By City News Service
A majority of San Diego City Council members said embattled Mayor Bob Filner should resign before he undergoes counseling for his alleged mistreatment of women, and one member called for his arrest July 26.
Council President Todd Gloria said Filner is prolonging the city of San Diego’s pain by choosing to undergo two weeks of behavioral therapy while still in office.
“The mayor has finally acknowledged his very serious disorder which prevents his ability to govern and seriously affects his ability to interact with people,’’ Councilman Todd Gloria said in a statement emailed to reporters.
“As would be the case with any leader in government or business, the standard he has to uphold is greater than to simply get treatment.’’
He renewed his call for the mayor to resign and said “the time for indecisiveness and inaction is over.’’
“While Mr. Filner is choosing to continue to undermine the ability to run the city efficiently and effectively, I want to reassure the people of San Diego that my council colleagues, city employees, and I remain focused on providing the services citizens expect from your government,’’ Gloria said.
He was one of six members of the City Council to provide reaction to Filner’s decision to seek therapy. Most were Republicans but Gloria and Sherri Lightner are Democrats, like the mayor.
Councilman Scott Sherman issued a one-sentence statement: “San Diegans should accept nothing less than Bob Filner’s resignation and/or arrest.’’
Councilman Kevin Faulconer said two weeks of therapy won’t end “decades of bad behavior.’’
“Bob Filner should leave to receive the help he obviously needs, but he shouldn’t take the office of the mayor and San Diego city government with him,’’ Faulconer said. “He needs to resign and seek long-term treatment as a private citizen.’’
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said the mayor continued to put his needs in front of the victims’ and San Diego residents.
“He is the mayor of the eighth largest city in the country and he must be held to a higher standard,’’ Zapf said. “By not stepping down, it is an insult to the victims, and an insult to women everywhere.’’
Councilman Mark Kersey said, “Mayor Filner needs to wrestle with his demons as a private citizen, not on the public’s time or the taxpayer’s dime. Our employees should not have to work under this cloud of controversy, and the victims should not have to wait any longer for the justice they deserve.’’
Lightner broke her silence on the allegations by saying she met with the mayor and asked him to resign.
“I have been deeply troubled by the serious allegations regarding the mayor’s conduct,’’ Lightner said. “Sexual harassment is demeaning and harmful behavior which cannot be tolerated, and I respect the courage of the women who have come forward.’’
Only Myrtle Cole and Marti Emerald, both Democrats on the technically nonpartisan council, have not called on Filner to step down.
Cole’s office said her position backing the mayor’s due process rights have not changed. A spokesman for Emerald said she wouldn’t comment since she is out of town all month, at a training session at Harvard University.
High-profile Los Angeles-based attorney Gloria Allred reiterated her call for Filner to resign.
“I view his decision to seek therapy as a ploy to stay in power and to try to gain sympathy,’’ said Allred, who represents the first alleged victim to step forward, former mayoral Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson.
“If he feels that he needs therapy, he should resign first and then seek it,’’ Allred said. “It is ridiculous to think that he needs therapy in order to understand that women deserve respect and should not be treated like pieces of meat.’’
Also, Denise Montgomery, the mayor’s recent appointee to lead the city’s Commission on Arts and Culture, stepped down in light of the allegations.
“I wrestled with this decision out of commitment to the arts and culture community, however, I cannot in good conscience remain part of the Filner administration,” Montgomery said.
The commission receives city money, which it distributes to area arts organizations.