News, Opinion

What position should women take in the call for Mayor Bob Filner to resign?

Mayor Bob Filner

Mayor Bob Filner

America’s Finest Mayor?

What is in our best interests?


With the debate raging around us, it’s hard to figure out a logical position on this civic mess the Mayor is in. Two high profile progressive activists – whom I personally have very high regard for and who have very high regard for each other – sat down virtually last week to express very different points of view, which generally represent the range of views of the women in their very tight group of progressive activists.

Anne H.

As a member of several women’s organizations, I along with many other women have agonized over the issue of whether or not to urge Mayor Bob Filner to resign. On the one hand, he has supported and promoted women’s issues and civil rights for the past 50 years. His voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives has consistently been 100% in support of legislation important to women and children. During the past seven months, Mayor Filner has encouraged a closer relationship with Mexico, established pedestrians’ rights in Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, strengthened a sense of community in San Diego neighborhoods, pursued economically stringent principles for disbursement of general funds, and supported increased public safety efforts.

We also are aware that Mayor Filner’s resignation could result in a return of our City’s governance to the usual “downtown players,” thereby losing an elected leader who promised to bring forth a progressive agenda. We are fearful of such a reversal. Also at issue is the outcome of previous elections, recalls, and resignations, all detrimental to women: the Jim Bates loss to Duke Cunningham, the recall of Gray Davis to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dick Murphy’s resignation and Donna Frye’s loss to Jerry Sanders.

On the other hand, Mayor Filner has behaved in a deplorable way to far too many women employees, colleagues, and constituents. He has betrayed our trust in him, and his behavior cannot be forgiven.

He has apologized to all of us, especially to those he has victimized. He publicly stated twice that he has a problem and is currently seeking therapeutic help during a two-week period. Can we women give Mayor Filner a chance to redeem himself, to show that he will keep his word and change? We women are faced with having to decide whether Mayor Filner’s resignation is in our own best interests. To give him a final opportunity for redemption is a better option for us than to urge publicly his resignation at this time.


Jeeni C.

There is no denying that the special interests have come in for the kill. I will even concede that they had this planned. But to say this is all about greed oversimplifies our current situation and gives us an excuse to do nothing – to remain paralyzed with fear and helplessness ­­­- just what the downtown elite want.

But that doesn’t undo the fact that it was Bob Filner who blew it – and that his behavior is unacceptable and that he is no longer capable of running our city. There is no way to put that cat back in the bag.

And it doesn’t undo the fact that supporters and staff begged him to change his behavior and if he had listened to them, maybe this could have been averted.

And that Filner is not going to fix a serious personality disorder with two weeks of therapy.

And that this is tearing our progressive community apart and the longer Filner remains in office the worse it gets.

And that the REAL culprits in this nightmare are NOT the Republicans who waited like alligators on the shore for the right moment to snatch their prize (That’s what alligators do, so why act surprised?), but the Democrats who knew this was a problem and set him up as a target anyway because in their mindset, it’s all about winning, not integrity.

And they expected that the women being harassed and the staff being verbally abused would put aside their rights for the sake of advancing the common good.

Hey, if you know me, you know I’m always open to the possibility of a conspiracy. But here’s the lay of the land: If we continue to cry “foul” about how this game has been played up until now, we are going to end up with exactly the scenario we fear. We MUST turn this around, and the first thing we need to happen is to unite in calling for Bob to step down and replacing him with someone who is as congruent with our values as possible in their personal and public life. And then work like hell to put them in City Hall. Do it different. Be outrageously different. Be ethically strategic. Be congruent. Be fearless and passionate and unstoppable.

The longer Bob waits to step down, the more fractured our community becomes, and the less chance we have of pulling together the people we need to make something wonderful happen. If he is really, at least politically, the man we all thought we voted for, he will put aside his ego and personal agenda and step down. We can’t do anything until he resigns. His resignation opens the door for us to get to work and removes the thing that is dividing us now.

