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Pressure intensifies on San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to resign

Pete Wilson, a former San Diego mayor, has added his voice to those calling on Bob Filner to resign as a recall effort gets under way Sunday. Filner shows no signs of leaving office despite disgrace.

By Staff writer / August 16, 2013

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner speaks during a news conference at City Hall, July 26, 2013, in San Diego.

Gregory Bull/AP

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The pressure on San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to resign just keeps getting more intense.

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Brad Knickerbocker is a staff writer and editor based in Ashland, Oregon.

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Peggy Shannon, a volunteer city worker who assists senior citizens, said Thursday that Mayor Filner – already accused by more than a dozen women of inappropriate conduct – repeatedly asked her to rub his hands, requested dates, and made sexually suggestive comments so upsetting she went home and cried.

Meanwhile, the list of prominent officials calling on Filner to step down continues to grow.

Former San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson (who also served two terms each as California governor and a US senator) says Filner “has rendered himself unable to fulfill the obligations of his office.”

“It has been all consuming, and I have no idea whether we’ve seen the last of it yet,” Mr. Wilson told U-T San Diego (the newspaper formerly known as the San Diego Union-Tribune) earlier this week. “He has not brought any credit to himself or his office. I think the people of San Diego deserve a better representative.”

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of California, who had called Filner’s behavior toward women “reprehensible,” now says her fellow Democrat should resign.

“Mayor Filner is out of rehab, he should be out of the Mayor’s office – should not subject San Diegans to pain & expense of a recall,” the San Francisco Democrat tweeted Thursday.

Among others who have told Filner he should resign are California’s two Democratic US senators (Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer), all nine members of the San Diego City Council, and both the Democratic Party of San Diego and Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a US representative from Florida.

In a public apology last month, Filner conceded that his conduct had been “inappropriate and wrong.”

“You have every right to be disappointed in me,” he said in his videotaped apology. “I only ask that you give me an opportunity to prove I am capable of change.” 
 
He entered what he called two weeks of “intensive therapy,” but he has made no public comment since that ended last weekend.

Whether or not Filner’s therapy will have a positive, lasting effect on the mayor’s attitude and behavior toward women, critics say it's way past time to allow for any capability for change.

At a “Freedom from Filner” rally at City Hall on Sunday, organizers of a recall effort will begin gathering the 101,597 signatures needed for a ballot measure that could oust Filner from office. They have 39 days (with a possible extension of 30 days) to do so.

Through his lawyers, Filner on Monday issued a statement in response to the recall stating, “As your Mayor, I am committed to moving San Diego forward!”

But if Filner continues to hang on, a formal recall may not be necessary to oust him.

Federal, state, and local investigators have been gathering information and building cases against Filner for financial issues, U-T San Diego reports.

“Filner has been under scrutiny for a number of questionable financial moves including an unannounced June trip to France, civic donations from developers related to certain projects and, most recently, his use of a city-issued credit card,” the newspaper reported. “Records released Thursday related to the credit card charges racked up by Filner and his assistant show he failed to submit proper documentation to allow the city to pay off the card and that put the city’s credit rating at risk.”

In a memo this week, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the City Council could ask a judge to remove the mayor from office under the city charter if he “willfully approves or allows unauthorized payments from the city treasury.”

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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