San Diego Mayor Bob Filner asked to resign over alleged sexual harassment, issues apology

Shortly after 3 p.m. July 11, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner issued an apology to the residents of San Diego, in response to allegations that he sexually harassed women.

According to 

KPBS

, letters were delivered to San Diego Mayor Bob Filner on July 10 demanding his resignation, one citing sexual harassment. KPBS reported former Councilwoman Donna Frye, and attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs each personally delivered the letters to Filner.

Briggs, a San Diego lawyer who sued to stop the convention center expansion and renewal of the city’s Tourism Marketing District, faxed a letter to the mayor’s office, saying that “long-term damage” to the principles of open government would be caused if Filner were to remain 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.

He said 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.

Frye, who was appointed by Filner as director of open government in December, resigned three months ago to take the helm of a statewide nonprofit. She says in her letter that she has “received credible evidence of more than one woman being sexually harassed by you.”

Briggs, Gonzalez and Frye organized a press conference to address the accusations Thursday morning, July 11, though they did not disclose the women’s names and Frye declined to tell the 

La Jolla Light

whether the alleged harassment happened while Filner was serving as mayor or predates that time.

Filner’s apology reads as follows:

“I begin today by apologizing to you. I have diminished the office to which you elected me.

The charges made at today’s news conference are serious. When a friend like Donna Frye is compelled to call for my resignation, I’m clearly doing something wrong. I have reached into my heart and soul and realized I must and will change my behavior.

As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people, I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them.

It’s a good thing that behavior that would have been tolerated in the past is being called out in this generation for what it is: inappropriate and wrong.

I am also humbled to admit that I need help. I have begun to work with professionals to make changes in my behavior and approach. In addition, my staff and I will participate in sexual harassment training provided by the city. Please know that I fully understand that only I am the one that can make these changes.

If my behavior doesn’t change, I cannot succeed in leading our city.

In the next few days, I will be reaching out to those who now work in the Mayor’s Office or have previously worked for me – both men and women – to personally apologize for my behavior.

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