SAN DIEGO — Supporters and opponents of Mayor Bob Filner have planned dueling rallies outside City Hall over the demand that he resign due to allegations that he sexually harassed staff members and constituents.
A rally is set for 4 p.m. Thursday by activists who believe the 70-year-old Democrat is being denied due process by politicians and lawyers who are demanding his resignation even though his accusers are still anonymous and no official claim of harassment has been filed.
On Friday, also at 4 p.m. outside City Hall, potential leaders of a recall movement have planned their own rally to determine whether there is enough support to attempt a recall, a difficult and costly process. A recall requires the gathering of 100,000-plus signatures of registered voters to force a public vote.
Both sides on the issue have been provoked to passionate rhetoric in recent days.
Border activist Enrique Morones, an organizer of Thursday’s rally, noted Filner’s long history of support for civil rights, racial equality, veterans and public education.
“Who was there when our African American brothers and sisters marched for the right to vote?” he asked. “Who was arrested in the name of justice? An original Freedom Rider. Who champions education for our youth? … Who was there when our proud veterans needed more support?”
But George Mitrovich, president of the City Club of San Diego, also a longtime supporter and friend of Filner, said he has concluded that he must resign.
“This isn’t about friendship, it’s about our city — and while I, as a person of faith, love Bob Filner as a human being, I love San Diego more,” Mitrovich said. “Our city needs a new beginning, and Bob Filner needs the personal help he himself acknowledges.”