City’s Outrage Forces Sexist, Abusive Mayor Bob Filner Out Of Office

As more victims emerged, San Diego’s outrage against Mayor Bob Filner grew. His targets even included a great-grandmother and a retired Navy admiral.

San Diego, California’s long governmental paralysis is coming to an end on August 30th. On Friday, after negotiating a deal with the city council, Mayor Bob Filner finally agreed to resign over the startling, multiple allegations of sexual harassment made by a growing assortment of women.

At least 18 women have so far come forward to accuse Filner of harassment. The first charges were made by his ex-communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson. McCormack Jackson filed a lawsuit, naming both the mayor and the city, and reportedly took no part in negotiations to remove him from office. According to her lawyer, Gloria Allred, she also has reached no settlement agreement. A key part of city’s deal, however, is reportedly that the city will pay Filner’s legal fees in the suit, plus any settlement, but not punitive damages.

The accusations cover a 20-year period, starting when Bob Filner was a 10-term Democratic Congressman, representing San Diego, Calif., and continuing into his eight-month tenure as mayor. Among the inappropriate behaviors listed by the complainants are groping, unwelcome kissing, and suggestive comments. Probably the most egregious behavior claimed was toward McCormack Jackson, who alleged comments to the effect that he wanted to see her naked and that he wanted her to work without panties. Also, he supposedly placed her in a headlock and dragged her around, whispering sexual comments.

The more victims that emerged, the more the city’s outrage grew; they included a great-grandmother and a retired Navy admiral — both especially shocking images as targets for this kind of behavior. More may yet be revealed; ABC reports?that the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office has opened a hotline to deal with any new complaints. Even Filner’s fiancee, Bronwyn Ingram, jumped ship, breaking off their engagement July 8th — just before the first of the accusers came forward. According to the Sacramento Bee, Ingram later said that Filner sent sexually explicit messages to and set up dates with other women while in her presence.

Soon-to-be-former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner with Bronwyn Ingram, before she left the jerk.
Soon-to-be-former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s sexual harrassment problem has cost him his job … and his fiancee, Bronwyn Ingram. Photo from the

Bob Filner did his best to duck the possibility of losing his job. He never admitted to any of the allegations but, at the end of July, he announced he was entering a two-week behavioral? treatment program — that he somehow finished early.?By the time he resigned on Friday, citizens had already collected 20,000 signatures on a recall petition to force a special election.? In addition, a lengthening list of public figures urged him to resign, including all nine city council members, both of California’s U.S. Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and ultimately, just before the deal was struck, the Democratic National Committee — which actually passed a resolution demanding that he leave.

At the City Council meeting to approve the agreement with Filner, both those against him and those who still support him — yes, they still exist — spoke. Many of those seeking his ouster were upset at the idea that the city would pay a single penny for the mayor to leave office. However, a spokeswoman for the recall effort, Rachel Laing, said to the council:

Every day he’s in office is a day that the city remains in paralysis and that his victims suffer.

One of his accusers spoke as well. Political consultant Laura Fink said:

Without the mayor’s resignation, our city will continue to be paralyzed by this scandal, progress will be arrested and our focus will continue to be monopolized by this dark chapter in our history.

Now that the resignation is a fait accompli, Bob Filner will leave office on August 30th. City Council president Todd Gloria will take over, temporarily, and a special election will be held within 90 days. What will take a whole lot longer is the recovery of the victims. The situation as described by its witnesses is a graphic example of how men in power have always assumed they could exert control over women with impunity.

The shame is that this behavior apparently went on for 20 years without consequence. The hope is that now almost an entire city — the nation’s 7th largest — is up in arms about it. Perhaps together, the city and its women can move past the sordid history to a lighter, and more enlightened, place.

Let the healing begin.

Featured photo of the soon-to-be former San Diego, Calif. Mayor Bob Filner from the San Diego Mayor’s Office.

edited by eap

I'm a lifelong liberal, a social/political activist, a writer and blogger. I've been through many incarnations, including 20 years as a psychotherapist and 10 years as an astrologer. However, writing and social justice have always been my passions. That's the way I was raised: much thanks, Dad! I look forward to many more transformations as life goes on. For more, please join me on Facebook. or Twitter @thepolitcali_1