Councilmen talk about healing, moving city forward after Filner agrees to resign as mayor

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Council president Todd Gloria and Councilman Kevin Faulconer talked about healing and moving the city forward Saturday hours after San Diego Mayor Bob Filner agreed to resign, effective Friday, Aug. 30.

"I appreciate folks being patient while we dealt with this," said Gloria, who was interviewed along with Faulconer on a local television station Saturday. "All this backsliding in recent months is over. We're going to get back to doing the people's business. That starts next Friday."

"We're going to put this chapter behind us," Faulconer said. "San Diego is much better than what's been going on with Mayor Filner. We have a unanimous Council focused on moving this city forward. That's the real positive news."

Following three days of brokered negotiations, the City Council met Friday in closed session after public testimony and voted 7-0, with council members Scott Sherman and Myrtle Cole absent, to accept Filner's resignation and the settlement agreement's terms.

As part of that deal, the city will provide a joint legal defense with the mayor of claims against him by city employees or contractors, but the city reserves the right to seek reimbursement for any damages it suffers. Filner will also be permitted to hire his own lawyer, according to the city attorney.

A total of 18 women have come forward in the past six weeks accusing Filner of making inappropriate and unwanted sexual advances toward them. One of Filner's accusers, Irene McCormack Jackson, his former communications director, has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Filner and the city.

Filner apologized to his female accusers and the city for the trouble he caused on Friday, but continued to deny he was guilty of sexual harassment.

"I have never sexually harassed anyone," Filner said in remarks to the Council on Friday. "Unfortunately, I can't afford to continue this (legal) battle. I know, if given due process, I would be vindicated."

On Friday, Filner railed against the public reaction to the allegations against him.

"The hysteria that has been created is the hysteria of a lynch mob," he said. "The media and the politicians who fed this hysteria, you need to look at what you helped create. You have unleashed a monster."

During an interview Saturday, Faulconer dissented. "It was the mayor's actions that put him in this position," he said about Filner's mob comments.

Gloria on Saturday said Filner's comments, both apologetic and accusatory, showed he'd lost control and that his leadership was no longer effective.

"It's time to turn the page," said Gloria, who is interim mayor.

A special election will now be scheduled within 90 days. If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes, that person will become mayor. Otherwise, a runoff election will be held between the top two vote-getters.

Asked whether they would join the race to replace Filner for mayor, both Gloria and Faulconer said they were considering a run but were not yet prepared to announce their decision.

Two candidates, former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and businessman Tobiah Pettus, had already filed their intentions to run for mayor as of Aug. 23, according to the City Clerk's Office.

Ex-Councilman Carl DeMaio, who lost to Filner in a closely contested mayoral election last November, is expected to announce next week whether he will enter the race. He had been preparing for a Congressional run against Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, next year.

Filner had a plea to make Friday in parting.

"We had a chance to do a progressive vision in this city for the first time in 50 years. ... We need you to carry that vision forward. This is not the time to let it die."

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