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Mayoral Recall Organizers Prepare To Collect Signatures

They need to turn in 102,000 valid signatures by Sept. 26 to qualify for the ballot.

The group said it will seek signatures in the morning at the end of the annual America's Finest City Half-Marathon in Balboa Park and in the afternoon at a march and rally at Civic Center Plaza.

Meanwhile, the mayor's handlers remained silent today on the question of whether he will return to work Monday. And city officials continue to review their options for getting Filner out of office as soon as possible.

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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.

Those options include possibly seeking a restraining order barring him from entering San Diego City Hall because his presence "creates a hostile working environment for women,'' the Los Angeles Times reported.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith will also reportedly suggest the City Council invoke a charter provision that allows an official's removal for "misusing public money,'' according to the Times.

In addition to the claims of sexual harassment, Filner has also been accused of using his city credit card for personal expenses and other finance-related misconduct.

The mayor, who was elected in November, has stayed out of sight this week as misconduct allegations against him continue to be revealed.

Messages to his private Irvine-based lawyer, James Payne, and the mayor's office seeking comment on when Filner would return to work were not returned.

Filner has not made a public appearance since the last week of July.

His appearances at a groundbreaking for a trolley construction project, followed by a news conference where he announced he would seek therapy to address his treatment of women, attracted a swarm of media.

Sixteen women have publicly accused Filner of making unwanted sexual advances, including three city employees. One of the municipal workers, ex-mayoral Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson, has sued Filner and the city.

The latest woman to come forward, Peggy Shannon, said the mayor repeatedly asked her out and grabbed her and kissed her on the lips. At a news conference Thursday with lawyer Gloria Allred, Shannon said Filner walked by her after the first sexual harassment allegations were lodged and put his finger to his lips.

Allred said Shannon, a 67-year great-grandmother who works part time serving seniors in the lobby of the City Administration Building, will decide whether to file a lawsuit when a city investigation is completed.

Filner has apologized for his conduct with women, but contends his actions don't rise to the level of sexual harassment.

He also faces investigations into alleged misuse of city-issued credit cards and shakedowns of developers.

In a recall-related development Friday, the City Attorney's Office said a section of San Diego law that requires signature-gatherers be residents of San Diego and registered to vote, in order for the names they collect to be counted, will not be enforced.

Similar provisions elsewhere were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the city of San Diego removed them from its code for initiatives and referenda, but kept them on the books for recalls, according to Deputy District Attorney Sharon Spivak.

The entire City Council and numerous other civic and business leaders have called for Filner to resign.

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