Do we continue to feel used and betrayed, or do we get to work on turning this awful situation around? Do we stay in an abusive relationship just because the abuser has promised to never hurt us again or do we move on, even though the future looks scary and difficult? I never thought I’d have to make that choice again – but I sure do recognize the pattern.

Let the conversation begin!


This entry was posted in: News, Opinion


Trustee, San Diego History Center- President, Point Loma Democratic Club (San Diego, CA)- Delegate 78th CA Congressional District, CA State Democratic Convention-Spanish student, Mesa Junior College- Community Watch Captain- Occupella


  1. judi says

    I think this is an individual thing. If the Pt. Loma Democrats support a recall I, for one, would cancel my new membership in the club. If the Pt. Loma Dem’s ask Filner to resign and he doesn’t it is my decision as to what I will do next. I will not support a recall under any circumstances because I believe that this has been in the minds of the republicans for months. I will not buy into their “conspiracy.”


  2. sbpeinado says


    We’re taking no position as a club at this point. These are two women who are organizers of the other post I just posted. I thought their opinions were interesting and worthy of posting because they show how two people who are friends and really like each other can differ. And it seems to be consistent in what I’m hearing everywhere.

    But rest assured, we are not now taking a position as a club. I don’t care what La Jolla does or any other club. Haven’t I gotten into enough trouble supporting Filner? And our Central Committee member who voted, voted to support him, not to ask for resignation or support a recall.

    I totally agree that it is an individual thing. That’s the point of publishing this.


  3. philblo says

    This is a country of law. It is for the court to decide, not the media . If you read the petition to the court for trial, there is no mention of witnesses. So Ms. Allred will parade a line of accusers. So the defense can parade a line of defenders. Just who is the white knight to take his place as mayor and who will bring this community together? Jerry Sanders? Oh, but he is trying to settle out of court for violating the law on getting the city council to ok the labor settlement he secretly made with Lorena Gonzalez for the Convention Center expansion.

    Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2013 01:27:52 +0000 To:


  4. It seems like people are brining their personal baggage to the Filner Rorshack test.

    If you are a woman who has had bad experiences with men in your life, then the Mayor is your nemesis, a monster, a psychopath, a sexual predator, a criminal, unfit, evil … your own prejudice and bias, produced by negative life experiences, has condemned a leader with a long history of civic heroism, simply because he is a man.

    If you are aware of the shadow government that runs San Diego, the rich businessmen like Jacobs and Lynch, land developers, hoteliers, corporate media mafia, and their fear of Mayor Filner, then you may defend him out of hand, because of your political preferences, even though the Mayor has apologized and demonstrated remorse, seeking treatment for some vague mental illness.

    No doubt that our Mayor’s romantic weakness is responsible for opening our City to this chaos, and there is no voice on the progressive left who will condone inappropriate advances or intimidation by those in power, not even the Mayor himself. Yet if we allow our most respected and lionized champions to be swatted away like flies by these press campaigns based in hearsay and subjective opinion, if we allow our emotional reactions to void our rational judgement, without fighting for our closest held values of justice and equality under law, then ALL our leaders will be condemned, scandalized, and recalled.

    If this Mayor is defeated, our lack of fidelity to progressive values of fairness and due process will throw us back into the hold of those who would divide our community into rich and poor, gay and straight, men and women, young and old, and we will be defeated by the very elitists who created injustice, simply because we allow them to own the broadcast media.

    Filner may be guilty of the indiscriminate flirting of which he is accused, he might even have done something legally questionable, but that is NOT something for us to decide as a political party, that is for the court. As progressives we must fight for something we believe in more than we hate inappropriate sexual advances, we must fight for the unity of our community under law.

    Those of us who know Bob, who voted for him, should have the strength to back him up when he is under attack, that is the test of friendship. We should not allow a gossip campaign in the press, based not on evidence, but mostly of hearsay and subjective interpretations, to allow our Mayor to be destroyed.

    There may be deep issues of sexual psychological nature in our society, and in each of us individually, but this is not the appropriate time or place to air our personal issues. This political battle is about who will control this City of San Diego for the next 50 years. This sexual distraction is pulling our attention away from the real underlying issues of corruption and manipulation by financial powers that control our City government.

