SAN DIEGO -- After seven women have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against Mayor Bob Filner, local and national Democratic organizations and leaders are calling on the mayor to resign.
Thursday night, both the central committee of the San Diego County Democratic Party and the San Diego Democrats for Equality voted to condemn the mayor's actions and demand his immediate resignation.
The central committee's voted 34-6 last night to call on Filner to resign. Just a week prior, the committee was deadlocked 24-24.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, agrees with the local committee's vote and released a statement today:
"The misconduct Mayor Bob Filner has been accused of is reprehensible and indefensible. I am personally offended by his actions and I firmly believe no employee should face a hostile environment or harassment at their place of employment. There is no place for this type of conduct in the workplace and certainly not in our city halls and public offices. For the good of the City of San Diego, I call on Mayor Filner to resign."
State Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins, a former San Diego City Councilmember who served as Interim Mayor when Dick Murphy resigned in 2005, applauded the county party's decision and released the following statement:
"I applaud the members of the County Democratic Party for making what I know must have been a painfully difficult decision. San Diego’s Democrats are Mayor Filner’s victims, too. He has forced us to choose between a woman’s right to work for or do business with the City without fear of unwanted sexual advances and the progressive vision for our city that caused us to support his election in the first place.
"Unfortunately, the Mayor is now doing more harm than good to that vision and there is no effective mechanism other than his resignation to remove him from office without further tearing the city apart. Having spoken with several of the victims personally, and in light of today's stunning revelations from prominent San Diego women, I continue to stand with the women who have been victimized by the mayor.
"This is a critical time for San Diego and I will remain actively engaged in protecting the City's interests at the state level and in ensuring our communities are taken care of."
The San Diego Democrats for Equality, the local LGBT Democratic club which wields a lot of clout, also met last night for a members only forum to discuss the Filner scandal. The club also voted to demand Filner's resignation and issued the following statement:
The San Diego Democrats for Equality, after hearing the credible public testimony of a number of women, who have described multiple acts of sexual harassment and abuse of power in the workplace by Mayor Bob Filner, voted 34 - 4 at its July 25 meeting to censure Mayor Filner and demand his immediate resignation from public office. At this point anything less than resignation holds hostage the business of the City and the needs of its residents.
Abuse of power at any level of government by any elected official regardless of their political affiliation is unacceptable and a betrayal of the public's trust. The Democrats for Equality consider Mayor Filner incapable at this point in time of conducting the people's business in a manner commensurate with his role as an elected official. We support the San Diego LGBT Community Center in its call for the leaders of the City of San Diego, "to take any and all appropriate steps on behalf of the women who have reported being harassed, intimidated and/or blatantly disrespected by Mayor Bob Filner."
The San Diego Democrats for Equality believe that any public official who undermines the dignity and self-worth of anyone has no rightful place in political leadership. We support the advancement of women in all areas of society and expect, at the very least, the fair and equitable treatment of women in every aspect of public life.
Democrats for Equality will now seek to support a candidate that upholds these principles and who is committed to a fair and equitable distribution of City resources for all of its citizens.
Club president Doug Case said that today's announcement by Filner that he will seek therapy in no way changes the club's position.
SDGLN will continue to report on this as information becomes available.