SAN DIEGO — Two men who started competing efforts to recall San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced Friday that they are uniting their efforts to oust him.
One recall effort was started by Stampp Corbin, the publisher of LGBT Weekly, and the second by land use consultant Michael Pallamary. The two men said Friday morning that they will unite around the petition statement published by Pallamary. That petition lists more than half a dozen grounds for recalling Filner, including allegations that the mayor:
- engaged in a corrupt pay to play scheme to extort money from developers,
- used city police officers as body guards during a trip to France at taxpayer expense,
- created a divisive and abusive environment at City Hall,
- sexually harassed female employees and constituents,
- and is unfit to serve as mayor.
“Stampp and I met, as you know, and we have some wonderful ideas on how to do this recall and are very excited about this,” Pallmary said.
He said he wants to set higher standards for the city of San Diego.
Filner is accused of sexually harassing at least nine women, including his former communications director, who is suing the mayor and the city for unspecified damages. The 70-year-old Filner, who was elected in November, is also accused of shaking down developers for donations and accepting a gifted trip to Paris that cost far more than what is allowed for his office.
The ninth alleged victim, Marilyn Monroe impersonator Emily Gilbert, told Fox5 News she sang at a Filner fundraiser.
“He hugged me a little too closely and then put his arm around me like this,” Gilbert said. “And then he proceeded to slide his arm down and give a grab to my derriere.”
Her husband, retired Marine Major Jason Gilbert, said Filner should do the right thing and resign.
Corbin’s effort to recall Filner has been beset by accusations that he started his recall effort to prevent others from being successful, a charge he denies. In a memo released Thursday, the City Attorney’s Office clarified the uncertainty created by the dueling recall efforts.
The memo said nothing in the municipal code prevents separate efforts to collect petition signatures to recall an elected official. However, once one is certified for the ballot, the City Clerk’s Office is barred from accepting another recall petition.
In an election, the official can be removed from office by a majority vote. If the vote fails, the clerk is prohibited from receiving more petitions for six months, according to the memo.
Filner has denied his actions constitute sexual harassment but has apologized for mistreating women. He said he will check himself into a behavioral clinic for treatment for two weeks, starting Monday.
But the prospect of his rehab has done nothing to silence a rising chorus of calls for his resignation, including from the San Diego County Democratic Party and from California’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat like Filner. Also calling on him to step down are the majority of the City Council and his immediate predecessor, Jerry Sanders.
Sanders is now CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. He said the scandal surrounding Filner is sending out signs of chaos and uncertainty at City Hall.
“We’re the ridicule of the United States,” Sanders said. “We’re mentioned every day in New York — we’re mentioned all over the country.”
In an online post, Mark Cafferty, CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., said the scandal has had a “serious negative impact on our economy,” and he and 30 other business association leaders want Filner to step down immediately.