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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Resigns

Evening Edition

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigned on Friday, August 23, 2013 amid accusations of sexual harassment from 18 women.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has resigned.

The City Council voted 7 to 0 to an agreement with Filner that included his resignation, effective Aug. 30. Filner then addressed the council, saying he both takes responsibility for his actions and blaming political opponents and the media for what he called a "political coup."

Aired 8/23/13 on KPBS News.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has resigned. During his brief term as the city's mayor controversy was never far away.

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.

"I am responsible for providing ammunition. I did that," Filner said. "But there are well-organized interests who have run this city for 50 years who pointed the gun, and the media and their political agents pulled the trigger."

The agreement includes the city dismissing its cross-complaint against Filner and providing a joint legal defense from the City Attorney's office for both the city of San Diego and Filner, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said.

Filner can also hire his own lawyers, but there will be a $98,000 cap on the amount the city spends on those lawyers. In addition, if the city is found liable for Filner's behavior, the city can sue Filner for reimbursement.

While the city's agreement does not include criminal charges against Filner, the attorney general’s office is continuing a criminal investigation, a spokesman for the office confirmed.

Filner was both contrite and defiant at times during his statement, apologizing to the city, its residents, the women he says he "offended" and his ex-fiancée.

"The city should not have been put through this," he said. "I let you down. My own personal failures were responsible."

But Filner also said the city "just faced a lynch mob," where rumors became facts.

"Not one allegation has ever been independently verified or proven in court," he said. "I have never sexually harassed anyone."

Instead, Filner said he was "trying to establish personal relationships" with women, "but the combination of awkwardness and hubris led to behavior that many found offensive."

"We had a chance to do a progression vision in this city for the first time in 50 years," he continued. "We need to carry that vision forward. This is not the time to let it die."

Filner listed what he accomplished during his short time in office, including cleaning up bird poop in La Jolla cove, saving money through renegotiated property leases, a balanced budget and a five-year labor agreement with city employees.

According to the city charter, City Council President Todd Gloria becomes mayor immediately on an interim basis. A special election for mayor will be held to determine who will serve to the end of Filner’s term in 2016.

"Although none of us is glad to have reached this point in our city’s history, I think we all share a sense of relief that we can begin to put this period behind us, and most importantly, fill the leadership void in the Mayor’s office," Gloria said Friday. "The city of San Diego needs and deserves a mayor."

After KPBS broke news in July of sexual harassment allegations leveled at Mayor Filner, more than a dozen women stepped forward, accusing him of unwanted sexual advances.

The “Filner headlock” and the “Filner dance” became part of the local lexicon as victim after victim described the mayor putting his hands on them and how they tried to evade his advances.

Filner was initially accused on July 9 by three longtime supporters — former Councilwoman Donna Frye and attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs. They outlined anonymous allegations in calling for the resignation of their fellow Democrat.

Former Councilwoman Donna Frye speaks at a press conference calling for Mayor Bob Filner's resignation, July 11, 2013.

In a statement released after Filner's resignation, the three said, "today we breathe a collective sigh of relief that this horrible chapter in the City of San Diego’s history has come to a close."

"While we feel some satisfaction for the part we played in reaching this juncture, we are neither happy nor celebrating," it continued. "Nobody should be. This is not the time to be trumpeting a partisan victory, or dancing on Bob Filner’s political grave. We have not “won” anything, as our entire community has suffered dearly, and in a way that transcends politics."

In the days after the initial accusation, Filner’s former communications chief went public and filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages for sexual harassment.

She was followed by more than a dozen women who publicly recounted a now-familiar pattern of Filner engaging in unwanted touching, kissing and whispered sexual innuendo.

In the meantime, Filner's chief of staff, Vince Hall, resigned and was replaced by Tony Buckles, who resigned about two weeks after taking on the top post in the mayor's administration.

Filner’s fiancée, Bronwyn Ingram, who announced their relationship was over just days before the allegations came to light, told KPBS that she'd found him “sexting” on his phone and asking women on dates even while she was at his side during the course of their relationship. She also publicly urged him to resign.

Filner responded first in a videotaped message and then in several TV interviews that he needed help. He called his behavior inexcusable and indefensible and told Univision that he had a monster inside him that he needed to deal with.

Filner announced July 26 that he was entering a psychological clinic for intense therapy to deal with his behavioral issues. According to that statement, he was set to enter therapy Aug. 5 and return to City Hall Aug. 19.