    From what I can glean from my fellow democrats, the Mayor has always been desperate for romantic companionship, this is sad, and yet no one was upset enough to expose this character flaw until now. If this is the time to broadcast issues of sexual politics, then there must be a reason. I think Filner is the first successful progressive leader with the guts to stand up to the shadow government in San Diego, and that is why he is now under attack.


  5. Dr. Lorri Greene says

    I am an old activist from the 60’s, and I have also been a democrat my entire life. I marched with MLK. I fought for the laws regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, so most people would think I would be in favor of Filner resigning. Quite the opposite. This has been a circus from day one.
    3 people, Marco Gonzales, an environmental attorney from Encinitas; Donna Frye, and Cory Briggs, as attorney in San Diego, held a press conference and Marco said that women had come to him because they had been sexually harassed by Filner. Yet, at that time, they would not bring forward the names, only Filner should resign. He didn’t. So, they turned up the heat, the first being Irene McCormick, whose affiliation with the Port District goes way back. I don’t know Ms. McCormick, so I don’t know what happened. But Marco, assured me, before he unfriended me, that he could look into all of these women’s eyes and know they were not lying. I am a psychologist, and I wish I had his talent. Filner still did not resign.
    So they upped the game, and came out with more women. It was when Joyce Gatos came forward that I became suspicious of some larger monied connection that might be going on here. I know Joyce, admire her, and know you do not get to be a Dean at San Diego State University without having both political savvy as well as being tough. It was hard for me to imagine Joyce was really that upset about Filner. So, I asked myself, and others, could there be more? Who didn’t get their way in what they wanted to do at Balboa Park? Who stands to gain if Filner is removed? Who gives millions to KPBS? I will not name names, as I don’t want a lawsuit, but I am pretty sure most of you now the powers I am talking about. And then the circus became even more interesting. Marco Gonzales calls Gloria Alred in. Remember Sexual Harassment is a workplace situation. Only one of these women, to the best of my understanding, worked for Filner, which is Irene. And on it goes. If I could say one thing to Mr. Filner, I would say “Don’t resign, but don’t play by the rules men used to play by. You can change regarding your treatment of women and you must. As a psychologist, I know you can do it. You have done harder things in your life. It was no picnic being Freedom Fighter. And lastly, don’t go near a Hooters, as they have banned.” Just my two cents, for what it is worth.


  6. I don’t see the progressive community dividing up even further as the second woman stated in her commentary. Some progressives took a stand early in this situation and stuck to it, others have changed their stand, and others are letting this play out without taking a public position one way or the other. Those of us who care about the bigger picture believe that this mayor is being drummed out of office on trumped up charges because he rocked their world and will continue to seek to change the status quo of decades here in San Diego. The entire timeline points to events being orchestrated, organized, well-planned and carried out in such a way as to force resignation. They underestimated Bob Filner. They took their best shot and they failed. The mayor wisely followed President Clinton’s procedure, the same advise Jesus gave to his apostles in the storm: remain calm. Keep the faith.

    So now the game has changed again. The mayor comes back next week. But no doubt between now and then they will do their best to get him out. They may even have him arrested. Make no mistake. This is not an attack on Bob Filner. This is a war on the people of San Diego. Those of us who live in the 4 and 8 districts need this mayor, and we aren’t giving him up, not without a fight. The question for you La Jolla ladies is, Are you going to stand behind Mayor Bob Filner? Or are you going to throw this city, and us, to the wolves?


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  8. I don’t like the idea of an official recall but he should be a decent person and step down, otherwise, he is cheating all of San Diego.


    • judi says

      That’s where I have a conflict. How is he cheating San Diego? His ideas are the same; He has betrayed the trust of women; but I am still having difficulty believing this is not just a set up to return to the old regime. IF the City Council would spend their time working on what’s best for San Diego, without the Mayor’s follies, maybe something could be accomplished. Is there anyone sitting on the City Council now that I would vote for when they run again? NO. Not even Marti.


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