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Filner ‘Not Welcome Back’ Rally Draws Recall Supporters

About 75 opponents of embattled Mayor Bob Filner held a "Not Welcome Back'' rally today at the Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Diego in the wake of his completion of a stint in a behavioral therapy program.

Aired 8/12/13 on KPBS News.

About 75 opponents of embattled Mayor Bob Filner held a "Not Welcome Back'' rally today at the Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Diego in the wake of his completion of a stint in a behavioral therapy program.

Special Feature Read the Backstory

All of the accusations, statements and apologies from the key players in the developing story about allegations of sexual harassment in Mayor Bob Filner's office and calls from former mayoral supporters for his resignation.

The rally was held in response to Friday's news that Filner had finished an inpatient behavioral therapy program.

His lawyer, Irvine-based James Payne, said his client would not return to work this week. He said Filner would continue treatment as an outpatient.

The mayor has been publicly accused of sexual harassment by 14 women, including two city employees — one of whom has sued Filner and the city. He also is being investigated on allegations of shaking down developers.

One of the organizers of the rally, Ben Katz, said Filner's behavior has made San Diego "the butt of jokes'' on late-night television and drawn international headlines.

Still, he's never been more proud of being a San Diegan, said Katz, a political consultant — "proud because of the people here today, and the thousands — tens of thousands — of other San Diegans who have stood up and said 'this is not acceptable.'''

The core group of rally participants held signs, several of which said, "You're Not Welcome Back.'' A group of onlookers, many of them City Hall employees, watched nearby.

Francis Barraza, executive director of the Republican Party of San Diego County, said it is hard enough to be taken seriously as a woman in politics.

"What Bob has done has hurt women like me,'' Barraza said, "women who are professionals, (who) have worked hard.''

Dwayne Crenshaw, a Democrat and longtime community activist, said Filner's previous accomplishments in the civil rights struggle and supporting military veterans is not enough to overcome the former congressman's current problems.

He said he frequently stops at a coffee shop in the morning, and working people he talks to are suffering from Filner "fatigue.''

The mayor took the city in a new direction of strengthening neighborhoods when he took office in December, but Filner isn't necessary for keeping that going, said Crenshaw, who lost a City Council special election in May to one of Filner's ardent supporters, Myrtle Cole.

Cole and Councilwoman Marti Emerald were the last two members of the panel to call for Filner's resignation in the wake of the allegations, doing so Friday.

Both of California's representatives to the U.S. Senate and other local civic and business leaders have called for the mayor to step down immediately to seek treatment as a private citizen.

A poll conducted by U-T San Diego and 10News, released Sunday, showed that only 21 percent of San Diegans want Filner to remain in office, and that 65 percent would support a recall if he does not voluntarily step down.

The recall effort was ramped up over the past week, with the addition of political consultants who previously qualified a pension reform initiative for the June 2012 ballot.

Nearly 102,000 valid signatures are needed to qualify the Filner recall petition for the ballot, according to the City Clerk's Office, which must receive the signatures by Sept. 26.

According to U-T San Diego, Filner has until today to submit a statement to the recall effort's organizers stating the reasons he should not be voted out of office, which the organizers would in turn would be required to publish.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | August 12, 2013 at 9:05 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Some sang out "Tear down the fence! Tear down the fence! Just then Sherburn steps out onto the roof of his little front porch with a double-barrel gun in his hand. The racket stopped. Then he says, slow and mournful: The idea of you lynching anybody! It's amusing. The idea of you thinking you have pluck enough to lynch a man! Because you're brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-outs that come along. Do I know you? Sherburn run his eye slow along the crowd, and wherever it struck the people tried to out gaze him, but they couldn't. I know you clear through. I was born and raised in the South and I've lived in the North, so I know the average all around. The average man's a coward. In the North he lets anybody walk over him that wants to, and goes home and prays for a humble spirit to bear it. In the South, why don't your juries hang murderers? Because they're afraid the man's friends will shoot them in the back -- and it's just what they would do. Why, a man is safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind -- as long as it's daytime and you're not behind him. Southern juries always acquit -- then a half-man goes in the night, with a hundred masked cowards at his back, and lynches the rascal. The mob is beneath pitifulness; that's what an army is; they don't fight with courage that's born in them but with courage that's borrowed from their mass and from their officers. ~Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn

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Avatar for user 'MaoTzu'

MaoTzu | August 12, 2013 at 9:37 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

This is a joke

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 12, 2013 at 11:13 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

WhY? No "Happy Hour"? Don't these folks have something better to do?

