Former Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Saldana now calling on Mayor Bob Filner to resign

SAN DIEGO - A leader in San Diego's Democratic Party has had a change of heart as to whether Mayor Bob Filner should resign.

Former Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Saldana warned local Democratic Party leaders about Filner two years ago, but up until now, she has not called for Filner to resign. But on Saturday, she joined the growing chorus of those demanding that the mayor step aside.

"I think the best thing for the city to move forward is that the mayor resign," Saldana told 10News.

Up until now, Saldana had said while she was very disappointed in the mayor's behavior, she felt due process should take its course.

10News asked her why the change of heart now.

"I think the women finally coming forward and as much as I was aware of this problem secondhand ... it really did take some pretty courageous women to step up and share their stories," she said.

Saldana said she does not think Filner will voluntarily step aside. She said there may be some legal strategy behind his refusal.

"I think that this is something that he might have for leverage in a lawsuit ... that he might offer to resign as part of a settlement with some of the women who are now bringing forward the lawsuit against him," Saldana said.

Mesa College political science professor Carl Luna said, "Short of a recall, a criminal indictment of some sort or a comet hitting San Diego … I don't think the mayor is going to leave City Hall anytime soon."

Luna says Saldana's take on the outcome of a lawsuit against the mayor is probably spot-on.

"I'm beginning to believe the only circumstances under which the mayor would resign is if he were able to strike a deal with the plaintiffs that are going to file these charges … that he doesn't get personally held liable so he can enjoy his retirement and not get bankrupted by the legal proceedings," he said.

Luna said Filner's refusal to step aside comes with a price for San Diego.

"San Diego's getting a lot of international press and national press," he said. "The only thing that's saving us from even more is the (Anthony) Weiner story of New York. That was fortuitous for the city, but it doesn't make the city look particularly well-governed particularly with all the other scandals we've had over the years."

Saldana says what has happened now should cause the Democratic Party leadership to do some soul searching.

"To go with somebody even when some people were coming forward and saying there were some potential problems ... I think that this is going to make the party really look carefully at how we vet candidates but also how we listen to people within our own party."

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