San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s resignation speech today at times seemed almost laughable, but it might have been too outrageous to occur to the minds of any sitcom writer. That’s because in the speech, in which Filner resigned amid sexual harassment allegations, he both offered an apology to his accusers but still continued to deny the allegations leveled against him.
If Bob Filner had stopped with the following statement, he would have left office, but he would have left it gracefully: “For my part in causing all of this, I offer a deep apology, certainly to the citizens of San Diego. To all the women I offended, I had no intention to be offensive.”
According to Filner, his downfall was the result of “a combination of awkwardness and hubris.”
However, Bob Filner didn’t stop there, with an apology and an admittance of his guilt that he was responsible for sexually harassing 18 women.
Though Filner, 70, claimed in his speech that: “I never intended to be a mayor who went out like this,” and criticized what he called a “lynch-mob mentality” against him, he still resigned.
If he had never intended to resign, and he was actually innocent of the accusations that 18 women brought against him of sexual harassment, he could have refused to resign, and he could have pursued legal action — but, he didn’t.
Instead of taking — and keeping on — the high road, he then began blaming his political opponents and the news media. He said that they “played into the hands of those who wanted a political coup.”
Not only did Filner say that, but he then appeared to reverse his apology by denying the allegations. Filner said:
Not one allegation has ever been independently verified or proven in court. I have never sexually harassed anyone.”
Filner called his decision “the toughest decision in my life,” and he spent much of the speech criticizing his political enemies and laying out his plan for San Diego’s futre, which he hoped would contiue after he left office.
Despite Finer’s somewhat rambling and contradictory speech, he drew sporadic applause from the packed City Council chamber that he addressed.
Ex-mayor Bob Filner’s resignation announcement came after a closed-door meeting with the City Council where they arranged a deal that eventually led to Filner’s resignation speech on Friday. His last day in office will be August 30, 2013, when he will step down.
Voting on the deal that was eventually struck by the City Council was unanimous, 7 to 0 in favor of it. The deal, among other tings, limits the legal and financial consequences that Bob Filner will be potentially exposed to by the sexual harassment lawsuit which a former aide is bringing against him.
According to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, as a part of the deal, the city of San Diego will pay Filner’s legal fees in a joint defense of a lawsuit filed by the mayor’s former communications director and will also pay for any settlement costs assessed against the mayor except for punitive damages.
If Filner wants to hire his own attorney, the deal also has an agreement in it to pay up to $98,000 of the associated costs.
Filner’s top communication aide was the first woman who last month went public with her complaints of sexual harassment. Since then, 17 other women have also stepped forward and claimed that thye were also the victims of sexual harassment from Filner. Among other accusations, the women claimed that Filner would try to grope and kiss them against their will.
The women who said they were harassed included a retired Navy rear admiral, a great-grandmother, a university dean and the former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, who filed a lawsuit against the mayor and the city.
Kevin Faulconer, the longest-serving Republican on the City Council, staed before the City Council meeting:
My goal has always been to restore trust and integrity to city government. What’s been damaged is a tremendous blow to our reputation. The city has been paralyzed by this whole event. We always said we wanted the best deal for taxpayers so we could put the civic dysfunction behind us.”
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigned amid sexual harassment allegations Friday. But, his resignation only came about due to a deal made by the San Diego City Council, and the deal offers quite a lot to Filner, in an attempt to be shed of him the quickest way possible. And, the resignation, itself, was a contradictory mess, in which Filner seemed to apologize one moment, and then deny all of the allegations the next.
Written by: Douglas Cobb