High profile San Diegans including former city councilwoman Donna Frye called for Mayor Bob Filner to resign due to allegations of sexual harassment. In a news conference on July 11, a tearful Frye said several women have talked with her and provided credible evidence.
“I believe what they have told me, and they need to know that they are not alone. There are people who support and care about them,” Frye said at a news conference. At one time one of his strongest supporters, Frye briefly served as the mayor’s Open Government Director.
“There is no doubt in my mind that these allegations are true.” At the news conference Thursday, Frye called the act of writing the letter she sent to the mayor on July 9 difficult. “I did not make this request lightly,” she said. “It was one of the hardest decisions I have made.”
In the letter to the mayor Frye said, “Despite past rumors, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt. “However those who have spoken to me recently would not make the allegations lightly or without cause and I believe them. I cannot in good conscience remain silent even if those who have spoken to me chose to do so out of fear of retribution or the possibility of a media circus where they could be twice victimized.”
Also part of the news conference was former supporter attorney Marco Gonzalez. Gonzalez met with the mayor about complaints in the past but will not reveal the details of those meetings.
“At our recent meeting I was of the impression that you understood the gravity of the circumstances surrounding your treatment of staff, and in particular, the women who work for you in the Office of the Mayor.”
He urged other women including people sitting in the office, the reporter pool and those who worked on the campaign that feel they too had been victims of the alleged behavior contact his office.
“There comes a tipping point. There comes a point where rumor becomes fact. There comes a point where speculation becomes reality,” Gonzalez said during the press conference. “There comes a point where we can longer simply say that’s just a rumor. We reached that point.”
Over the years Filner, who served 10 terms as a U.S. Congressman has been plagued by resignations by staff. Recently Filner has had several resignations among his mayoral staff, including the deputy chief of staff and the communications director.
Allen Jones, the longtime ally of Mayor Bob Filner, the one who set up his transition to mayor and worked as his deputy chief of staff said he resigned because of the mayor’s repeated humiliation of members of his staff.
“On a number of occasions, I talked about how I thought the way the mayor interacted with and treated mayoral staff and members of boards and commissions and others was demeaning and abusive. And it, most importantly, undermined his ability to pursue the progressive agenda he campaigned on,” Jones said to the media on June 28.
He went on to explain, “When I see mayor’s staff treated in that demeaning of a manner so often, if I remained, I believed I was being complicit in sustaining that abusive environment and I can’t do that.”
Filner and his staff are not currently commenting about the allegations of sexual harassment or workplace bullying/abuse.