Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Dueling Rallies To Support, Recall Mayor Bob Filner Scheduled

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

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

Dueling Rallies To Support, Recall Mayor Bob Filner Scheduled
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.

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.