Mayor Bob Filner of San Diego, currently facing allegations of sexual harassment, is watching as efforts to rally support for and against him play out.
Station nbcsandiego reports that the mayor will no longer be honored at a benefit for sex assault victims, and cite allegations of groping, kissing and offensive language in the workplace.
Spokesperson for the National Women Veterans Association of America, Tara Jones, stated the organization had intended to give Filner a Lifetime of Achievement Award, but changed their minds on Thursday when the mayor publicly stated he was disrespectful towards and even intimidated women. Said Jones:
“He has admitted to having inappropriate behavior, we just don’t know to what extent that behavior is.”
Organizers still want Filner to be a keynote speaker.
Local station CBS8 is reporting land use consultant Michael Pallamary, is looking to collect nearly 102,000 valid signatures to put a recall election on the ballot. A Facebook page for the recall of Filner, started last month, currently has over 5,100 “likes.”
Pallamary’s efforts to recall the mayor rely on information they say involves two constituents and a city employee who used to work in the mayor’s office. Other local office-holders, many Democrats like Filner, are joining the cry for the mayor to step down.
Yesterday, there were about 30 Filner supporters demanding due process rights for the mayor at a news conference held at the Civic Center Plaza.
The mayor, according to media, was previously involved a policy change on a Kearny Mesa apartment complex after the developer donated $100,000 to the city. The FBI is investigating the transaction, according to published reports, but the money was returned.
As reported in the Examiner previously the mayor’s former fiancée, Bronwyn Ingram, told a local station that she recently broke off their engagement because he was verbally abusive toward her and blatantly sent sexually explicit text messages to other women.
Filner has been told to avoid closed-door meetings with women, including his own staffers, according to a Fox News report, and the NY Times is reporting Filner’s name right alongside the likes of Eliot Spitzer to Anthony D. Weiner, public officials seeking forgiveness in dealing with what the writer calls “unsettling sexual misconduct allegations.”
Both Spitzer and Weiner resigned and then returned to ask forgiveness at the ballot box. Filner says he will not resign.
The accusations made about Mayor Filner, states the New York Times, described allegations by former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. Said Gonzalez:
“I am devastated. Until this happened last week, I would have told you we have the most progressive big-city mayor in America. We worked incredibly hard.”
But Gonzalez, after talking to women who she said worked in Filner’s office and had described his linking job advancement to sexual favor, added:
“Before that I had heard about his boorish behavior, generational behavior. Inappropriate. But I had not heard anything to make me think he was unfit to be mayor.”
And Representative Susan A. Davis, a Democrat from San Diego, states:
“Mayor Filner has lost the confidence of San Diegans to lead. He has taken advantage of the trust the voters placed in him and lost both the promise and capacity to ignite positive change. His behavior, if not illegal, is reprehensible.”
Representative Scott Peters is also calling on Filner to resign. Peters said he left a voice mail message offering assistance on the transition, but Filner had not returned his call as of July 16. Peters told the Times:
“I am pretty shocked. I am angry and really sad for our city because we have a lot of work to do.”
Donna Frye, a former member of the City Council who once worked for Filner, stated at a news conference she had heard from women, including workers and constituents, about a Filner pattern:
“The mayor’s pattern of behavior has become clear to me. It begins with checking a woman’s availability through asking her about a spouse or a boyfriend, then isolating the women somewhere off where they can talk. He then requests dinner, a later meeting, making unwanted sexual comments or physically imposing himself upon her.”