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Filner Won’t Resign; Apologizes, Says He Needs Help

Video

Filner Statement

Aired 7/11/13 on KPBS News.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner apologizes, but says he will not resign over allegations that he sexually harassed numerous women.

Conceding that he has behaved inappropriately with women, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner said today that he will not resign and is seeking "professional help" to deal with his behavior.

In a DVD statement, Filner said:

"I begin today by apologizing to you. I have diminished the office to which you elected me. I have reached into my heart and soul and realize I must and will change my behavior.

"As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people, I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times, I have intimidated them.

"I am also humbled to admit that I need help. I have begun to work with professionals to make changes in my behavior and approach. In addition, my staff and I will participate in sexual harassment training provided by the city.

"Please know that I fully understand that only I am the one who can make these changes.

"I only ask that you give me an opportunity to prove I am capable of change so that the vision I have for our city’s future can be realized."

At a morning news conference, former Councilwman Donna Frye -- who was on Filner's staff till April -- was joined by attorney Marco Gonzalez in calling for Filner's resignation. Gonzalez said he represents multiple women alleging they were sexually harassed by Filner.

Contacted by KPBS News, Gonzalez said this afternoon that he is consulting with his clients on how to respond to Filner's mea culpa and will be commenting tomorrow on this development.

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.

In an exclusive interview with KPBS today, Filner's ex-fiancee Bronwyn Ingram said she's saddened by the allegations of sexual harassment against the mayor. Ingram, who lives in Los Angeles, declined to comment on whether she knew of the allegations, if they were the basis for ending her relationship with Filner last week or whether she thinks he will resign.

She did note during the interview, however, that she has respect for Frye.

Comments

Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | July 11, 2013 at 3:33 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

True or not, this type of attention will prevent Bob Filner from performing duties as mayor in any effective way. There is much truth in the statement, "Perception is reality."

The perception and reality of sexual harassment charges is not something that will go away despite Bob Filner accepting and receiving professional help. This is politics, but even in civilian life the people surrounding you would be equally less forgiving if you or I were in a similar position. It's hard enough for people to forgive and forget, especially with the subject of sexual harassment.

Then there is Bob Filner's relationship, or lack of, with Jan Goldsmith. Being mayor does not mean you get your way. Point in fact, the higher up you go the more you must play ball. This is a lesson Bob Filner has failed to realize in all his years in politics. The attention he has drawn on our city because of his behavior and harassment charges are an embarassment, and one that can only be rectified with Bob Filner's resignation and a long vacation outside of San Diego county.

....But is Bob Filner man enough to do the right thing here?

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | July 11, 2013 at 4:18 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

I'll reserve judgment until I see what staff changes he's talking about and what the anonymous accusers and their attorney do. This tells me the mayor has figured out that his previous behavior may have been inappropriate and is willing to try to fix it. Will be interesting to see how the local media treats this episode. Stories about redemption are never as exciting and don't sell as many ads as ones about embattled politicians fighting off their enemies.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 11, 2013 at 4:43 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

I thank Mayor Filner for being honest and addressing this head-on.

As to whether I agree with him staying or not, that totally depends on what exactly he did.

"intimidating women" is pretty vague.

If he made some off-colour jokes and was a little too flirty then he should not resign and proceed with the things outlined above.

If he physically groped or threatened work retaliation for anyone not willing to go along with an advance, then I'm afraid he should step down.

This is why it's so important to know what he is being accused of, exactly.

Frye, Gonzalez et. al. need to wake up and realize this this is NOT a private legal matter between the two parties, it effects ALL San Diegans when we are talking about our mayor being asked to resign.

If the women don't want to come forward, then Gonzales should have filed a private lawsuit on behalf of the women against the Mayor as opposed to saying the mayor should resign - which brings it to a level of affecting all residents of this city.

I was very annoyed with Mr. Gonzales on the noon-time program.

He came across as rude and condescending, and was very disrespectful when Ms. St. John confronted him with the fact he has furnished no evidence.

