Another high-profile press conference and another declaration from the mayor came and went Monday, leaving the city with an escalating standoff between two sides that are digging in deeper and deeper.

According to three prominent progressive activists, the mayor jammed his tongue down the throat of a supporter and reached under her bra, kissed another constituent at the end of a City Hall meeting and grabbed the buttocks and chest of one of his employees.

“Bob Filner is tragically unsafe for any woman to approach,” said former City Councilwoman Donna Frye at a packed Monday news conference outside City Hall. “Again this morning, we call on the mayor to resign.”

Filner has made it increasingly clear he’s going to do no such thing.

Before the press conference, Filner released his most defiant statement yet on the allegations against him, saying he’s entitled to the opportunity to respond to specific allegations against him in a fair and impartial venue.

“I do not believe I am guilty of sexual harassment, and I believe a full presentation of the facts will vindicate me,” Filner said.


We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

The result is two sides unwilling to cede an inch.

When Frye, Gonzalez and Briggs first called on the mayor to resign last week, they gave almost no details about the women who had told them their stories. On Monday, Frye pounded the lectern and spoke with dramatic force when recounting the allegations and responding to questions. But the trio still didn’t name names and still hasn’t filed a formal complaint with any civil or criminal body. (Gonzalez said a sexual harassment complaint against Filner would be filed to the city soon.)

While they were speaking, a Greek chorus of Filner supporters standing behind them with pro-Filner signs yelled out “Due Process!” after almost every allegation leveled against the mayor.

Filner’s statements, meanwhile, have gone from contrite to bold.

Thursday afternoon, he apologized to San Diegans, admitted he’d intimidated and “failed to fully respect” his female employees and pledged to seek help. Friday afternoon, he encouraged women who felt aggrieved to file complaints against him, but said any independent investigation would prove he didn’t sexually harass anyone. Monday morning, he tried to get on with the business of the city by announcing a staff shakeup, including hiring Walt Ekard, the former manager of San Diego County and region’s most respected administrator, to run things.

“Today’s announcements make clear the operations of city government will not be negatively impacted,” Filner said.

But Filner, mainly holed up at City Hall since the scandal broke last week, has yet to answer questions about the allegations and how he’ll continue to hold the city together amid the chaos.

In the meantime, the calls for Filner to go away are increasing, as are lurid details about his behavior toward women.

Monday morning, local Democratic Rep. Susan Davis became the latest high-profile politician to call for his resignation. She joined Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who as a union leader is credited with getting Filner elected last November, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins and six of nine City Council members. (Republican Mark Kersey added his name to the list after Monday’s press conference.) Filner’s Chief of Staff Vince Hall also resigned Friday.

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    This article relates to: Bob Filner, Government, News, Share

    Written by Liam Dillon

    Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

    3 comments
    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    Mayor Filner thinks he can count on a large segment of the left to attack and demonize any women that come forward. Filner believes they will do this, victimize the victims, out of fear of a more centrist or even right leaning candidate replacing Filner. Look how VOSD allowed Filner to attack that Airport Worker without even seeking her side of the story, claiming she made most of the charges up for money. Filner thinks it will be much worse for these sexual harassment/possible sexual assault victims as every pro union and "waitin for my Filner handout" supporter try to turn these women into liars and sluts. I say that fear is not only misplaced, but when these women come forth in numbers it will be like it was with Arevalos, one at a time these woman could be shamed, intimidated, threatened by the SDPD into silence, but once the story broke and the SDPD was no longer able to protect him enough women came forward to remove any doubt. The same will happen with Filner, now that Frye and others have stopped protecting him, the journalists will have no choice but to seek and find the truth.

    Jeff R-UH92116
    Jeff R-UH92116

    Filner is not going to resign; he will have to be recalled to remove him from office. Bob is in the bunker and he is going fight to the bitter end. It's all about power. What else does he have? without power, Filner is nothing. Just another washed up politician brought down by scandal. He has been able to get away with this boorish and obnoxious behavior for 20 years because he supports progressive causes and is backed by the unions and Democrat power base. He plays smashmouth hardball and if you are not willing to get bloodied then you should not get in the ring with him. His personal style is confrontation and intimidation; he loves to fight. Mayor Filner is not going away quietly and just voluntarily give up the power he has craved for over two decades. Why would he? His only concern is for himself and his legacy.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    Mayor Filner thinks he can count on a large segment of the left to attack and demonize any women that come forward. Filner believes they will do this, victimize the victims, out of fear of a more centrist or even right leaning candidate replacing Filner. Look how VOSD allowed Filner to attack that Airport Worker without even seeking her side of the story, claiming she made most of the charges up for money. Filner thinks it will be much worse for these sexual harassment/possible sexual assault victims as every pro union and "waitin for my Filner handout" supporter try to turn these women into liars and sluts. I say that fear is not only misplaced, but when these women come forth in numbers it will be like it was with Arevalos, one at a time these woman could be shamed, intimidated, threatened by the SDPD into silence, but once the story broke and the SDPD was no longer able to protect him enough women came forward to remove any doubt. The same will happen with Filner, now that Frye and others have stopped protecting him, the journalists will have no choice but to seek and find the truth.