However, Filner's attorney confirmed Aug. 9 that the mayor had started and completed therapy a week earlier than he had publicly announced.

Filner built his decades-long political career on a commitment to championing civil and veteran rights.

Allegations of harassment from victims of rape and sexual assault while in the military helped stir calls for Filner to resign. California’s two Democratic senators, as well as those in the House and California Assembly, also asked that he step down.

Filner, 70, was first elected to public office in 1979 when he ran for a seat on the San Diego City Schools board of trustees. He climbed the local political ladder and was elected to Congress in 1992 where he served as chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee as the ranking member.

Citing dysfunction in Washington, D.C., he turned his sights back to San Diego in 2012, where he won election as the first Democratic mayor in nearly 30 years.

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Filner standing next to his now ex-fiancee Bronwyn Ingram while being sworn in by California Controller John Chiang.

Mayor Filner started making waves his first month in office, when he ordered the city to stop referring medical marijuana code violation cases to the city attorney for prosecution. As a result, some controversial marijuana dispensaries stayed open despite orders to shut down.

Filner also publicly feuded with Council President Gloria and City Attorney Goldsmith.

One argument centered on a hotel fee negotiation between the city and officials of the tourism marketing district. The three-month debate crisscrossed city meetings and court hearings.

The Department of Justice is investigating $100,000 donation made to the city of San Diego by developers, Sunroad Centrum Partners. The money was returned, when Mayor Filner learned a top-level administrator secured the donation in exchange to withdraw a veto tying up a mixed-use project Sunroad has been working on since 1997.

May marked a significant month for the mayor as he negotiated new leases for city offices downtown, saving the city $15.8 million and brokered a five-year agreement with city employees that was estimated to save the city $25 million alone in its first year.

But after initial allegations were leveled at Mayor Filner, his aggressive crusade to shake up city politics in a progressive fashion hit a wall.

The political pressure to resign mounted steadily until it reached a breaking point.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | August 23, 2013 at 4:29 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

He agreed to proclaim Youth Rugby Day and his staffer Molly Chase cleaned up my suggested circular and misspelt language to make it possible for His Honor to sign it. Thank you, Mayor and Ms. Chase!

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Avatar for user 'MattthewCScallon'

MattthewCScallon | August 23, 2013 at 4:38 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

He blamed his opponents for his own bad behavior. No, Bob. You're the only who's to blame. You have political opponents? Guess who's to blame for their opposition? You are, Bob, and only you. You tore apart fellow Democrats, treated anyone who was running for the same office like scum, and, as it turns out, it is you, Bob, who's truly scum.

Goodbye to bad garbage.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | August 23, 2013 at 4:42 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago


Bob Filner, the WORST mayor in San Diego's history, has been defeated!

Let us hope Democrats remember their terrible mistake and NEVER again vote for someone without thoroughly examining their background. May we NEVER again elect a federal politician to ANY position in San Diego.

Let us move forward and find someone deserving of leading America's Finest City.

But for now, let's party! A celebration for San Diego! Sing and dance in the streets!

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | August 23, 2013 at 5:09 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

"I am responsible for providing ammunition. I did that," Filner said. "But there are well-organized interests who have run this city for 50 years who pointed the gun, and the media and their political agents pulled the trigger."

Yep, that sums it up.

We all know who the murder's are, now it's time to bring them to justice.

"Lynch Mob" haha, exactly, using "Jacobs Ladder". Love how the republicans on the City Council jumped on this as a go-ahead for the convention center expansion and the Balboa Park takeover.

For KPBS, I've lost all respect. Your speculative, opinion biased reporting using gossip and hearsay instead of facts or evidence just cost San Diego it's last chance at salvation. Thirty years from now we will look back on this day as the beginning of the dark age. If you didn't have a monopoly on public broadcasting in this county then I wouldn't even listen ...

... Wait! I just heard that the KPBS license is now up for review? Now it makes sense! That's why you needed to create a national story, and once you started, if the Mayor didn't resign, then your 'power of the press' would be impotent. Now I see.

The period of public comment ends in November, right? Time for us to get to writing.

KPBS unleashed a monster. "No evidence is needed".

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 23, 2013 at 5:41 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Note to Bob Filner-

Hi Bob-

I loved the apology to your ex-fiancé. That was very heartfelt and moving.

