Faulconer, Gloria Say City Business Will Continue Amid Allegations
Monday, July 22, 2013
Aired 7/22/13 on KPBS News.
Two leaders of the City Council today reassured San Diegans that the city's business will continue despite the sexual harassment allegations that have engulfed Mayor Bob Filner.
Just before the news that a lawsuit over sexual harassment was filed against Mayor Bob Filner, two city councilmen repeated their calls for the mayor to resign.
Councilmen Todd Gloria and Kevin Faulconer held a press conference to deliver a mixed message: While city business is going forward, they said, it is also hampered by the mayor's refusal to step down.
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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.
Faulconer reassured San Diegans that their potholes would be filled, trash would be collected and 911 calls would be answered. But at the same time, he said, the city's ability to function is hurt by sexual harassment allegations against the mayor.
"Unfortunately the mayor has decided that his own ego is more important than the reputation of our city, leaving San Diegans to wonder if anything can be accomplished under his leadership," said Faulconer, a Republican and the senior member of the City Council. "We're here to reassure San Diegans that the people's business will be done at City Hall."
Gloria said the council can't force the mayor to step down and will leave decisions over the sexual harassment allegations to the city attorney. But, he said, the council can investigate Filner's other actions, including his trip to Paris, $100,000 deal with the developer Sunroad Enterprises and the mayor's appointments to the pension board.
He said in the next several months the council plans to address retention issues in both the San Diego Police and Fire-Rescue departments, work on preparations for what could be a difficult wildfire season and handle infrastructure and water policy changes.
"We cannot efficiently and effectively run 'America's Finest City' with this mayor in office,'' Gloria said. "Any progress made in the coming weeks and months will be done not because of him, but despite of him.''
He said that he no longer speaks to Filner outside of closed-session meetings between the mayor, City Council and city lawyers regarding litigation.
Faulconer said that with Filner in office, "San Diego is without a credible citywide leader.'' He also said the council is considering voting on a resolution calling on Filner to step down.
Gloria called the allegations a "shroud of shame'' hanging over the mayor's office.
Both Faulconer and Gloria have called on the mayor to resign over claims that he sexually harassed women. If Filner did step down, Gloria would become interim mayor while a special election was held.
Former Councilwoman Donna Frye, who was a member of Filner’s staff until she resigned in April, and attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs, originally brought the sexual harassment allegations to light in mid-July. They each hand-delivered letters to Filner requesting his immediate resignation over allegations that Filner sexually harassed women.