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Dueling Rallies To Support, Recall Mayor Bob Filner Scheduled

Supporters and opponents of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner scheduled dueling rallies Thursday and Friday.

Aired 7/18/13 on KPBS News.

Supporters and opponents of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner scheduled dueling rallies Thursday and Friday.

Thursday's gathering in Civic Center Plaza called for due process for the mayor, who has been accused of sexual harassment, according to Channel 8. Opponents of the mayor will rally at 4 p.m Friday in the same spot to discuss a recall effort.

Pallamary & Associates

Michael Pallamary, the leader of the Recall Bob Filner effort.

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.

Interest in a simmering effort to recall Filner exploded last week after the mayor was accused of sexual harassment, said Michael Pallamary, a land use consultant leading the effort.

Pallamary, a registered Republican, had been gauging interest in recalling Filner since before the allegations were made public. He started a "Recall Bob Filner" Facebook page in June and said he has been waiting for the mayor to mess up for months.

"I said Mr. Filner is going to let us know when he needs to be recalled," Pallamary said. "From my perspective, as an observer, this was inevitable. All of these revelations and everything that's coming out is of no surprise to me at all."

Filner's innocence or guilt in the sexual harassment allegations is "irrelevant" to recall efforts, Pallamary said.

"Filner is completely incapable of running the city," he said. "A recall is merely a firing. He can't do his job, so he gets to be fired. That's irrespective of sexual harassment victims coming forward."

Pallamary's adversarial relationship with Filner goes back even farther. When Pallamary led San Diego's only successful recall effort, which ousted City Councilwoman Linda Bernhardt, he said it was also directed at Filner.

Then-City Councilman Filner formed what Pallamary called "the gang of five" on the City Council that "punished opponents and rewarded allies with redistricting efforts." He said Filner was "the puppet master manipulating everything."

Filner's office did not return requests for comment.

Pallamary knows an uphill battle awaits him if he moves forward with the recall effort. He must collect enough signatures to equal 15 percent of the number of San Diegans registered to vote in the last municipal election, which would be 103,010 signatures.

Once signature gathering begins, Pallamary would only have 39 days to collect them all. The City Clerk then has 30 days to verify the signatures. If not enough verified signatures were collected, Pallamary can then have 30 more days. If the recall effort succeeds, a vote on whether to recall and who should fill the mayor's seat must happen within 90 days. Filner could continue to serve until that election was complete.

Pallamary said he's hoping to get enough volunteers that he won't have to hire an outside group to collect petitions. Money he does have to spend will be funded by small donations, he said. While many groups have approached him about joining the effort, he said he welcomes all volunteers but doesn't want to be affiliated with any political group.

"Recall will not serve as an advocate for any group or political party," he said. "That's not just a 'no' but a 'heck no.' We're not going to have any part of that if I have anything to say about it."

While several prominent Democrats and six members of the City Council have asked Filner to resign, the mayor refuses.

Pallamary said he would rather recall Filner than have him resign. That's because a resignation would then create two elections, a primary and a runoff between the top two vote-getters. In a recall election, whoever has the most votes in the first and only round wins.

"You could be mayor of San Diego with only 10 percent of the vote in a recall election," he said. "If we have a runoff, it will cost the city millions extra to hold two elections. And, if the Democratic party offers a viable candidate, I can just see all this stuff with Filner getting dug up from gutter, being used to slam that candidate, and then the election becomes really messy. I don't want to see that."

If Filner resigned, City Council President Todd Gloria, a Democrat, would serve as mayor until the special election was held.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 18, 2013 at 4:15 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Ummmmm, now we have a "land use consultant" descending in like a rabid buzzard that's been circling a carcass, deciding when to grab his 15 min. of fame?


This is about principle now.

We are about to see every wannabe charlatan in town slithering out of the woodwork trying to maneuver their way in to this terrible situation to get their name in lights.

As disgusted as I am with Filner I wouldn't sign this parasite's petition if someone paid me to.

Never, not even if Filner groped ME.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | July 18, 2013 at 5:24 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

"Land use consultant". Wonder what Mr. Pallamary's clients think of his political activities? Who is funding his efforts? Follow the money.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 18, 2013 at 5:47 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

"Filner is completely incapable of running the city," he said. "A recall is merely a firing. He can't do his job, so he gets to be fired. That's irrespective of sexual harassment victims coming forward."


Exactly. But a recall effort is not needed. Finer must resign or be impeached by the City Council.

Filner doesn't care what regular people think. But being fired by his fellow politicians, especially those of his own party, would be a devastating blow to his ego. My guess is he will resign and flee to his hometown Pittsburgh.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 18, 2013 at 10:42 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

CA offender claims: "Filner doesn't care what regular people think."

Oh, and Carl does?

Who are you trying to fool? A populist you are not.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | July 19, 2013 at 7:06 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

maybe in the end they will all turn on each others, and the voters will win in the situation . ( at least we can hope)

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | July 19, 2013 at 12:35 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago


A populist I am.

And Filner is not.

He's not even true to his elite inner circle and ex-fiancee no less the people of San Diego.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | July 20, 2013 at 2:18 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Among the many sad things about this mess is the realization that Filner may, and likely will continue to be mayor. Innocent or not, Filner is not stupid enough to resign and pay for his legal troubles out of his own pocket. Secondly, many people do not know how difficult it is to win a sexual harassment case. What we are missing here is evidence. We've seen nothing. Only bold, harsh accusations, but no evidence. Filner knows this, too. Even if this goes to trial unless the accusers can actually prove Filner's guilt he will be proclaimed innocent.

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