Now for the entire second have of the speech. Why did you have to let the narcissistic side of your personality come out and paint yourself rather unsuccessfully as a victim? You should have quit while you were ahead. That whole line about media releasing a mob? No Bob, you did that to yourself. Take ownership of your actions.

Comparing the consensus outcry San Diegans who were rightfully angry your mistreatment of women to 'lynch mobs' in the South?? Where innocent people where tortured and killed merely because of the color of the skin?? .That is far-reaching at least and insulting to the victims and their families.

Red, green, yellow, black, white, or blue, its not your skin color that did this to you> It is your hubris and your awkwardness that as you freely admitted. You left out your narcissism, your ego and your refusal to follow a common sense policy. Be honest, you look sinister when you are not.

Anyhow, best of luck to you and i wish you the best if and when you do choose to get the help you need.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 23, 2013 at 6:06 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

KPBS- always have respected you guys. You guys are just and temperate. Good on you.
A couple of quotes for Philosopher3000. In light of your screen name. And lay off Nietzsche for a while.

Virtue is a state of character concerned with choice, being determined by rational principle as determined by the moderate man of practical wisdom.

Political science spends most of its pains on forming its citizens to be of good character and capable of noble acts.

Durable virtue will belong to the happy man, and he will be happy throughout his life, for he will always opt for virtuous acts and thoughts and he will bear the hazards of life with nobility and live beyond reproach.

Politics appears to be the master art for it includes so many others and its purpose is the good of man. While it is worthy to perfect one man, it is finer and more godlike to perfect a nation.

Since happiness is an activity of soul in harmony with virtue, we must consider virtue to see if she can help us to understand happiness. The student of politics studies virtue above all else since he wishes to make his fellow citizens good and obedient to the laws.

In speaking about a man's character we do not say that he is wise or has understanding, but that he is good tempered; we praise the wise man for his state of mind.

Virtue, is of two kinds, intellectual and moral; intellectual owes its birth and growth to teaching while moral virtue comes to us through habit. None of the moral virtues arises in us by nature for nothing in nature can change its nature; we are adapted by nature to receive them and by habit, perfect them.

By abstaining from pleasures we become temperate and once temperate we are more able to abstain from them. Likewise, once habituated to despise what is terrible we become courageous.

Moral excellence is concerned with pleasure and pain; because of pleasure we do bad things and for fear of pain we avoid noble ones. For this reason we ought to be trained from youth, as Plato says: to find pleasure and pain where we ought; this is the purpose of education.

There are three objects of choice and three of avoidance: the noble, the advantageous, the pleasant and their contraries, the base, the injurious, the painful, and about all of these the good man tends to go right and the bad man tends to go wrong.

Men who do just and temperate acts are just and temperate.

Man acts voluntarily, the impulses that move the parts of his body are in his power to do or not to do. To endure great indignities for no noble end or for a trifling one is the mark of an inferior person. As a rule, what is expected is painful, and what we are forced to do is base, whence praise and blame are bestowed on those who have been compelled or have not.

It is absurd to make external circumstances responsible and not oneself, and to make oneself responsible for noble acts and pleasant objects responsible for base ones.

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Avatar for user 'ThatwouldBTelling'

ThatwouldBTelling | August 23, 2013 at 7:17 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Why was he given an extra week as mayor before the resignation officially takes effect? Surely he won't be on the job. Why this technicality?

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Avatar for user 'progressivebuthey'

progressivebuthey | August 23, 2013 at 7:58 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

The only "lynch" mob seemed to be his supporters accusing the women who were allegedly harassed of lying, being old ladies, etc.

As one progressive who voted for Bob, I don't agree with your view of this situation. You can now get your due process in court where you can't bring your cheer squad of people who sounded happy they got something in their district regardless of the person's character who delivered it. That's third world politics, not America.

Justice prevailed today.

