Santa Barbara
70° F
Clear
Clear
Santa Maria
53° F
Clear
Clear
San Luis Obispo
53° F
Clear
Clear
Ventura
58° F
Clear
Clear

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigns amid scandal

Published On: Aug 23 2013 05:52:19 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 25 2013 08:26:03 AM CDT
Bob Filner makes therapy announcement

REUTERS/Fred Greaves

SAN DIEGO (CNN) -

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is resigning in the face of a torrent of sexual harassment claims -- though he's not going out quietly.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith announced around 3:45 p.m. (6:45 p.m. ET) that the City Council, during a closed-door session, had accepted the terms of an agreement with Filner that was reached after three days of mediation talks.

Filner submitted a "signed resignation" that "the city has accepted" in a 7-0 vote by council members, Goldsmith said. That resignation will take effect at 5 p.m. Friday, August 30.

After that vote, Filner spoke at the City Council meeting -- his first extensive public comments in weeks -- and began by offering a "deep apology ... to all the citizens."

"The city should not have been put through this," the 70-year-old mayor said. "And my own personal failures were responsible."

A short time later, though, Filner went on the defensive. While admitting that his behavior toward women was inappropriate at times, he insisted that he "never sexually harassed anyone."

In the process of "trying to establish personal relationships," the mayor explained, "the combination of awkwardness and hubris, I think, led to behavior that many found offensive." He added, "Not one allegation ... has ever been independently verified or proven in court."

"But the hysteria that has been created ... is the hysteria of a lynch mob," Filner said, criticizing an environment in which "rumors become allegations, allegations become facts, facts become evidence of sexual harassment which have led to demands for my resignation and recall."

Blasting politicians and members of the media who "unleashed a monster," the mayor said, "The hysteria ended up playing into the hands of those who wanted a political coup -- the removal of a democratically elected mayor purely by rumor and innuendo."

"They found the weapons they needed in my own failures as a human being," Filner said of "well-organized interests" opposed to him. "But they found with those weapons and they used them, in a bloody and vicious way."

The outgoing mayor's remarks -- going from a contrite apology to a withering attack -- left many watching from inside City Hall stunned, according to a source who was there. The comment about his being the victim of a "coup" especially caught people off guard.

"We are shocked that he would go there," said the source inside City Hall.

This defiant stance notwithstanding, it doesn't change the fact that Filner's term as mayor ends -- according to a deal he agreed to -- next week.

And when it does, City Council President Todd Gloria will step in on an interim basis. Gloria said Friday afternoon, after the council session, that he'll soon begin work on setting up a special election.

Speaking shortly after Filner, Gloria -- who, along with the other eight council members, had demanded Filner's resignation -- said that he believes the "settlement represents an end to our civil nightmare, and it allows our city to begin to heal."

"San Diego is back," the incoming interim mayor said later. "We are America's greatest city, and we always will be."

The agreement signed off on Friday does not affect a lawsuit brought against Filner by Irene McCormack Jackson, the mayor's former communications chief, according to Goldsmith.

Jackson left her job when she sued the mayor in July -- saying he had subjected women to "crude and disgusting" comments and inappropriate touching -- but remains a municipal employee, Goldsmith noted. He said Friday that the city will continue to engage in mediation talks with Jackson and her lawyer, Gloria Allred.

Under the mediation agreement, San Diego will dismiss its cross-complaint against Filner in relation to that lawsuit, the city attorney said.

Goldsmith also said that, for any claims brought against San Diego and Filner for his alleged conduct while mayor, "the city will provide a joint legal defense through the city attorney's office for the city and Mr. Filner."

Friday's announcement marks the latest milestone in a saga that has gripped San Diego for seven weeks, when the first in what would be 18 women came forward publicly to accuse Filner -- during his time as congressman and, since 2012, as mayor -- of inappropriate behavior.

Numerous public officials, including all nine city council members and the state's two U.S. Senators, urged Filner to step down. So, too, did a majority of locals, according to polls.

Some of them voiced that view to city council members Friday, before they convened in private session to make their decision on the agreement.

Other speakers also rose to support Filner.

