As San Diego Mayor Heads for Therapy, City Faces Big Mess

By Wood, Daniel B. | The Christian Science Monitor, July 31, 2013 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

As San Diego Mayor Heads for Therapy, City Faces Big Mess

Wood, Daniel B., The Christian Science Monitor

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner - faced with a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by his former communications director - is not only embarrassing his city, but is also presenting it with confusing legal choices, political and legal analysts say.

He has agreed to undergo two weeks of counseling as seven other women have come forward to accuse him of inappropriate behavior. The therapy is to take place Aug. 5-19, during which the mayor has said he will receive twice-a-day briefings about city operations.

But seven of the nine city council members say he should resign. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz have also indicated as much.

In addition, two potential recall efforts are afoot. One recall group filed an affidavit Monday indicating its plans, and another published an ad over the weekend indicating similar intentions.

It's all adding up to a confusing situation, and questions are multiplying by the moment. Among the questions:

- Who is in control of the city while the mayor is in rehab?

- Can two recalls go on at the same time?

- Are the city's recall measures at odds with those of California?

- Who will pay Filner's legal fees?

"The City Council and other civic leaders throughout the city are responding to the politics of the situation and the outrage that stretches far beyond the region's borders," says David McCuan, a political scientist at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., in an e-mail. "Citizens, comedians, state and national leaders - everyone has the same message for the Mayor: get out and get help. Yet, the Mayor is hunkering down and preserving all his legal options. This sets up a monumental battle through a recall effort and if there is more than one effort, the Mayor could potentially survive."

Filner declared Monday that he thinks the city should pay his legal fees, and the city council rejected that in a late Tuesday vote. The council also voted unanimously to indemnify itself against all damages and legal fees it might incur as a result of the lawsuit.

"If Bob Filner engaged in unlawful conduct and the city is held liable, he will have to reimburse us every penny the city pays and its attorney fees," City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said.

In a statement, Councilmember Kevin Faulconer said: "Bob Filner can't pay back San Diegans for the damage he's done to our city's reputation."

Another figure who says Filner should resign is city council president Todd Gloria, who would become acting mayor in the event of a resignation.

"I applaud his action to seek help, but it only underscores what a lot of us are saying, which is you cannot seek help and run the city at the same time," Mr. Gloria said in an interview with KPBS TV. "That's why myself and so many others have said, Mayor, you need to resign."

Technically, during therapy, the mayor will keep his full authority - signing legislation, if needed, and overseeing parks, roads, libraries, and city services, according to Mr. Goldsmith.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

As San Diego Mayor Heads for Therapy, City Faces Big Mess


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?