Reactions to Filner's resignation

The following are statements in reaction to the resignation of Bob Filner as San Diego's mayor:

Attorney Gloria Allred:

I want to congratulate my client Irene McCormack Jackson. The mediation which resulted in the Mayor's resignation was a mediation of Irene's lawsuit against Mayor Filner and the City of San Diego. If Irene had not come forward and if we had not filed a lawsuit on her behalf, I think it is fair to say that instead of resigning today the Mayor Filner would still be engaging in the same despicable, harassing and sexually inappropriate conduct which led Irene, followed by 17 other women, to come forward to complain about the Mayor's conduct.

We are delighted that the Mayor has resigned. I hope that we never see another elected official who thinks that he can target women and sexually harass them in the way that Mayor Filner did. Women employees should not be preyed upon by their bosses, particularly elected officials. We salute and commend Irene for having had the courage to bring her lawsuit against the Mayor. I asked for the Mayor to resign at three separate press conferences of women who were harassed by him, and at a rally in San Diego last Sunday. Today, I am thankful that he has finally resigned.

Today is a day of reckoning for Mayor Filner and a day of vindication for his many alleged victims, 18 of whom have come forward. Though Mayor Filner still continues to live in his own reality and deny responsibility for the conduct which we allege in our lawsuit, the fact is that he has done what was absolutely needed. He has resigned and that is what is most important.

The Mayor, in his resignation speech, took credit for protecting seals during his term as Mayor. Unfortunately, he failed to give as much protection to the women who came into contact with him as he gave to the seals. Women were at risk when they were near the Mayor.

The City Council should now focus its energy and attention on resolving Irene's claims against the City of San Diego and the Mayor so that it can move on.


Irene McCormack Jackson:

"I'm relieved the City has rid itself of Bob Filner so that he will not be in a position to prey on any more women. My thoughts are with the courageous women, who because they spoke out, galvanized the residents of this great city and its elected leaders to rise up against a serial sexual harasser and a gross abuser of power. Bye bye, Bob. You will not be missed."

Former Councilman Carl DeMaio:

"With Bob Filner's resignation, San Diego has been given a fresh start. Now is the time to put aside partisan differences to seek healing, foster unity and restore stability at City Hall.

San Diegans from all walks of life, and every political party, worked together to demand Bob Filner leave office - and that unity of purpose should not stop with today's development.

Let's commit to continue to work together on our city's issues - without regard for party labels - to do the right thing for the city we all love so much."


Republican Party of San Diego County:

"On Inauguration Day, December 4, 2012 I predicted Mayor Filner would be 'a disaster and an embarrassment' because he did not have the temperament to be mayor of our great city and it was just a matter of time.

Mayor Filner's failings were widely known. Had local union and Democratic leadership not looked the other way for crass political, ideological reasons, this sad chapter in our city's history could have been avoided.

It is time to take back control of San Diego from union and big business interests which have dominated it for too long. Republicans stand ready to provide steady, pragmatic and fiscally prudent leadership in the mayor's office focused on basic city services, neighborhoods and helping small business."


Marco Gonzalez, Donna Frye, Cory Briggs:

"Today we breathe a collective sigh of relief that this horrible chapter in the City of San Diego's history has come to a close.

While we feel some satisfaction for the part we played in reaching this juncture, we are neither happy nor celebrating. Nobody should be. This is not the time to be trumpeting a partisan victory, or dancing on Bob Filner's political grave. We have not "won" anything, as our entire community has suffered dearly, and in a way that transcends politics.

Throughout this ordeal it has always been our goal to see Bob Filner resign, because with resignation comes the first step towards remedying his gross abuse of power against women. Importantly, the final step requires us to remain focused on the women who have been hurt and abused by Bob Filner, and to ensure they are taken care of.

And without question, those who deserve credit for the mayor's resignation today, and indeed our utmost respect, are the brave women, like Irene McCormack, who were willing to put themselves through the public scrutiny and emotional difficulties that came with telling their stories. We cannot overstate this sentiment - They are the heroes and we cannot thank them enough for their efforts.

Further, to those who have set aside partisan pettiness and listened and acted in the best interest of our city, we thank you. To those in the public and press who have respected the humanity, dignity and privacy of the women as they have reported or publicly told their stories, again, thank you.

Breaches of the public's trust and abuse of political power have no place in our society. We went public with our concerns because we cling to these core community values tightly and are unwilling to see them compromised, regardless of political affiliation."


President/CEO of San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and former Mayor Jerry Sanders:

"I am glad that Mayor Filner has chosen to do what's in the best interest of San Diego and resign. This has been an unfortunate time in our city's history and a difficult decision had to be made. I appreciate the City Attorney and City Council for their leadership in taking the first step to move our city forward."

