Filner Seeks Help, Hangs on as Mayor

Photograph by Gregory Bull/AP Photo

Bob Filner during a news conference in San Diego in this Nov. 7, 2012 file photo.

In November, Bob Filner became only the second Democrat elected mayor of San Diego since 1971. And he’s not about to give up the job, even as he heeds unsolicited advice he got from Nancy Pelosi, a former House colleague and fellow Californian.

Pelosi, speaking yesterday in Washington, urged Filer to seek therapy in the wake of sexual harassment charges from several women — including allegations of groping and applying headlocks — that have been leveled against him.

Filner, speaking this afternoon in San Diego, said that starting on Aug. 5 he will undergo two weeks of intensive therapy at what he termed a behavorial counseling clinic.

Pelosi, the leader of House Democrats who hails from San Francisco, also strongly hinted that Filner should seek to heal himself “in private” — a suggestion he remove himself from his public duties. Calls for his resignation have lighted up Twitter today.

Filner today said he would report back for duty at the mayor’s office on Aug. 19.

As he apologized to voters, his supporters and the women who have aired the charges against him, he said, “I must become a better person.”

But, flatly resisting growing calls for his resignation, he added that his goals upon returning to work include earning forgiveness through his actions and “to be the best mayor I can be.”

Appropriately, Filner’s appearance was marked by dysfunction — the podium microphone went dead shortly into his remarks.

As he and the aides flanking him retreated to an office, harried technicians — getting some face time on national cable news networks — worked to fix the glitch. After several minutes, Filner returned and started again from the top of his statement. He took no questions upon finishing it.

Those urging him to step down include another of his one-time House colleagues who doubles as head of the Democratic National Committee — Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. She called Filner’s alleged behavior “reprehensible and indefensible.”

Filner, 70, served in the House for 20 years from a San Diego-area district before giving up that job to run for mayor.

 

 

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