Recall campaign kicks off as San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resumes office

August 19, 2013
Attorney Allred takes part in a rally against San Diego Mayor Filner during a march in downtown San Diego. (Reuters)
Attorney Gloria Allred takes part in a rally against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner during a march in downtown San Diego. (Reuters)

After undergoing a two-week behavior therapy program as a result of a growing sexual harassment scandal, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner returned to work Monday amid calls for his resignation.

According to a new poll by 10News/U-T San Diego, 81 percent of San Diegans said Filner should resign. Nearly 75 percent of poll participants said they would sign a recall petition, and 20 percent said they would volunteer to aid a recall campaign, with 15 percent responding that they would donate money. Just a day before Filner returned to office, a campaign to collect such signatures began. Volunteers must gather more than 102,000 signatures by Sept. 26.

In the three weeks since his announcement that he was forgoing resignation for therapy, Filner has been accused of sexual harassment by at least 16 women and has been asked to step down by both his constituents and fellow elected officials.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently joined the San Diego City Council, a number of state and federal elected officials and local businesses in urging Filner, a former congressman, to not "subject San Diegans to pain & expense of a recall."

When Filner first began therapy, he dismissed any suggestion of resignation.

"When I return on Aug. 19, my focus will be on making sure that I am doing right by the city in terms of being the best mayor I can be, and the best person I can be," he said in a statement late last month.

Filner is San Diego's first Democratic mayor in two decades. In office, he was once known for his public persona, but in the last few weeks has kept himself from the public eye. In his latest statement following the scandal, he did not mention the growing allegations or the recall campaign but instead addressed job growth and tourism.

His statement opened with, "Now is not the time to go backwards" and closed with, "As your Mayor, I am committed to moving San Diego forward!"

According to Filner Recall organizer Michael Pallamary, the recall petition had more than 800 signatures as of Sunday.

UPDATE: When San Diego's City Hall opened Monday morning, Filner was nowhere to be found. Monday afternoon, San Diego's KGTV reported that the mayor's attorneys were in a mediation session with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Filner's former communications director in the original sexual harassment lawsuit.

Ruth Tam is a writer based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter: @ruthetam.
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