Escondido deputy mayor had 'strange encounter' with Bob Filner, reported it

Went to former chair of county party

SAN DIEGO - Escondido Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz told Team 10 she had a "strange encounter" with Mayor Bob Filner before San Diego elected him, and Diaz said she went to the county's former Democratic Party chairman.

Diaz said she met Bob Filner a few times when he was a congressman, but it was her interaction with him at a  political event for women in 2010 that disturbed her.

"The congressman walked straight up to me, asked me if I had a boyfriend or husband," Diaz said. "I said I had husband, and he asked what my husband did, and I said, 'Well my husband is a cop,' and he walked away. It was that strange."

Diaz is running for mayor in Escondido against incumbent Mayor Sam Abed.

As San Diego's mayoral race drew closer, Diaz said she heard similar stories from other women.

"I heard enough women say, 'Oh yeah, he's just that way,' and there was something intuitively wrong about that behavior," Diaz said.

Diaz brought her concerns to Jess Durfee, the former chair of the Democratic Party in San Diego. She told Team 10 she made it clear she wasn't physically harassed, but she was bothered by Filner's behavior.

"What I described to Jess was mild, it was weird, it was dirty old man-ish," Diaz said.

Diaz said she did not feel harassed. "I felt disappointed in someone who is supposed to be a role model in politics," she said.

When she talked to Durfee, she had "the impression that he would look into and that it would be addressed somehow."

"The gist was, 'Thank you for letting me know, I'm glad you told me,' but nothing ever happened," Diaz said of her conversation with Durfee. "And Bob went on to be the nominated candidate."

Diaz did not endorse Filner for mayor.

"I never endorsed Bob - I didn't precinct walk, I didn't phone bank," Diaz said.

Durfee confirmed to Team 10 Diaz approached him. He said she was the only woman who ever came to him with a personal encounter about Filner's behavior.

"It was tacky, but it wasn't illegal -- it wasn't going to a degree that would even be considered harassment," Durfee said.

Durfee said he confronted the congressman about what Diaz had told him.

"We discussed it. He assured me there was nothing that I should be concerned about or that anyone should be concerned about," said Durfee.

Durfee said he had heard rumors about Filner asking women out, but nothing on the level of sexual harassment.

He said former assemblywoman Lori Saldana went to him with stories about other women. Durfee said he told Saldana to have those women come to him, but they never did.

"I spoke with two of his former district directors, both of them had confirmed as Bob has said, that he had not had any cases of sexual harassment filed against him all his years in office," said Durfee.

If Diaz knew then about the women coming forward now, she said she would have rattled more cages.

"It doesn't feel good to say 'I told you so,'" Diaz said. "But there were a few women to get this message across and it was ignored."

Diaz said she wants the mayor to resign and get help on his own time.

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