People in San Diego are treating the Bob Filner story as a Bob Filner problem. But the longer it goes on, the more it looks like a San Diego problem.

Essentially, this is a hostage situation. The mayor has taken the city hostage. Nothing can get done. Major jobs around the city government sit vacant. Major deals aren’t making progress. He obviously needs to go.

What’s amazing – and incredibly disappointing if you care about San Diego and California – is that no one seems able to end the hostage crisis.

This isn’t terribly surprising of course. San Diego has a famously weak civic culture, even by California standards. But it’s remarkable that we haven’t seen collective action by civic leaders there. Or maybe not that remarkable – these are the folks who put Filner in office, despite a startling large number of people having had knowledge of his behavior. (Do people just not talk to each other in San Diego?).

Perhaps one reason there hasn’t been a better organized effort to end the hostage crisis is that San Diegans don’t know what to do in this situation (though you would think they would, after Mayor Murphy). So here’s a playbook. You get together business leaders, labor leaders, political donors, and key players from neighborhoods across the city. You go find Filner – in his office, or at his home. And you corner him.

“Mayor, you’re done,” you say. “We can’t work with you. We won’t work with you. Your presence is damaging for the city. We’re not leaving until you resign.” If necessary, there can be a carrot – a well-paid job somewhere that involves little professional contact with other people, and none with women.

And if he still won’t quit and calls the police, then what?

Well, this is San Diego, right? Aren’t there enough Navy SEALs around to perform an extraction?