The nearly two-month saga is over: Mayor Bob Filner will be out effective Aug. 30.
In true Filner fashion, Filner went out fighting. Our Liam Dillon described Filner’s final defiant moments and his tumultuous eight months in office. Check out a look back, in photos, at his mayorship.
In his final message to residents, Filner apologized but said he’d be exonerated in any investigations of sexual harassment. And he got feisty, decrying what he described as a “lynch mob” that was out to get him. You can watch a full video of those comments here and read a transcript here.
Scott Lewis tried to figure out how Filner can claim that he was both responsible for what happened, sorry for it and yet a victim of a coup.
The speech capped one of the most dramatic days in San Diego history.
The day kicked off with “CBS This Morning’s” exclusive interview with former Filner fiancée Bronwyn Ingram, who said she thinks Filner’s alleged sexual harassment has “more to do with power and control” than sex and love. She again called on Filner to resign.
Ahead of the meeting, I learned City Council members Myrtle Cole and Scott Sherman wouldn’t be there to vote. Turns out Cole was at a conference in Washington D.C. and Sherman was out of the country on “family business.” Their absences were politically convenient, as I noted in a post on their whereabouts.
The Vote that Ended Filner’s Mayorship
By 1 p.m. Friday, the City Council chambers were packed with news cameras and San Diegans. More than 40 residents rose to share their views. Many opposed the settlement with Filner – though it hadn’t been detailed yet – but for different reasons.
Many reminded the city of the underdog communities and causes that Filner championed and demanded due process for the mayor. Others, like KMFB radio host Mike Slater, argued it would be better to oust Filner in a recall rather than pay any of his legal bills.
After hearing from residents, the City Council went behind closed doors to discuss a settlement with Filner. As council members debated, the Democratic National Committee unanimously approved a resolution calling on Filner to resign.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and council members emerged about 90 minutes later to say the City Council had voted 7-0 to approve the settlement with Filner. The deal required Filner’s resignation and has the city pay up to $98,000 of his legal fees.
What’s Next for Filner?
The realities for Filner going forward became almost immediately clear. Our Andrew Keatts was the first report that the outgoing mayor is the subject of a criminal investigation by the state attorney general’s office. As we’ve previously reported, the county Sheriff’s Department set up a hotline for callers to report alleged unwanted sexual advances by Filner. The agency planned to turn its investigation over to the state attorney general’s office after District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis recused herself.
The latest revelation could foreshadow coming criminal charges for Filner. (It’s worth noting here that the city’s deal with Filner doesn’t require taxpayers to pay for attorneys in any such cases.)
The Coming Election
Before Filner’s resignation was official, at least two former mayoral hopeful decided to give it another shot.
The Reader was the first to report that ex-Republican and new Democrat Nathan Fletcher filed initial papers a the city clerk’s office on Tuesday. Here’s more on Fletcher, who announced about four months ago that he was switching political parties.
Fellow ex-mayoral hopeful – and now congressional candidate – Carl DeMaio could also join them in the second mayor’s race in less than a year. DeMaio’s campaign manager told 10 News that the Republican will meet with stakeholders to “assess the options” this weekend.
U-T San Diego put together a list of other potential mayoral candidates earlier this week.
And Murtaza Baxamusa, who once held a volunteer post in Filner’s administration, wrote about the policy shifts those candidates will need to address in coming months.
Ahead of the election, possible mayoral candidate Todd Gloria will take over as interim mayor. We detailed his temporary mayoral powers in a Thursday post.
More (Mostly Filner-Related) News Nibbles
• The U-T has more on the retired federal judge who persuaded Filner to resign.
• A Los Angeles Times columnist cited the Filner debacle as a reason for more negative campaign ads.
• Looking for a break from Filner news? Contributor John Gennaro pulled together the week’s best San Diego sports news in the weekly Sports Report.
• The Carlsbad school board will again vote on a $100,000 contract with a law firm following the U-T’s report that a school board member angling for a job at that firm voted to approve the contract. That member, who now works at the law firm, stepped down after the initial vote.
Quote of the Week
“The city should not have been put through this. And my own personal failures were responsible.” – Mayor Bob Filner, in his Friday resignation speech.
Quote of the Week II
“Those of you in the media and in politics who fed this hysteria, I think, need to look at what you helped create. Because you have unleashed a monster. I think we’ll be paying for this affront to democracy for a long time.” – Mayor Bob Filner, later in his resignation speech.