In other words, please forget about what I did. The city of San Diego needs me!
SAN DIEGO — Mayor Bob Filner, in his first response to the recall movement aimed at ousting him from office, said this: "Now is not the time to go backwards."
Through his attorneys, Filner issued a statement late Monday to the recall committee set to begin Sunday gathering signatures to force an election. By city law, the committee must publish his statement in a local newspaper.
In the statement, Filner made no mention of the accusations of sexual harassment lodged against him by 14 women, including a former staffer who has filed a lawsuit.
Instead, Filner repeated the promises he stressed during his campaign and then in his early months as the city's first Democrat mayor in two decades: Better neighborhood services, improvements for Balboa Park, more bicycle lanes and a five-year contract for city employees, among other issues.
"Now is not the time to go backwards — back to the time middle-class jobs and neighborhood infrastructure were sacrificed to downtown special interests," the statement said. "We need to continue to move forward."
Naturally, Mayor Filner’s statement is falling on deaf ears:
Recall leader Michael Pallamary rejected Filner's statement as an inadequate defense.
"Mayor Filner obviously believes his policy initiatives excuse his being a sexual predator," Pallamary said. "San Diegans want a mayor who doesn't grope and demean women."
Filner, 70, finished a therapy session last week reportedly aimed at helping him learn to respect women. He has promised to continue receiving therapy even after returning to work, set for Aug. 19.
What is the purpose of Mayor Filner receiving “therapy” now when fourteen women have already accused him of sexual impropriety? I mean, isn’t it too late for empty gestures and playing politics? Filner obviously suffers from some sort of serious and deranged mental illness that cannot and will not be cured overnight. In short, no one is buying his “rehab” ruse.
At the same time, the reason pretty much everybody wants him gone is not because his constituents oppose his policy proposals, either -- as recall leaders continue to point out. It’s because he's betrayed the public's trust in the worst possible way by degrading and humiliating women -- including members of his own staff. There’s nothing he can say or do to rectify the situation except tender his resignation and apologize. So why won’t he do that?
I sincerely hope it's not because of this.