Council President Todd Gloria (comments made in the council chambers):

"Thank you all for joining me here today. As you know, Mayor Bob Filner has resigned effective Friday, August 30, at 5:00 p.m. Although none of us is glad to have reached this point in our City's history, I think we all share a sense of relief that we can begin to put this period behind us, and most importantly, fill the leadership void in the Mayor's office. The City of San Diego needs and deserves a mayor.

According to Article 15 of the City Charter, the presiding officer of the Council, the Council President, assumes the role of mayor until a special election can be called and a new mayor elected. I stand before you today, humbled by this opportunity to serve our City, and ready to take on the duties of the mayor at 5:01 next Friday. San Diego will have a functioning Mayor's Office within a matter of days.

One of our first priorities must be to schedule an election so that voters can choose our next mayor. City Clerk Liz Maland will establish a timeline for that election process as quickly as possible. I have asked her to be prepared to address all the legal and practical requirements by Monday. When the City Clerk is ready, I will work with the City Council to call for the special election.

Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner will lead meetings of the City Council while I fulfill the duties of the mayor. Sherri is a trusted colleague and able Councilmember. I know that she will carry out these duties well.

Given today's developments, it is more important than ever to focus our attention on maintaining essential City services. I will address this more directly after Bob Filner leaves office, but I hope current department leadership will work with me to keep the City on an even footing. I appreciate each of these public servants' commitment and dedication to providing effective municipal services.

Over the next few months, until an election can be conducted, I will be working together with the Council and the City's executive team to establish priorities for addressing the concerns facing our City. Our objective is to provide our citizens with a fully functioning City government with ethics, integrity and transparency.

To that end, work will begin on a number of fronts

First, a top-down review of all City departments to ensure they are properly staffed and that their actions comply with all City rules and regulations. This will include swift action on pending items that have languished on Mayor Filner's desk for months.

Second, we will address the backlog of requests for public records. I intend to break through the logjam of approvals for these requests and to deliver documents as required under the law in a timely manner.

Third, I will conduct weekly media briefings to ensure transparency and accountability. We must communicate to our citizens and those who do business with the city, that we are making every effort possible to correct our problems, and that nothing less is acceptable.

This is not an exhaustive list. I look forward to sharing more about these and other issues remaining from Bob's time here after I officially assume the role of Mayor.

As you might anticipate, there will be some staffing changes needed to make this happen. I will announce these changes as they occur.

I imagine each of you have questions about specific policies, projects and procedures at the City. Today is not the day for addressing those questions. We will get to them without further delay in the coming weeks.

Thank you in advance for your patience as we work through the challenges that have resulted from Mayor Filner's time in office and his upcoming resignation. I would like to thank our City Council members who have worked together to guide our City during this time and never lost their focus on serving San Diegans.

I'd like to express my gratitude to our 10,000 City employees who have continued to work on our behalf every day during this crisis. I will be speaking directly with you in the coming weeks, but in the meantime I ask that you go about your duties as you always do and to put our City and its citizens first.

Finally, to the people of San Diego, we have all suffered over the past few months. The accusations, the response to those charges, and the horrible debate that has consumed our City have undermined what should have been the beginning of a new and positive era in the way we govern San Diego.

We have lost ground over the past few months. As of today, we are done losing ground. Our civic nightmare is nearing an end. It is time for San Diegans to come together and for the healing to begin.

San Diego is back. We are America's Finest City and we always will be.

I thank you for the trust you are placing in me.

Now, it's time to get to work."


Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins:

"As someone who served as acting Mayor during a period of crisis in our city, I understand what needs to be done to manage the City during a difficult time and hopefully position our next Mayor for success. I offer my support and assistance to Acting Mayor Gloria in any way I can. Like many of you, I am relieved Mayor Filner put the City's needs ahead of his own and resigned. While San Diego can now move forward to its next chapter, we should remain mindful that today's action does not resolve matters for the victims of the former Mayor's sexual harassment."

Councilman Mark Kersey:

"The time has come for this civic nightmare to be over. Thousands of San Diegans came together, across whatever lines divided us, to tell Bob Filner that we are better than this and it is time for him to go. Now, our City workers will be rid of this man who broke their trust and abused his power. It is time to move forward and focus on the important work of improving San Diego."

Councilwoman Lori Zapf:

"I have heard the calls and seen the letters saying we should not be spending a cent on Mr. Filner's legal defense, and philosophically I agree with you.
 
Mr. Filner is an abusive man. There are many accounts of him misusing his power in the worst of ways.
 
I am angrier than words can express.

I can also sympathize. While Bob Filner has not approached me sexually, his angry and demeaning behavior towards women has been directed at me personally on a number of occasions. Trust me, I want him to face the consequences of his behavior.

Let me say thank you to the women who bravely came forward. You took a stand, you told your stories, you called for his exit, and you have been heard, if not by the Mr. Filner, then by us.

