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SAN DIEGO -- LGBT Weekly publisher Stampp Corbin is being accused of filing a fraudulent recall notice in an effort to keep in office San Diego’s embattled Mayor Bob Filner, who faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Corbin, who has a history of support and close involvement with Filner, surprised the San Diego political world on Thursday, July 25, when he was the first to initiate a recall notice against Filner via a classified ad in the UT San Diego.
According to the UT San Diego:
Publishing a notice starts a 60-day clock for the recall process, though the actual signature-gathering begins three weeks later. From there, 101,597 signatures must gathered within 39 days, with a 30-day extension allowed if needed.
Two days earlier, Corbin had published an opinion piece attacking the credibility of one of Filner’s accusers – his former fiancée Bronwyn Ingram. Some observers questioned Corbin’s motives, considering that Filner had appointed Corbin to a city commission.
By triggering the recall process on July 25, and without much fanfare, Corbin appears to be taking time away from organizers to mount a proper campaign. And it calls into question whether another recall effort led by land-use consultant Michael Pallamary, who has given Filner until today, July 29, to resign or face a recall petition, can now go forward.
In his classified ad, Corbin failed to outline in detail the case against Filner, other than “Accusations of sexual harassment by city worker against Mayor Filner.” To date, six other women outside of city government have come forward and accused Filner of sexual harassment.
Further complicating matters, Corbin has announced that he will not mount a funded campaign with paid campaign staff to collect signatures, and instead will simply make a copy of the petition available to anyone who stops by his office at LGBT Weekly.
Observers say the biggest risk is that Corbin could walk into the City Clerk’s Office any day with a few signatures, and get the petition rejected automatically. Such a rejection by the City would guarantee six extra months in office for Filner, as city rules prohibit filing of recall petitions against a city official if a petition has failed within the past six months.
Evidence against Corbin was circumstantial and speculative until a witness with insider information stepped forward to reveal his true motive, published in Sunday’s UT San Diego.
Susan Jester, head of the Log Cabin Republicans of San Diego County and a longtime political activist, said she had spoken to Corbin several times last week about the recall matter and is convinced that he is playing “Chicago-style politics.”
“He bragged to me that it would be a way to stop the group getting ready to file” their own recall drive, Jester told the UT San Diego. “He said, ‘It occurred to me that it would derail the other group.’”
Corbin denied the accusation when questioned by UT San Diego on Saturday night, but Jester wasn’t buying his explanation. She recalled Corbin telling her this:
“He was expressing a tactic in his mind, how to derail the Filner recall process,” Jester told the newspaper. “I thought at first he was half-joking. But I saw it on his Facebook page. It really infuriates me. We have a right as citizens to file a genuine recall. We have a mayor grossly out of control and ruining our city.”
In a separate piece published on CalWatchdog.com, blogger Chris Reed labels Corbin as a “gay-baiting gay activist” for his efforts to play the gay card against Filner’s opponent in the 2012 election – Carl DeMaio. Reed also labels Corbin’s recall effort as a stunt to thwart a successful recall.
If Corbin is trying to keep Filner in office, he would be doing so in the face of overwhelming opposition to Filner within the LGBT community. On Friday, The San Diego LGBT Community Center’s board of directors went on record demanding Filner’s resignation and the San Diego Democrats for Equality issued the same demand on Thursday, along with the San Diego Democratic Party and the national Democratic Party.
As a matter of full disclosure, SDGLN Publisher Johnathan Hale has a personal relationship with Carl DeMaio.