Council Votes To Accept San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's Resignation
City council members voted 7 to 0 this afternoon to accept a deal that involves the resignation of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.
The agreement includes the city dismissing its cross-complaint against Filner and providing a joint legal defense from the City Attorney's office for both the city of San Diego and Filner, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said.
Filner can also hire his own lawyers, but there will be a $98,000 cap on the amount the city will spend defending Filner. In addition, if the city is found liable for Filner's behavior, the city can sue Filner for reimbursement.
The City Council heard public comment on the agreement at 1 p.m. Friday before their closed session meeting. Response was mixed between people who support Filner, people asking the council to not approve an agreement that involves taxpayer money and people who said the city should pay for Filner's legal fees in exchange for him resigning.
Two councilmembers, Myrtle Cole of District 4 and Scott Sherman of District 7, are absent from today's meeting and will not vote. Sherman is out of the country because of a "long standing family obligation that couldn't be rescheduled," said his chief of staff, Barrett Tetlow.
Cole is in Washington DC at a national education conference convened by the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, her chief of staff Jimmie Slack wrote in an email.
Laura Fink, one of the first women to come forward publicly and accuse Filner of unwanted sexual advances, told the council she hoped they would bear in mind the 18 women who have come forward.
"Ask yourselves not only the cost of resignation, but the cost of enabling the mayor to be in office indefinitely," Fink said.
But Enrique Morones, a Filner supporter who has stood by the mayor throughout the harassment scandal, said he demands due process for Filner.
"We're tired of public execution that's taking place," he said.
An effort to recall the mayor also officially kicked off on Sunday. Organizers would have 39 days to collect more than 101,000 signatures to get recall on the ballot.
One of the recall organizers, Stampp Corbin, told the council, "please do not strike a deal with Mayor Filner."
"We have this process set up and he will be recalled," he said.
But Rachel Laing, a spokeswoman for the recall campaign, said while the recall effort has collected more than 20,000 signatures in five days, the mayor's resignation would accomplish their goal.
"The cost of keeping him in office through a recall is incredibly high," she said. "Every day he's in office is a day the city remains in paralysis."
After public comment, the council will adjourn to a closed-door session. They will then reconvene in a public session, invite comment from the public again, share their comments and then hold the vote on the deal.
Attorney Gloria Allred raised questions about the proposed deal.
Allred, who represents the mayor’s former communications officer, Irene McCormack Jackson said during a press conference yesterday that the settlement of her lawsuit is not part of the proposed agreement and that she and her client are in the dark about its details. Allred was joined by former fiancée, Bronwyn Ingram.
Allred said it would be reprehensible if the city council signed off on a deal in which public funds were paid to Filner in exchange for his agreement to resign. She noted that must be the case, otherwise the council would not have to meet to approve the deal; the mayor could simply resign on his own.