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Avatar for user 'dgostin'

dgostin | August 23, 2013 at 9:16 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

I've been listening to Round Table for the last 1/2 hour and am quite disappointed in the manner in which you are reporting on Bob Filner's resignation. It feels like I've been listening to a gossip session! Where was any objectivity or representation from Filner's supporters? You've been throwing out accusations of sexual harassment like he threatened these womens' positions while molesting them! He may have a strange manner and may have offended MANY, but all of his accusers, the "victims" as they are being called, the general public, and the media, have gone overboard on unfairly reporting only the negative aspects of his time in office and persecuted him nationally for doing far less than other public figures he's been likened to. Weiner for example. So now the rest of the nation's citizens who are not local and know nothing about the players have made a laughing stock of this man who has done a number of great things for San Diego. As a 54-year old native I've seen horrible management of this city for many years, and from the moment Bob Filner came into office things started to change for the better. We all know what President Clinton got away with, yet he still did many great things for this country. I was deeply saddened to see this man dragged through the mud and then forced to resign.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 24, 2013 at 8:52 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

dgostin- your logical conclusion that voters should ignore and accept flawed representatives with bad character because there are anecdotal cases where flawed flawed representatives have had successful administrations does not sit well with me.
An administrations successes are based on multiple factors. The good that comes out of an administration is not causally related to the foibles /vices of the leader.

Why be an apologist for bad behavior? Why not raise your moral standards and shoot for virtue of vice?

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 24, 2013 at 8:54 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

correction on last sentence

Why be an apologist for bad behavior? Why not raise your moral standards and shoot for virtue over vice when selecting a representative to lead?

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Avatar for user 'metoo'

metoo | August 24, 2013 at 3:23 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

What I don't understand is the "sisterhood of silence" that seems to have been revealed over the past weeks. The "high profile" women who have made accusations should have reported the circumstances immediately to prevent their happening to other, less powerful women. Did they think they were the only ones being treated this way?

It's time for women who have been subjected to this kind of behavior to band together to establish guidelines for women in the future. We need to educate our daughters (& sons) & grandchildren how to recognize & deal with sexual harassment.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 24, 2013 at 5:48 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

I do believe they have those guidelines and the, uh... online training was.. uh.. available .. and ... uh.. well.. Bob.. uh .. missed the training... and .. uh.. because of that.. uh.. he.. simply... no fault of his own.. mind you... uh.. forgot that asking subordinates to come to work without... uh.. 'panties'... was ... intolerable per guidance in the 5th module. and likely we need to lay the majority of the blame on.. uh... well-organized interests and the vast right wing conspiracy who.. obviously ... distracted Bob .. and uh .. he would would have taken that training and ... uh ... apparently a lynch mob of some sort was uh forming outside there in uh.. San Diego.. and and uh...perhaps.. with the training... and without the distractions... that would have corrected 70 years of life experience.. unlearned what his parents taught him at home in Philidelphia.. and uh.. unleaned all that, Cornell four years of nonsense.. pure distraction there too.,that 60s free love generational stuff.. and ... uh... that he needed to 'unlearn' to uh.. learn properly now .. how ... to not get his lech on while acting as Mayor.

Clearly not Bob's fault. That because of the mob and that uh that acting DA guy. There fault. All of it... and OH.. and.. Oh and Doug Manchester did it. And all those conspirators who wanted to see a Mayoral lynching. Yes. That's my story.. and I'm sticking to it.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 25, 2013 at 10:05 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

CA Offender, err, you mean gambling addict Maureen O'Connor gambling away $1 billion is less offensive than a dozen memory-challenged Del Mar cougars??? LOL

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 25, 2013 at 10:13 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Let's face it, Filner had many many enemies: the greedy developers hated him because he was a thorn in their collective rear-ends, the ideology-based feminists who hated him because he was the perfect male stereotype, the resentful gays who hated him for voting on DOMA, the Teebirchers who hated him simply for belonging to the OTHER party, and finally, the Democrat "purists" like Glory_ole, Frye and Gonzalez who did not want to be swept up in a whilrpool.

I challenge any poster where to show me where I'm mistaken.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 25, 2013 at 11:40 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

And I wouldn't be surprised if there was some latent anti-Semitism involved!

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 25, 2013 at 4:20 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Missionaccomplished... When all else fails, play the "race" card. That is beyond pathetic. This has nothing to do with partisan politics and it has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with character. Bad character.

If you are right about all the enemies that Filner has racked up, then he needs to find another profession. Politics 101. Be diplomatic. Bring people together. If you can not do that, you SUCK at what you do and the profession is not for you.

He needs to go become a manager at McDonald's or whatever floats his boat. He's has to find his passion elsewhere, This excuse really highlights he is unabashedly dishonest and frankly a pathetic politician. Making 'friends' is what a politician is supposed to be good at.

