March 27 2011 09:41 AM

Democratic congressman breaks news at Freedom Riders film screening

filnerr
The Congressman as a young, arrested activist

U.S. Rep. Bob Filner told a crowd at the Central Public Library on Sunday afternoon that he's running for San Diego mayor in 2012.

Jason Packman, a San Diego State University graduate student, broke the news on Twitter live from a screening of a documentary about the 1961 civil-rights activists known as the "Freedom Riders." Filner, a Democrat, was one of the activists arrested during the protests and he made the announcement during the post-screening Q&A session.

Packman tells CityBeat that Filner was visibly moved by the film. After answering a question about contemporary activism, Filner said something along the lines of, "Should I tell you? Yes, I'm running for mayor."

Filner is the first Democrat to publicly announce for the 2012 mayor's race (click here for the running list). 

We have, of course, left a message with his office.

UPDATE: A lot of different immediate reactions to the news. Some pundits teased about how it wasn't the most elegant of campaign roll-outs. Indeed, Packman told us that it seemed like an impromptu disclosure more than anything, which seems in keeping with Filner's off-the-cuff style.

We're still waiting for a response from Filner's office, but Packman, who is working on a Master's in linguistics, was very clear about what he heard Filner say. (Packman already holds a Master's in Pacific International Affairs from UC San Diego's School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, in case you were wondering.) Our story was not based solely of Packman's tweet: Rather we made the guy repeat what he heard over and over again over the phone within minutes of his Tweet. Here's Packman's own blog post about the event.

Shortly after the story went live, writer Walter Meyer began posting to Facebook that the story was not true, because he too was at the event. CityBeat has since confirmed that Meyer attended Filner's Thursday appearance, not the Sunday event where Filner made the remark.

But if there's any remaining doubt of Filner's intentions, Labor Council CEO Lorena Gonzalez said she was surprised that his announcement would be news.

"He has told many of us he was running. I assumed everyone knew it was real," she said on Twitter.

Note: I've had to update the update a few times as more information has come in. As of 9:00 a.m., Monday March 28, this is to our knowledge accurate.


Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28