Live: Filner resigns, says he’s victim of witch hunt
Bob Filner will step down effective Aug. 30 as mayor of San Diego after the City Council Friday approved an agreement involving a sexual harassment case brought against Filner and the city by his former director of communications.
In a 7-0 vote, the council approved the deal in a closed session Friday afternoon, six weeks after the first allegations surfaced against the 70-year-old Democrat. As the scandal unfolded, nearly 20 women publicly accused the former congressman of sexual harassment.
3:55 p.m.: Filner says no sexual harassment allegations were proven in court or independently verified.
3:56 p.m.: Filner resigns, but defiant: “I have never sexually harassed anyone.” Accused city, media of lynch-mob mentality.
4 p.m.: Filner: “If given due process I would be vindicated.”
4:01 p.m.: “I am not perfect,” Filner says. “I made a lot of mistakes.” But he says he will not give up. “The dreams shall never die.”
4:03 p.m.: City Atty. Jan Goldsmith explains law: “The city is strictly liable for harassment of city employees by their supervisors, and that includes the mayor.”
4:05 p.m.: Filner: “We have not tapped full strength of the diversity of this community. We are stronger when we include everybody.”
4:11 p.m.: City Attorney: Key job was to protect city workers.
4:13 p.m.: City Attorney: I stand by this agreement and i hope we can bring some stability to our community.
4:15 p.m.: City Attorney: It’s shorter, cheaper, faster, better for San Diego residents for Filner to resign rather than be recalled.
Earlier in the day, a series of speakers addressed the City Council before it entered closed session about 2 p.m.
Joan Raymond, a retired garbage truck driver, expressed support for Filner and urged the council to let San Diego voters decide his fate, calling fears of civic paralysis overblown.
“It’s the city workers in the field that make the city run 24/7. Our water is still being delivered. Our toilets are still flushing. Our trash is still being picked up despite this political hysteria,” Raymond said.
Laura Fink, one of Filner’s accusers, pressed for his ouster, telling council members: “Today I stand shoulder to shoulder with the other women that have come forward asking for the mayor to resign .… Without the mayor’s resignation, our city will continue to be paralyzed with this scandal, progress will be arrested, and our focus will continue to be monopolized by this dark chapter in our history.”
David Ross, a San Diego resident who has known Filner for 15 years, argued that the city should allow the recall process to take place.
“This individual allegedly has done some things that are reprehensible in his representation of this city,” Ross said of Filner. “Now it has yet to be proven in court. In the meantime, you don’t pay someone on the way out with a golden parachute …. So do the right thing and let’s wait for this recall to talk for the people.”
Migrant rights activist Enrique Morones defended the mayor in stark terms.
“When my children ask me where were you when the public lynching of Mayor Filner took place, I will tell them I was not an accessory,” Morones said. “I stood at the side of a man, Bob Filner, who stood on the side of us for 40 years. He has dedicated his lifetime to serving the oppressed.”
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