
Darren Pudgil, the Tourism Authority's spokesman and one of those let go, Tweeted that day: “@briggs due to your pending frivolous lawsuit challenging the TMD, the Tourism Authority just laid off 31 employees – moms and dads…”
Briggs responded to Pudgil's Tweet, “Every defendant’s definition of ‘frivolous lawsuit’ = a lawsuit that might succeed.”
Yes, he's influential. And, yes, some might very well have voodoo dolls of him because of it.