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | August 12, 2013 at 11:26 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Why did Bozo the Mayor not hire a lawyer located in the city he represents? Can't old Bobby get anything right? Run the clown out of town !!!!!! He is becoming the "Mistake on the Pacific".

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | August 12, 2013 at 1:10 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Potential poll question: What is more important to San Diego voters: The fate of the mayor or how the Chargers will play against the Bears in Chicago Thursday night?

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | August 12, 2013 at 1:42 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm ready to sign the recall Filner petition.

This will be a true and direct expression of the power of the people in our democracy!

The Founding Fathers would be proud!

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 12, 2013 at 1:56 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

"Francis Barraza, executive director of the Republican Party of San Diego County, said it is hard enough to be taken seriously as a woman in politics.
"What Bob has done has hurt women like me,'' Barraza said, "women who are professionals, (who) have worked hard.'' "


Bob is far from the only sexist pig to lurk in the halls of Congress.

Look at San Diego County's own Mr. Issa. Arrogant, smug, and talks down to women all the time. He chaired hearings on women's health issues and didn't put any women on the panel. When a college student tried to testify, he shut her up and then Republican Icon Rush Limbaugh called her a slut on national radio.

And what about Mark Sanford? Republican who used tax payer money to fund booty-calls to South America, and is now elected again in a red state with his Argentinian mistress by his side.

And the list goes.

And on.

And on.

Yes, Filner is a creep, there is no doubting that, but for a County Republican Boss like Ms. Barraza to come out with her dramatic "Bob has set women back so far" political routine is a bit nausea-inducing.

Did Ms. Barraza ever criticize Mr. Issa? Mr. Limbaugh? Mr. Sanford? What about any of the other host of Republicans who have committed so many sex scandals there is a Wikipedia page for "Republican Sex Scandals"?

My guess is Ms. Barraza reserves her "outrage" for when it's a Democrat doing the dirty.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | August 12, 2013 at 2:09 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago


Don't be so partisan. Democrats are just as bad as Republicans.

What is worse is that the Democratic establishment lied to San Diegans prior to the election and covered up Filner's abuse of women.

The Democratic Party knew about his abusive behavior as confirmed by Lori Saldana and I bet that knowledge stretches far back into his years as a Congressman.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 12, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

CAdefender, local Republican hacks are going to cause Democrats, even Democrats who want Filner out like me, to be wary about signing a the recall petition.

You keep insisting the Democratic Party should have acted on RUMORS, which is ridiculous.

At the time Filner was running, nobody had come out publicly with an accusation and the man had decades on public service in congress without a single sexual harassment or accusation.

The only thing that existed were rumors.

Rumors, something not uncommon in politics.

In Filner's case they did turn out to be true, surprising many that he did this for so long without anyone coming forward.

It's easy to say with the information we have now that the Democrats should have stopped Filner back them when all there was were rumors, but that would be intellectually dishonest.

In fact, if you harm someone's career based on rumors that turn out not to be true, that creates many problems and potential lawsuits as well.

You are telling me to be non-partisan, but you are being very partisan because you are trying to blame an entire political party for something one man did!