Mr. Gonzalez is basically telling the citizens of San Diego we should just shut-up, quit demanding details and trust that he, a lawyer, has the authority to demand our mayor resign without sharing any of the evidence with we the people.

I want to know the level of "harassment" we are talking about here before I decide whether or not I agree with Filner's plan to stay in office and seek help; If Gonzalez can't provide this to us, then I will assume the accusations are murky at best and deal with non-criminal conduct (i.e. no groping, threatening job demotion or termination for sex, etc.)

(After all, if they do include these types of incidents, I'm assuming the accusers will be filing lawsuits against Filner)

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Avatar for user 'Earl_Lee'

Earl_Lee | July 11, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Why do you need the accusers to come forward? He has already admitted to this deplorable behavior.

As a father of a daughter, someone that has sisters as well as a wife. I wouldn't tolerate any male to sexually harass them and I doubt most reasonable people in society would allow it either. This boils down to basic common sense and decency. If the Mayor can't make common sense decision making on something like this there are most likely many other issues that followed the same path.

And the scary thing is it seems that this reprehensible behavior has been going on a very long time. This isn't something that should or can be tolerated.

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Avatar for user 'Anden13'

Anden13 | July 11, 2013 at 5:19 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Mayor Ron Burgundy..stay classy San Diego

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Avatar for user 'SweetSpot'

SweetSpot | July 11, 2013 at 5:43 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

He has admitted to doing something that there are laws against.

Gonzalez and Frye claim groping and kissing were some of the claims against him. I think the accusers have a right NOT to be tried in the court of public opinion. They've already been victims once--why again?

I might be more skeptical if this was coming from his opponents, but it's from people who in the past have tried to cover up his warts. He was warned by staff on numerous occasions. (I have personal knowledge of this). He didn't correct his behavior then. What makes us think he will now. Fool me once...

Personally, and this is just speculation, I think he's likely bi-polar and behaves recklessly when he's manic and/or off his meds.

He's effectively made himself a lame duck mayor. San Diegans deserve better for the next 3.5 years.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 11, 2013 at 5:50 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

As Filner said, he "diminished" the Office of the Mayor.

He has embarrassed the people of San Diego and degraded the office. A video apology and sexual harassment training will not repair the tremendous damage done.

For the sake of our city, please Filner, do the right thing and resign.

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Avatar for user 'Tangair'

Tangair | July 11, 2013 at 6:32 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Bolshevik Bob has been doing the unthinkable for decades now. His abuse against women ranges from slap-and-tickle to at least three events where physical control was initiated by an inebriated Filner against a struggling victim.

Filner carpet-bagged around the city and county for years stepping into one political job after another and leveraging ever-growing influence with union fellow travelers. His instincts are grossly tainted by his core hostility toward anyone not fawning for his Marxist political doctrine or his imperious ruling impulses. Thin skin, short fuse and union mob connections from San Diego to Chicago - that's Bolshevik Bob in a nutshell.

Kudos to the lawyer who penned his Caspar Milquetoast statement this afternoon.

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Avatar for user 'theRose'

theRose | July 11, 2013 at 7:06 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Two words: Gavin Newsom: http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/AIDE-QUITS-AS-NEWSOM-S-AFFAIR-WITH-HIS-WIFE-IS-2652745.php

No one cares about these thing longer than one media cycle. Business will go on as usual.

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Avatar for user 'twells'

twells | July 11, 2013 at 7:35 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Lack of common sense, terrible judgement, poor moral character, and a sense of entitlement ... these are not good characteristics in a lead. Bob has got to go.

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Avatar for user 'RLA'

RLA | July 11, 2013 at 9:21 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Anybody remember his "inappropriate behavior " at National / Reagan Airport in DC? Apparently his "do you know who I am?" attitude and willingness, maybe need, to belittle people carries on despite his previous apologies, repentances, counseling, etc.

The only thing shocking here is that many San Diegans are shocked that Filner is behaving like he has his entire political career. Maybe folks should have looked a little deeper than his party affiliation before casting their votes for a "leopard who will not change his spots".

