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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner agrees to resign amid sex harassment scandal

Friday, August 23

SAN DIEGO — Mayor Bob Filner agreed Friday to resign on Aug. 30, bowing to enormous pressure after lurid sexual harassment allegations brought by at least 17 women eroded his support less than nine months on the job.

Filner was regretful and defiant during a City Council meeting as he explained the “the toughest decision of my life.” He apologized to his accusers but insisted he was innocent of sexual harassment and said he was the victim of a “lynch mob.”

“The city should not have to go through this, and my own personal failures were responsible and I apologize to the city,” Filner said after the council voted 7-0 on a deal that ended a political stalemate after more than a dozen women publicly identified themselves as targets of unwanted advances, including touching, forcible kisses and lurid comments.

“To all the women that I’ve offended, I had no intention to be offensive, to violate any physical or emotional space,” he said. “I was trying to establish personal relationships but the combination of awkwardness and hubris led to behavior that I think many found offensive.”

The city will pay Filner’s legal fees in a joint defense of a lawsuit filed by the mayor’s former communications director and pay for any settlement costs assessed against the mayor except for punitive damages, said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. The city would also pay up to $98,000 if Filner wants to hire his own attorney.

Goldsmith said the city was obligated to provide his legal defense no matter what.

Filner, backed by a sometimes boisterous crowd of supporters, challenged the City Council to pursue a laundry list of his policy initiatives, ranging from addressing climate change to bringing the Olympic Games to the region. He warned of dire consequences if his priorities are ignored by well-entrenched power brokers.

“I am responsible for providing the ammunition,” he said. “I did that and I take full responsibility, but there are well-organized interests who have run this city for 50 years who pointed the gun, and the media and their political agents pulled the trigger.”

Filner choked up as he apologized to his former fiancee, Bronwyn Ingram, who ended the relationship just before the scandal erupted and called for him to resign.

“I love you very much. You came to love San Diego as much as I did and you did memorable things in the short time that you were first lady,” he said.

The 70-year-old Filner, a liberal Democrat, served 20 years in Congress before becoming mayor of the nation’s eighth-largest city.

He had previously insisted he still could be an effective mayor and underwent two weeks of behavioral therapy before returning to work this week.

But his support diminished as more women — one of them a great-grandmother and another a retired Navy admiral — came forward.

Some of Filner’s closest political allies and all nine members of the council called on him to quit.

On Friday, just before the council vote, the Democratic National Committee took the extraordinary step of passing a resolution demanding Filner leave.

by Anonymousreply 1008/24/2013

Finally! It'll cost the city a chunk of money. But the recall and liability threats against the city would probably have cost more. I'm just glad the creep is gone.

by Anonymousreply 108/24/2013

70, huh? Did any doctors check the guy for early stage dementia? His behavior is in line with that. I didn't realize he was that old.

by Anonymousreply 208/24/2013

I am sure they checked that out when he was on his recreational 2-week retreat. Llegedly though he was showing bad behaviors for years (since 2005?). Don't think anyone considered it pathological until now. Doesn't dementia progress faster than this?

by Anonymousreply 308/24/2013

He's the first Democratic mayor in a long time in SD and the last one for a long time.

by Anonymousreply 408/24/2013


Dementia could have started that long ago with him.

As someone said on the other thread, two other factors also support the possibility:

First, he isn't exactly particular in the women he tries it on. It's doubtful his behavior is based on any sexual attraction.

Second, there's no follow up. He makes an inappropriate comment around someone and then that's the end of it, unless they happen to have to be in his company again. It's like it's a breakdown in his mental filter.

And yes, dementia can definitely start out with very minor symptoms and simmer for years before coming to a boil, without anyone nearby realizing it. It's happened in my own family, sadly, though luckily not with this kind of behavior.

Seriously, I hope he seeks out a neurologist.

by Anonymousreply 508/24/2013

Disappointing, R4.

by Anonymousreply 608/24/2013

The world of a heterosexual is a sick and boring life.

by Anonymousreply 708/24/2013

At least ours is sick and exciting!

by Anonymousreply 808/24/2013

I'm just shocked that these supposed 'strong, modern women' didn't take care of the situation at the time it happened. One of the women was a counseler for sexual abuse for god's sake!

He deserves to go, but I'm disappointed women are don't know how to handle the situations at the time.

by Anonymousreply 908/24/2013

I think, R9, that at least one of the victims weighed her options and made the decision to initially not come forward. As San Diego had not had a democratic mayor in so long, I believe that she said something to the effect of she put the incident behind her for the 'greater good'. She believed that it was an isolated event and that more good would be accomplished for the people of San Diego by leaving Filner in office than by punishing him as an individual and pretty much turning San Diego back over to Republican control.

by Anonymousreply 1008/24/2013
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