Scott Andrews claimed "everything but due process has occurred," while one woman called what's happening "a circus to get a good man out of office."

A few offered sympathy for the council members, given what they and other municipal leaders have dealt with in recent weeks and the decision that lay ahead.

"It is really about the city that we all love," said Laurie Black, a longtime civic leader. "And make your decision with the intentions of loving your city."

Even once Filner leaves office, the city could bear the repercussions of his alleged behavior.

As Goldsmith noted, the city can be held liable for the actions of its employees -- including its past and present mayor.

Filner, himself, is hardly out of the woods. While he now only faces one lawsuit, others could follow.

Plus, there's the chance that the congressman-turned-mayor could be prosecuted by local, state or federal authorities.

Speaking to that point after news of the resignation became official, California Attorney General's office spokesman Nick Pacilio said, "We can confirm a criminal investigation is underway."

Comments

The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • fatal_accident_investigation

    Extensive Investigation into Triple Fatal Accident

    An extensive investigation is underway to determine the cause of death in a triple fatal rollover accident Monday morning in Santa Barbara.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    3 Dead In Early Morning Accident, Driver Arrested For DUI

    The 101 southbound through Santa Barbara reopened just before 12:30 Monday afternoon as authorities investigate what they say was a deadly two car DUI accident.

  • fuzion_store_business_santa_barbara

    UCSB Group Boycotts Business For Promoting Deltopia

    A UCSB student group is boycotting a local business for creating the Deltopia Facebook page, which they said brought in thousands of outsiders to the small college town.

  • girl_child_coughing_sick_whooping_cough

    Contagious Diseases Making a Comeback in California

    Deadly diseases that were a thing of the past are making a comeback in California.

  • Witnesses to Fatal Crash

    Eyewitnesses See Triple Fatal Crash from Roadside Camp

    A homeless couple watching the freeway from their campsite in Santa Barbara this morning, witnessed the triple fatal accident that took the lives of two teens and a young man.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    DUI Driver in Fatal Early Morning Accident Ordered to Detox Program in 1995

    The Santa Barbara woman arrested for DUI in the early morning accident that left three people dead early Monday morning has a lengthy court record out of Ventura County. Kimberly Kreis, 52, was ordered to serve 30 days in a detox program as far back as 1995.

    The car that Kreis was driving crashed into a disabled Mazda near the Castillo off-ramp of the southbound 101 freeway in Santa Barbara. Two 17 year old North Torrance High School students were killed in the accident- Jessica Leffew and Danielle Murillo. 20 year old Brian Lopez also died in the wreck. The driver of the Mazda, Eric August, is hospitalized in critical condition.

    A NewsChannel 3 investigation found records out of Ventrua County that appear to show that Greis has at least one prior conviction involving drugs and or alcohol, and in 1995 she was ordered to serve 30 days in a Cottage Hospital detox program.

    CHP investigators are still trying to piece together why the Mazda veered right into a guardrail, causing it to flip onto it's roof before coming to rest in the middle of the southbound freeway, which set into motion the deadly accident.

    CHP Officer Jonathan Guiterrez, said "A lot of things could have happened, He could have fallen asleep. We just don't know at this point."

  • Parents of Mallory Dies Sue Congresswoman, Her Former Aide, and U.S. Government

    The parents of a young Santa Barbara woman killed in a high profile, DUI case are suing Congresswoman Lois Capps, her former aide Raymond Morua, and the U-S government in federal court.

  • Larry Lee Cal Poly Coach

    Cal Poly Baseball Earns No. 1 National Ranking

    The Mustangs achieved the school's second No. 1 national ranking in Division I as Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has placed Cal Poly atop its Top 30.

  • Lupita Nyong'o

    REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

    People's 'World's Most Beautiful' list 2014

    People magazine recently named Lupita Nyong'o its "World's Most Beautiful" for 2014. See which other ladies earned a coveted spot on the annual list.

  • Slideshow: Extensive Investigation into Triple Fatal Accident

    An extensive investigation is underway to determine the cause of death in a triple fatal rollover accident Monday morning in Santa Barbara.