SAN DIEGO - State Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez have publicly called for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to resign amid sexual harassment allegations.
Gonzalez, who headed the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council when Filner ran for office last year, was considered one of the mayor's biggest supporters.
On Twitter Friday morning, Gonzalez posted:
Should Filner resign? Absolutely if he doesn't get help & completely change his behavior.— Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaSGonzalez) July 12, 2013
Gonzalez is the sister of attorney Marco Gonzalez, who has joined former councilwoman Donna Frye and attorney Cory Briggs in calling for Filner's resignation.
Atkins, the Assembly Majority Leader, released the following statement hours before a scheduled joint news conference with Gonzalez:
"It is with regret, but with strong resolve, that I call for Mayor Bob Filner to either come forward and declare his innocence or resign immediately. Sexual harassment is incompatible with public service. Mayor Filner is the CEO of a government organization of almost 20,000 employees, at least half of whom are women. With his admission yesterday of mistreatment of the women on his staff, I believe he can no longer lead this city.
We would not tolerate this from a CEO or senior government employee. We would not tolerate this if his actions were homophobic or racist. We cannot tolerate the mistreatment of women in the workplace.
I have dedicated my career to social justice and speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Last year I stood with Women for Filner because I believed in Mayor Filner's progressive vision for our city. Today I stand with the women who have been victims of sexual harassment, both in this instance and throughout our society.
I hope Mayor Filner is sincere about and successful in his personal efforts to improve his attitudes and behavior, but again, I do not think he can continue to serve as mayor."
During their joint news conference, Gonzalez told reporters there's a time and a place when someone is no longer fit to be a boss, and given the allegations she had heard, Filner had reached that point.
"I hope that he will spare us all a lengthy process. I hope he'll spare the victims the need to go through a legal process and do the right thing and simply resign," Gonzalez said.
Atkins said it pained her to call for the mayor's resignation because she had supported his vision of progress for the city. But as a leader, she has a responsibility to her constituents and to the city employees to "take a stand on the behalf of individuals who may not be able to come forward," Atkins said.
"It is with strong resolve that I call for Mayor Bob Filner to either come forward and declare his innocence or resign immediately," Atkins said. "Sexual harassment is incompatible with public service."
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