He will not resign unless forced to do so by much stronger events and accusations than those brought up today. Who knows, maybe the FBI can save San Diego from four years of Filner. Oh, I forgot, he already returned the money so no foul :-) on the Sundance affair. At least his phony "first lady" bailed out early, too bad it will be much more trouble for San Diego to bail out from their own Filner Era.

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Avatar for user 'MaoTzu'

MaoTzu | July 12, 2013 at 5:58 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

When this first came out I was thinking, "more sour grapes from the people who lost the election", and I still hear those folks who really care nothing for women jumping on the band wagon as a way to hurt Filner and his progressive stance for the future of San Diego.

Now that we know there is a there, there, that it's not only the right trying to subvert the will of the voters, but that Filner does have issues, we need to help the victims and in this case Filner too. Filner needs to do whatever it takes to get right with his attitude towards women, and I think maybe people in general.

San Diego has a chance to start making this city something more than a Phoenix by the sea, a city which cares about it's people and it's neighborhoods. Bob Filner is a step in the right direction for that future city, let's not let this trip up these baby steps towards San Diego becoming america's most livable city rather than it's "finest.'

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | July 12, 2013 at 7:19 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Since he is a public employee, will some of his victims be seeking monetary damages?

I'm sure there are plenty of out of work lawyers salivating at the prospect of the lawsuits this will bring on.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | July 12, 2013 at 9:17 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

I wonder if similar behavior by other members of the city government should be similarly tolerated. Should he get an Nth chance because he is at the top? Does the city have a 'some level greater than zero tolerance' policy for sexual harassment from its employees?
If a beat cop would be suspended or fired for similar actions, then the mayor should too. If not, it will be interesting to see what happened and is therefore acceptable behavior.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | July 12, 2013 at 9:22 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

He needs to just go away before he tarnishes the position of Mayor any further. He has become a joke. This new circus will hinder the city until he goes.

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Avatar for user 'Chip'

Chip | July 12, 2013 at 10:57 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

"oooOOH" said Bobby. "You caught me! I've been a bad boy. Now I promise to be a good boy."

Boys will be boys....
Surely in 2013, some of the women that were harrassed are not going to feel any shame by stepping out and suing Filner and the City of S.D. after his pathetic little boy act. He needs to go heal, do his penance, whatever, but not on "city time."

Get ready for the litigation & media circus that Ms. Frye was trying to "help" all involved and move forward.

(Disclaimer: I voted for Bob and supported his pushback against the S.D. cronie power establishment.)

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | July 12, 2013 at 11:48 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

In any other position of power, people get fired. An apology is just not good enough. Got to wonder if his fiancé leaving this past week was just a coincidence. Time to say good-bye Bob. Do the right thing for the city.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 12, 2013 at 11:56 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

@theRose, Re: your Gavin link, as soon as Newsom twosome came out guns a blazing against Prop 8 and he thumbed his nose at the CA Constitution, all was forgiven and forgotten.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | July 12, 2013 at 12:38 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

"Boys will be boys ..."

That's the kind of sexist mindset we're trying to get away from. "Boys will be boys" should only apply to experiments in launching bottle-rockets and fireworks. It's not an excuse for devious sexual activity.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | July 12, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

DeLaRick

careful with the fireworks, Marco Gonzalez might get ideas again.

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Avatar for user 'notsure'

notsure | July 12, 2013 at 5:44 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Peking duck is correct. Filner is innocent until proven guilty. He has a right to face his accusers. Sexual harassment is a broad term that can mean anything from smiling to flirting to asking to dinner to threats to firing to groping. It must be defined. The lawyer said it wasnt criminal meaning it wasnt unwanted physical contact. This is not a rape case.
The lawyers and alleged victims stand to make giant sums of money from San Diego taxpayers. They need to answer questions about specifics to be credible.
Anyone can be unjustly accused. Plenty of people are convicted of crimes they did not commit.
Reporters are justified in getting statements from the accusers.

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Avatar for user 'notsure'

notsure | July 12, 2013 at 5:48 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Benz, many city workers have unions with appointed lawyers that protect them. The mayor doesn't. Not sure what the firing process is. It may just be a majority city council vote. Or impeachment by citizens.

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