San Diego's embattled mayor Bob Filner returns to his office tomorrow. Would that he would find the locks changed on the building.
After only completing one week of his scheduled two week rehab for sexual harassment, Filner defiantly plans to come back as if he could possibly serve out his term in office. First, anyone who has any experience with rehab knows that leaving early didn't happen because Filner crammed in studies and finished faster than normal. And more stories came out as he supposedly sought outpatient treatment, like great grandmother Peggy Shannon:
Peggy Shannon, who works at a senior-citizens service desk at San Diego’s city hall, said Filner forcibly kissed her and made lewd remarks.
“Do you think I could go eight hours in one night?” the mayor allegedly asked her.
The woman, who has two great-grandsons, said she was appalled by the mayor’s nasty behavior and that it traumatized her.
Three weeks ago, as women began to step forward to reveal instances of sexual harassment, the veterans at the NWVAA began to compare notes.
Tara Jones, the president of the group, said she's spoken to seven to eight women who had varying encounters with Filner at the women's veteran events, from groping to unwanted requests for dates.
"He went to dinners, asked women out to dinners, grabbed breasts, buttocks. The full gamut. Everything that is complete violation of what we stand for," Jones said. "He's a sexual predator. And he used this organization for his own personal agenda."
Besides just being a disgusting excuse for a human being and low-life sexual predator with clear impulse control issues, Filner is opening up the city of San Diego to huge liability risks if they continue to allow him to work with all the women with whom a mayor has cause to associate. It seems to me that the city has not only a moral duty but a fiduciary duty to their taxpayers to get this resolved as quickly as possible.
Today, the recall effort begins in earnest, with 800 volunteers already willing to get the 102,000 signatures needed to start the effort. Allegedly, Filner is negotiating with San Diego officials the terms to step down as part of a settlement with his former communications director who started the sexual harassment revelation and suit, but his statements to date have not indicated a man aware of how inappropriate his actions have been or why so many believe that he should step down.
But a larger question arises that certainly is a trigger for any female who has reported unwanted sexual attention before: why weren't these reports taken seriously earlier to prevent this kind of widespread predatory acts?
"We're all wondering, 'Why didn't the chairman listen to our concerns?'" Saldaña said. "His defense now is that he spoke to Filner privately and Filner assured him no one had filed a formal complaint .... I mean, he wasn't harassing people in his office the way he's accused of now. He was harassing constituents, or professional women who basically needed to maintain a working relationship with him. So of course they weren't going to file a formal complaint against a seated congressman."