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Filner’s Critics Say Business Is Better Since Resignation

Two leading private sector critics of Bob Filner said today the business climate has improved since the former mayor announced his resignation.

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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.

Jerry Sanders, also an ex-mayor and now the CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, was the first major business leader to demand that Filner step down as increasing numbers of women went public with sexual harassment allegations.

On July 31, about three weeks after the first accusations were made, Sanders said Filner's behavior was "reprehensible.'' He said San Diego had become "the ridicule of the United States'' as Filner jokes made the rounds on late-night television.

The next day, Mark Cafferty, CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp, became one of a group of 30 heads of business groups to call on Filner to leave office. He said the notoriety of the allegations caused a "serious negative impact'' on the local economy.

"You know, I think people are feeling better about it,'' Sanders told City News Service today. "I think the fact that we have some stability here now, and a mayor's race with a couple really credible candidates is going to help out.''

He said he was traveling to meeting with chamber counterparts in Oklahoma City Friday, and he expects to learn more about the outside view of San Diego then.

Cafferty told CNS he no longer hears people from out of town mentioning they saw San Diego mentioned by television hosts Conan O'Brien or John Stewart.

"So now (a conversation) seems much more focused on folks wanting to know 'Where do you guys go from here?,' and that's a great discussion to be having,'' Cafferty said.

He also said working relations are much better now with the mayor's office, which turned unresponsive after Filner hunkered down in his final scandal-plagued months as the city's top executive. The same people who wouldn't return phone calls before are now reaching out, he said.

Both Sanders and Cafferty praised Interim Mayor Todd Gloria for the way he represents the city.

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