Three Filner supporters demand he resign amid sexual harassment allegations

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Repeating a call made in letters earlier this week,
three former supporters urged Mayor Bob Filner Thursday to resign amid sexual
harassment allegations, although they declined to release details of the

“When I received credible first-hand evidence of more than one woman
being sexually harassed, I could not not act,” former Councilwoman Donna Frye
said, her voice cracking at times. “I believe what they have told me and they
need to know that they are not alone.”

Frye, who until April served as Filner's director of open government,
was joined at a news conference by attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs,
each of whom sent letters to the mayor requesting he immediately resign.

Filner was expected to release a statement at 3 p.m., according to
spokeswoman Lena Lewis.

Gonzalez, known for lawsuits challenging coastal fireworks, would not
provide details of the alleged harassment — including the number of victims,
their identities or the specific allegations made.

“At this point, I think what's best for the community is for the mayor
to hear our pleas, to respond appropriately, and that appropriate response in
our opinion today is to step down and let us move forward with the healing and
let these women continue to go on with their lives without having to be twice
victimized,” Gonzalez said.

Briggs, who sued to stop the convention center expansion and renewal of
the city's Tourism Marketing District, said in a letter faxed to the mayor's
office that “long-term damage” to the principles of open government would be
caused if Filner remained in office.

“At this point, I cannot maintain my credibility in the community as an
advocate for good government while pretending that your office has not been
irreversibly compromised,” Briggs wrote, adding his “request” was made
reluctantly, since he shares the mayor's views on what's wrong with the city
and the ways to fix the problems.

Reaction to the allegations began pouring in from local officials.

Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, said “serious and grievous accusations
of harassment” were conveyed to him by people he knew and trusted, although
the facts were not yet fully known.

“However, if the allegations are true, this behavior is inexcusable,
shows terrible disregard for women, the voters and the thousands of people who
worked tirelessly to support the mayor's candidacy,” Peters said.

Former Mayor Jerry Sanders said the “recent events at City Hall are
unfortunate and we hope these women are not further victimized.”

City Council President Todd Gloria said people should be able to work in
an environment free of harassment and intimidation.

“I offer my assurance to any person who may have been harassed that
their claims will not be discounted should they come forward,” Gloria said.
“All applicable administrative and legal protocols will be followed by the

The 70-year-old mayor, who was elected last year after serving 10 years
in Congress, has had a tumultuous few weeks.

Briggs said he filed lawsuits to nullify City Council approval of a
waiver of municipal policy on setbacks for a developer who donated $100,000 to
the city, which was later returned, and to force the release of an unredacted
transcript of a closed session between Filner, the City Council and the City
Attorney's Office, in which the mayor berated one of the city's top lawyers and
ordered his removal by police.

It was reported last week that federal investigators plan to investigate
the mayor's office's about-face on the setback policy waiver for Sunroad
Enterprises, which is constructing apartment buildings in Kearny Mesa.

Filner blamed the donation on ex-Deputy Chief of Staff Allen Jones, who
recently resigned. Jones told reporters he left his job because of the way the
mayor treats his employees.

On Monday, Filner's 48-year-old fiancee announced that she had broken
off their engagement. Bronwyn Ingram said she would no longer pursue projects
to help San Diego's homeless.

Categories: KUSI