I also have a responsibility to stand up for the City of San Diego. While I support the recall movement against Mayor Filner, we are looking at 2014 before a recall election could take place. What can happen in those five months? More women harassed, more legal liability from more scandals, and more jobs lost because many companies are unwilling to do business in this tumultuous environment?

Unfortunately, because of our out-of-date, strict recall rules, as justifiably angry as the public is, there are no guarantees that we will be able to qualify the recall for the ballot. Which means we could be in this spot indefinitely.

We are at critical points for the Convention Center expansion and the Balboa Park Centennial; indefinite dysfunction could permanently sidetrack both of them, costing our City millions.

This is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make during my time here, but leadership is not easy. It is often very hard.

I owe it to the people of San Diego to ensure that Bob Filner is gone and his behavior as Mayor stops. This is the only sure way I have to do just that.

This deal is not a get out of jail card for the Mayor, figuratively and literally. He may still face criminal prosecution from the State and Federal governments, and this does not cover his legal expenses there or in other civil suits.

Still, even though this agreement is limited and achieves his resignation, there are some who will be angry with me, and I understand. But it is time for the bleeding to stop and the healing to begin.

Today I voted to end the dysfunction immediately by securing Mayor Filner's resignation… it is time to move forward."

Councilman Kevin Faulconer:

"This has been one of the most difficult and trying periods in our city's history. It's now time for us to come together, heal our city, and move San Diego forward.

This agreement protects taxpayers and closes this sad chapter in San Diego's history. I worked to ensure the best scenario possible for San Diego taxpayers. It would not have been possible without the City Attorney, the City Council and the passionate work of the San Diegans who launched an effort to recall Mayor Filner.

Mayor Filner's resignation will help bring back trust and certainty to City Hall. San Diegans can begin to regain control of their city, and City leaders can return to creating jobs and improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

I will work tirelessly to restore stability and lead our city forward. San Diego has come together to say we are better than Bob Filner. Today, we have taken action to prove that to the world."


San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Francine Busby:

"I share the relief of most San Diegans that Bob Filner has accepted the calls for his resignation from the Democratic Party and others. It's time to put this painful chapter in the City's history behind us.

The women who have spoken out with stories of mistreatment deserve our appreciation, compassion, and support. No one should have to endure the behavior they reported, including the disrespect that Mr. Filner has already acknowledged.

As for the legal process, the parties involved will have their day in court. On a human level, Mr. Filner has admitted to profound personal failings, and I urge him to continue to seek whatever treatment he may need.

The rest of us must now work to ensure that the urgent business of San Diego will carry on. The City Council will soon set the date for a special election. Despite the difficult time that the City has faced in recent weeks, I hope voters will participate and turn out in force to give our City's next leader the support to move us forward.

Last November, San Diegans didn't just choose someone to be the Mayor. They endorsed a Democratic vision for the future. From investing in renewable energy to highlighting our role as a border community, from standing up for working families to embracing the diversity of our people and the strength of our neighborhoods, they voted for a distinctly progressive agenda. That mandate is greater than any one person, and now it remains our responsibility and privilege to see it through."

State Sen. Marty Block:

"The Mayor's resignation will begin to close a sad chapter in San Diego's long city history. Just as importantly, it validates the victims who courageously stepped forward. City staff who have served the people of San Diego over the last eight months deserve our thanks and appreciation for their service under very difficult conditions.

It is time to move on."


Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner:

"I'd like to thank Council President Gloria and all my Council colleagues for placing their trust in me to lead the Council in the coming months. I'm looking forward to continuing to work cooperatively and productively with each of my colleagues.

Our focus will be on delivering the services our residents and businesses want and need in order to keep our great city moving forward while promoting a culture of stability, reliability and transparency at City Hall.

I have confidence in Todd Gloria's ability to lead us through this difficult time, and I know he will be working very closely with the Council and our city departments to keep the city moving in the right direction. I also want to thank all of our city employees for their continued hard work and dedication.

There's no doubt that we have a lot of work to do in the coming months. Everyone who loves San Diego needs to join together to create a bright new chapter in our city's future, and I know we can count on Council President Todd Gloria, the City Council, our city staff and our citizens to do just that."


Councilman Scott Sherman:

"Yesterday I spoke with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and he advised me of the details regarding the proposed settlement agreement with Mayor Bob Filner.

I deeply regret that I was unable to attend the special closed session meeting or participate in today's meeting. However, I truly believe that ratifying this agreement is what's right for the citizens of San Diego. The settlement, as it was described to me, will effectively end this sad chapter in San Diego's history in a cost-effective manner, allow the city to move forward, and will begin the process of restoring confidence in city government.

This was a very difficult decision for me to reach, but as always, I must do what I believe is right for the citizens of San Diego. That is why I am in support of this agreement."

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