Mayor Bob Filner a no-show at USS Midway event; local leaders respond to allegations against him

Filner was scheduled as panelist at USS Midway

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was a no-show Thursday morning at a panel about the maritime industry, where he was a scheduled speaker.

Filner has not spoken publicly since allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him.

Attendees at the "Maritime on the Midway" event confirmed there was an empty seat designated for Filner.

Filner's predecessor, Jerry Sanders, was a panelist at the event. He would not make any comments regarding the allegations against Filner.

"No ... I don't know anything that you guys don't know," Sanders said.

Sanders told 10News that he is "enjoying life" outside the political arena.

"[The] maritime industry is much more important than anything in politics," said the former mayor, who now is the president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"It's quite possible some of the attendance was driven by the hope that they would see Mayor Filner there this morning," said T.J. Zane, executive director of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County. The Lincoln Club was a big supporter of Filner's rival in the mayoral race, Carl DeMaio.

Zane called the controversy surrounding Filner "Christmas in July" and that it is embarrassing for the city to be making national headlines in this fashion.

"Many of us who feel this is a little of 'I told you so,' we tried to let people know that this is the type of individual we were going to get involved with here in San Diego," Zane said.

Regarding the sexual harassment allegations, Zane said that everyone is entitled to due process.

"Let's give him time to respond," Zane said.

DeMaio was also at the event on the USS Midway, but he would not talk on camera. He said he already released his statement, which said in part:

"Bob Filner has brought such strife and turmoil to City Hall that we are seeing important issues that matter most to San Diegans being pushed to the side. This is no way to govern a city -- San Diego deserves better."

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a staunch supporter of Filner during his mayoral campaign, released a statement Thursday morning regarding the allegations:

"Sexual harassment in the workplace is completely and totally unacceptable. I, like most San Diegans, am trying to fully understand what allegations are being made and fully expect the Mayor to respond publicly."


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