If you heard his final speech, he said to those 18 women who he offended.. "I was trying to establish personal relationships but the combination of awkwardness and hubris led to behavior that I think many found offensive," THIS is the EPITOMY of a terrible politician. I met with 18 people and offended all 18 of them ! BUT my 'intent' was trying to win friends and influence people????? Don't you find that pathetically humorous?

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Avatar for user 'ChrisH'

ChrisH | August 26, 2013 at 1:07 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

CarlosDangler...... lol...... you are a joke and so are your comments, You have clearly shown yourself to be the bully of the thread. Your post are meaningless rhetoric that i'll just be skipping over .....dont bother a three post response, i wont read it. It would make this thread a lot more compact and meaningful though if you abstained from spewing your non inquisitive anti critical thinking messages that fall more in line with a fringe extremism found on fox news, or so i thought. (except for all that philosophy you paste and clicked out of context, you should at least have cited it!!!) shake my head ......sigh....

philosopher3000 Ride On!!! Your post made me "have" sign up against all better judgment.

Brad Martin and Erik Anderson remind me of the announcers for those giant used car tent sales lol Sandhya Dirks has been signs off like Trisha Takanawa from Family Guy or any sub 100k small town reporter. I think a lot of small towns have way better reporting than this. Its a shame, but when i listen to Warren Olney and all the programming coming from kcrw in santa monica i dont see why we couldnt have that here. I'm just glad it still exists. When noon rolls around the programming is such a joke (sorry Maureen) that i wish Tom fudge was on with "these days" still I'm a supporter and it's all we got *shrug*

No matter you stance on Bob's political views, my views or your own. It's a sad Day for Democracy!! I voted for Bob Filner, I am sad for my hometown to say the least. I LOVE San Diego. But there has been no due process. He has not been convicted. Nothing has been proved in court. We paid for a serial rapist cops defence and Bob should have his day in court just like those women victims and just like any other citizen under the law. What about Democracy!!! Todd Gloria is not who i voted for. Nor is he a person i would be proud to call our mayor.

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Avatar for user 'philosopher3000'

philosopher3000 | August 27, 2013 at 10:55 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Excellence is virtue. Listen not to a man's words, but watch his actions.

You don't have to do anything to be accused.
You don't have to be guilty to be impeached.
At KPBS you need no evidence to be found guilty.

Final word. Speculation and gossip is not news.

All my words are my own.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 28, 2013 at 3:32 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago


Those quotes cited above are Aristotle and I beg to differ, they are not out of context. They are absolutely relevant when discussing Politics and understanding why politicians fail. I voted as a Democrat in the last election but do not align with one political party and do not care for Fox News programming. Please don't be such a cyber-bully and enough with the preconceived labels. It's very hurtful in fact. I need to step away and get a tissue.

OK i am back in my happy place. All Politician's should know of Aristotle's teachings. He is central to Bill of Rights and Constitution.

Another reason I posted Aristotle quotes was for Philosopher3000. It was clear from his earlier posts his reasoning was not informed by Aristotle/Plato/Socrates and was coming from darker age. I wanted to steer him away from nihilism and back on a path towards happiness.

My efforts have been paying off. For example, his last post, his words mind you: 'Excellence is virtue.' Pretty good my protegé for that is partially true. Soon you will see the light weedhopper. Virtue strives for to be the perfect temperate balance between two extremes. Courage taken to extremes is fool-heartiness at one end and cowardice at the other. The middle of the extremes is where the virtue lives. That perfect middle-ground where true virtue lies is a different mean for all of us in our pursuit of happiness.

"virtue" (arete) = excellence in fulfillment of a particular function

"happiness" (eudaimonia) = a sense of well-being, resulting from achieving excellence in the fulfillment of one's functions, including the "species-specific" functions of reason (both theoretical and practical)

Side note: Bob Filner received his due process. He milked it. He even received a pension out the deal. He's the antithesis of temperance in his dealings. Unfortunately that led to his self-inflicted political demise.

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Avatar for user 'CarlosDangler'

CarlosDangler | August 28, 2013 at 5:04 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Excellence is virtue. Listen not to a man's words, but watch his actions.

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Avatar for user 'MarineRoom'

MarineRoom | August 28, 2013 at 11:46 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

I agree with you, nor was it ever demonstrated or proven that he did the things of which he was so loudly accused.

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