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | August 12, 2013 at 2:57 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Not to pick a nit PDSD, but there is some level of group responsibility. I'm sure someone will want to play a game of 'who knew what and when?' but in general a group should help police its own members to maintain public trust. The SD Democrats may have a problem; Republicans have problems like this, as does the catholic church.
I am not claiming that the party should have prevented him from running based on what they knew. I am claiming that, in general, there is some level of knowledge of bad behavior that should cause fellow party members to choose to not put forward an otherwise viable candidate. I have no idea yet if the Filner issue falls into that category, but fear that we will be hearing lots about it even after he is gone.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | August 12, 2013 at 4:10 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Politicians fall into two camps: Those who have been caught and those who haven't. They're all dirty to some degree and outrage only feeds their sense of self-importance.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | August 12, 2013 at 4:11 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Filner's Ph.D. is in the history of Science from Cornell University, 1969. San Diego has been his home for over four decades. In his a 20-year long teaching career at San Diego State University, he challenged his students to put thoughts into action to shape the world around them.
Filner became frustrated with the local school board after the announcement of the closure of his children's school in 1979. He was selected as School Board President in 1982.
Filner broadened his civic service when he was elected to San Diego City Council in 1987, fighting to develop the local economy in San Diego.
His leadership and ability to accomplish real results led his peers in the council to select him as Deputy Mayor in 1991.
In 1992, Filner was elected to the United States House of Representatives. In his first term in Congress, he was one of only a handful of freshman legislators to get legislation passed.

Filner took his responsibility as the representative for a military region seriously - almost immediately upon his arrival in Washington, his request for an appointment to the Veterans' Affairs Committee was granted. In 2006 he was elected by his Democratic colleagues as Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Filner has a solid record of fighting for the working families, seniors, veterans and small business owners.
Filner's experience representing a border community has given him significant insight on the incredible potential of San Diego.
Bob Filner ran for Mayor because he has an outsider's view and approach.

Freedom Rider
Pope Pius XI's Encyclical Vigilanti Cura, sent to American Bishops at the height of '30s Fascist censorship, yearned for a more edifying cinema. Above all else, the portrayal of women must be circumscribed. A heroine in a melodrama had to be a virgin, or faithful wife and mother. It wasn't until Bob was in college that Pope John Paul XXIII ordered that the phrase "perfidious Jews" be stricken from the liturgy. Also, the Jews were exonerated for crucifying Jesus. The recall drive is taken right out of the Nazi playbook. Bob Filner has already done time -- almost two months in Mississippi State Penitentiary aka known as Parchment Farm notorious for its trusty oversight (since outlawed).

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Avatar for user 'MarineRoom'

MarineRoom | August 12, 2013 at 8:56 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Thank you for reminding us of who Filner is, the person who is being tarred and feathered-- based on unsubstantiated charges--because of his virtues, not his obvious flaws. He is doing what the people elected him to do, and that is why the legions of power are massed against him, and trying their utmost to threaten him into resigning so they do not have to prove any of their charges in a court of law.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | August 13, 2013 at 3:40 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago


Stop copying and pasting the same material over and over. It is becoming spam and that is irritating to everyone else trying to have a serious discussion about Filner.


The people of San Diego are the ones calling for a recall and will be the ones who sign the recall into effect. In fact, removing a politician from office via the will of the people is one of the greatest expressions of our democracy. We should do it more often.


Washington is designed to turn truth into rumor. There are legions of staffers who do nothing but that. You're also discounting the power of a congressman. They are able to destroy careers (or make them) without blinking. Of course women were scared to come forward. Especially with Filner who had one of the shortest and most viscous tempers in Congress.

The reason I'm blaming the Democratic Party is that it appears they knew about his abuse of women for decades. Do you think it is possible that he kept that behavior secret for 20 years without the help of his party? Not a chance.

I'm not being partisan as I'm just as quick to assail Republicans for corruption and abuse. I'm just sick and tired of Democrats pretending they are "progressive" or different from Republicans. Clearly, THEY ARE NOT.

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Avatar for user 'Robrage'

Robrage | August 15, 2013 at 2:42 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Bob and the Monster inside him have to go~~~He avoids a rush to judgement~~hiding from the press~~hiding form the Public~~hiding evidence~~~Dirty Old men do not Rule~~Touching a woman's private parts unwanted fashion is a felony in California~~It's called Sexual assault~~Pay for play is a felony~~Get fitted for your Orange Jumpsuit you Perv~Gangster~Union sycophant~Progressive Marxist Filthner !

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