Fresh From Rehab, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Digs In Heels

'You Look So Beautiful' Pol Resists Calls To Step Down

It’s Intense: San Diego Mayor Bob Filner says he’s ready to continue his term after attending ‘intensive’ sex harassment therapy.
getty images
It’s Intense: San Diego Mayor Bob Filner says he’s ready to continue his term after attending ‘intensive’ sex harassment therapy.

By Reuters

Published August 13, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, in his first public statement since taking a leave of absence to enter sexual harassment therapy, refused to bow to a campaign seeking his ouster through a recall election, touting his accomplishments in office instead.

“Now is not the time to go backwards,” Filner declared in a formal answer to opponents’ notice of their intention to file a recall petition with the city clerk’s office. “We need to continue to move forward.”

The brief letter was released by his lawyers late on Monday, just before a midnight deadline for the formal rebuttal to the bipartisan recall drive, which has been spearheaded by a Republican activist and a Democratic publisher of a gay and lesbian newspaper.

Filner’s statement made no explicit mention of the sexual harassment scandal that has engulfed the 70-year-old Democrat and former U.S. congressman eight months after he took office as mayor of California’s second-largest city.

Instead, it highlighted Filner’s efforts to revitalize parts of the city outside its downtown area and his role in negotiating a new labor contract with municipal employees.

It was Filner’s first public comment since he announced July 26 that he was taking a break from office to undergo two weeks of intensive behavioral counseling to deal with what he called a pattern of disrespectful and “intimidating” treatment of women.

By then, more than half a dozen women had publicly accused Filner of groping and making other unwanted sexual advances toward them, starting with a former press secretary who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the mayor and the city.

The number of women coming with sexual harassment allegations against Filner has since doubled. The allegations against him span nine years, dating to his long tenure as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Filner’s lawyers said during the weekend that he was completing his therapy on Saturday - about 10 days earlier than originally planned - but would continue counseling on an outpatient basis while remaining on personal leave for another week.

Nearly every elected official in San Diego has called on Filner to resign, including all nine City Council members, numerous state legislators, members of California’s congressional delegation and the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee.

RECALL CAMPAIGN GAINS STEAM

The city last month brought its own lawsuit against the mayor, seeking to recover any damages the municipal government might incur in litigation against Filner. The City Council also unanimously voted to deny Filner’s request for San Diego to assume his legal expenses in the case.

On Tuesday, Filner’s chief of staff, Lee Burdick, said the scandal would curtail the mayor’s ability to pursue his policy objectives as aggressively as he might have otherwise.

“We’re not going to be able to powerhouse through our agenda any more,” she told a luncheon meeting of local business and civic leaders. “The way we will get things done is bring forward policy and programs that are win-win for everyone.”

The recall campaign began in July and gained strength when two critics from opposite ends of the political spectrum joined forces in early August - Republican Michael Pallmary, a professional land surveyor from the wealthy San Diego enclave of La Jolla, and Democrat Stampp Corbin, a gay African-American publisher of the San Diego LGBT Weekly.

To qualify for the ballot under the city charter, recall advocates must collect roughly 102,000 valid signatures for their petition within 39 days, starting on Aug. 18, according to Joshua Spivak, a senior fellow at the Hugh L. Carey Institute on Government Reform and editor of the Recall Elections blog.

He said San Diego recall proponents would likely find that hard to do and that few recall efforts nationally have managed six-figure signature tallies in qualifying for the ballot.

The handful that did, he said, included the failed bid to recall Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the recall that ousted then-California Governor Gray Davis, a Democrat, and elected Hollywood film star Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, in his place.

Those campaigns also had much more time than San Diego’s mayoral opponents - between 120 and 160 days - to gather the required petition signatures statewide, Spivak said. He said the city’s recall ordinance was also riddled with “litigation traps” that could drag out the overall process.

If a recall election is authorized, voters will be asked two questions - whether or not to remove Filner, and who they like best to replace him from the list of candidates who have qualified to oppose him.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.