Mayor Bob Filner described as tan, jovial, relaxed inside mediation building

Spotted smiling, but avoided cameras before media

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Mayor Bob Filner appeared relaxed, showing up to a mediation session Tuesday "tan and jovial," according to a source who saw the mayor before he entered mediation.

The source said San Diego's mayor was laughing before the meeting.

Filner, who has been unavailable for weeks -- first because of a rehab stint and then a week off -- was said to look tan, like he'd been lying on a beach.

Sources suggest the mediator, former federal judge J. Lawrence Irving, likely went from room to room, talking separately to those representing the city and the mayor's legal entourage.

"Mediations sometimes take days or months," retired federal judge and full-time mediator Leo Papas said. "Mediation is unstructured. It's kind of like a conversation or a dialogue."

Conversations about who may pay Filner's legal bills or how much longer he may stay in office are still unknown.

Any deal involving city money would have to be approved by the full City Council.

Mediation is a confidential process, and state law protects conversations and documents revealed in mediation.

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