SAN DIEGO (CNS) - City Council President Todd Gloria on Tuesday reiterated his demand that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resign in light of sexual harassment allegations.
Gloria, who stands to become interim mayor should Filner resign, said he witnessed the mayor’s treatment of employees when Filner berated Andrew Jones, the number two official in the City Attorney’s Office.
The incident took place in a mid-June closed-session meeting between Filner, the City Council and a handful of municipal lawyers, in which they were to discuss pending litigation.
According to a redacted transcript, the mayor repeatedly demanded to know why Jones was in attendance and accused him of leaking confidential information. Filner had a police officer remove Jones from the meeting, the transcript shows.
“What I witnessed was the treatment of Andrew Jones, which is certainly not sexual harassment, but was absolutely harassment, was completely wrong, and shouldn’t have been excused,” Gloria said in an interview on KPBS Radio.
“When you see behavior like that, it doesn’t feel like it’s a giant leap to start thinking about the kinds of things that were outlined in recent days,” Gloria said. “We know that there’s certainly a problem, and all of these things add up to the fact that we have a mayor that’s no longer capable of leading the city.”
Former supporters of Filner held a news conference Monday in which they contended that a constituent, a city employee and a civic activist who was also a campaign volunteer were sexually harassed by the mayor. They said Filner propositioned the women, and forcibly kissed a couple of them and touched them inappropriately.
No formal complaints have been filed, but lawyer Marco Gonzalez, who represents the unnamed employee, said he planned to do so soon.
Filner previously apologized and acknowledged that he had diminished the office of mayor, but later said he would be vindicated if provided due process. The mayor described himself as a demonstrative “hugger” of both men and women, and that he needed a “greater self-awareness” about what he was doing.
“This is not about hugging,” Gloria said in the KPBS interview. “It’s far more dangerous than that.”
In other developments, the League of Conservation Voters San Diego and the National Organization for Women’s political action committee today joined the list of those calling for Filner to resign.
A letter from the LCVSD said its board concluded the mayor couldn’t advance a “positive environmental agenda, while at the same time creating a hostile work environment.”
The City Attorney’s Office issued a statement in which it said it would defend the municipal government in any litigation that arises from the allegations. Filner has not sought “guidance” from the office’s lawyers, but instead retained lawyer Harvey Berger, according to the statement.
A former lobbyist told 10News that she met with Filner in Washington, D.C., when he was a congressman, and he touched her inappropriately while they posed for photographs.
“The first time that I stood next to him in a photo, he kind of rubbed the shoulders and up and down the back,” said the woman, who was not identified. “It would go to where it was a caress on the bottom and up the shoulders.”
He also touched under her arms and near her breast before she pulled away, the woman said.
“I was violated, yes,” she said, adding she didn't report it because she feared repercussions.
Inez Gonzalez, a district representative when Filner was in Congress, told NBC7/39 that Filner was a difficult employer to work for because of his temper, but she never experienced or saw sexual harassment. Gloria and Councilman Kevin Faulconer told NBC7/39 that today’s closed session meeting went smoothly.