SAN DIEGO - The City Council on Wednesday scheduled a Nov. 19 special election to replace outgoing San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.
City Clerk Elizabeth Maland said the latest estimate from the county Registrar of Voters was that it could cost as much as $6.2 million to hold the election to replace Filner, whose resignation becomes official at 5 p.m. Friday.
She cautioned that the estimate could change, but would soon be made more precise.
Maland said she and county Registrar Michael Vu studied several dates but the one selected "is really the only viable option."
The registrar's office can provide election services to the city on that date, and it allows for a full two-week nomination period, Maland said.
In the election, if one candidate wins more than 50 percent of the votes, that person would assume office Dec. 17, according to Maland. If not, a runoff election would be held, which would add to the city's expense, she said.
She also told the council members that it could be difficult to schedule a runoff within the 49-day period called for by the City Charter.
Councilwoman Myrtle Cole said the need for a special election is unfortunate.
"I, too, am disappointed and saddened – as well as the people of my district – that we are in this situation, but the important thing is to get this over with and elect a new mayor ASAP," Cole said. "Doing so will provide stability to the city."
Filner tendered his resignation last week after nearly 20 women publicly accused him of sexual harassment. He is also under investigation for alleged misuse of city-issued credit cards and shakedowns of developers.
On Tuesday, a lawyer for the third woman to bring legal action against the city of San Diego demanded $250,000 for his client.
Attorney Daniel Gilleon told City News Service that the woman, whom he identified only as Marilyn, accuses the mayor of kissing her at a May event at Johnson Elementary School in Emerald Hills. He said she had asked the mayor to send archival material to a May event at the school, but he showed up instead.
According to the lawyer, his client poked her head in a classroom when Filner arrived to announce his presence, and the encounter took place when she returned.
"He grabs her face and plants a kiss on her forehead," according to Gilleon, who said his client was "in shock."
Filner also demanded her last name and took too long trying to remove an adhesive name tag from her chest, according to the lawyer, who said the mayor also put his hand around her waist and tried to walk her away.
Parts of the incident were witnessed by another woman and a boy looking out the window, according to Gilleon. He said a member of the mayor's security detail was there at the time.
The city's response to the demand will determine whether he files a lawsuit on behalf of the woman, a 34-year employee of the state who is a secretary for a workers' compensation judge. She also serves as an advocate for domestic violence victims in the South Bay, he said.
Gilleon also represents Stacy McKenzie, the district manager for city-run Mission Bay Park, on whose behalf he filed a $500,000 claim on Monday. McKenzie, 50, first went public with her accusations on Aug. 8, alleging Filner asked her for a date and placed her in a headlock at a city function at Mission Bay on April 21. She said he also grabbed her wrists so she was unable to move.
McKenzie's claim says the mayor acted "for his own sexual gratification." It also accuses the city of failing to warn employees of
Filner's "predatory nature" and protect them from it.
Gilleon said he is asking for more money for McKenzie than Marilyn because McKenzie is a municipal employee.
The city can choose to accept or deny the women's claims. If the claims are denied, the woman may file a lawsuit.
The city has already been sued by Irene McCormack Jackson, Filner's former communications director, who alleges Filner told her she should work without panties on, that he wanted to see her naked and could not wait to consummate their relationship.
McCormack Jackson – the first of the 19 women to come forward – also alleges Filner put his arm around her and dragged her along in a headlock while making sexual remarks. It was mediation over her lawsuit that led the 70-year-old former Democratic congressman to resign after less than nine months in office. He officially steps down at 5 p.m. Friday.
So far, 13 candidates have expressed their intention to run in the special election, including ex-Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher. Now an executive with Qualcomm, he finished third in the June 2012 mayoral primary.
Also joining the field was Bruce Coons, head of the Save Our Heritage Organisation, a preservationist group that sued to stop a plan by Filner's predecessor, Jerry Sanders, and Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs to build a bypass bridge to route cars away from the center of Balboa Park.
Other candidates who have filed intention forms are lawyer and frequent speaker at City Council meetings Hud Collins; Paul Michael Dekker, who, according to his website, is director of information technology at the San
Diego-based nonprofit Global Energy Network Institute; La Jolla realtor Harry J. Dirks; Michael Kemmer, whose LinkedIn page says he's an IT intern at Sempra Energy; Jared Mimms, who says on his LinkedIn page that he has founded or co-founded four companies; accountant Teresa Miucci, psychiatrist Ashok Parameswaran; website owner Tobiah Pettus; Kurt Schwab, who founded an organization for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq; Mark Schwartz, a Libertarian activist who created a Facebook page for his campaign last month; and David Tasem, who operates a taxicab business.