San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who has resisted calls to resign over allegations he groped and made suggestive comments toward women, came under increasing pressure this week as fellow Democrats urged him to quit and as talk emerged of a recall campaign.
Filner drew fire as leader of California’s second-largest city last week after a former city councilwoman and two lawyers held a news conference to say at least one woman has accused the mayor of improper behavior.
A 70-year-old Democrat in a city that historically leans conservative, Filner later admitted to behaving inappropriately toward female staff members but indicated he would not step aside, saying he wanted to prove he was “capable of change.”
In recent days, prominent local Democrats have publicly urged him to quit. A Republican foe, describing Filner as “ineffective,” said on Friday he would attempt a recall but that the sexual harassment allegations would not be the main focus.
“I don’t want to detract from what we’re doing, all we’re trying to do is clean house and this is one of many charges leveled against him,” said Michael Pallamary, 59, who in 1991 led a successful recall effort against a San Diego city councilwoman.
Filner had become a polarizing figure in San Diego before the current controversy. He has clashed with the city attorney over policies for medical marijuana and with the hotel industry over the city’s share of tourism advertising.
To force a recall election, Pallamary’s group will need to collect 101,000 signatures in 39 days after publishing a notice of its intent to recall Filner, a clock that has not yet started.
The calls for Filner’s resignation began last week when former San Diego Democratic city councilwoman Donna Frye and two attorneys announced that at least one woman, whom they did not name, had provided them details of his alleged inappropriate behavior.