Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
While rumors whirl of a resignation, a recall effort is under way for the embattled San Diego mayor.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is back today after an abbreviated trip to therapy that no one honestly believed could correct his fatal flaws. And all of the signs greeting him in town were grim: Only a "few dozen" people turned up for an oddly named "We Will Not Be Silent" rally in the mayor's defense. A recall petition drive to boot him from office – because Filner has steadfastly refused to go on his own – was already under way.
And a San Diego Union-Tribune poll showed an overwhelming majority of the city wants the 70-year-old former congressman to resign and is willing to recall him if he won't.
Even this local Hooter's won't have the guy:
Filner himself never turned up where a wall of national TV cameras was expecting him to Monday morning, on the steps of city hall. But he was caught walking into the complex where the U.S. attorney's office is located in town, reportedly for a mediation session with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing one woman who has filed a harassment suit against the mayor.
Local television stations were reporting today that a resignation was among the options on the table during mediation. In the meantime, hundreds of volunteers have already signed up for the recall campaign that officially launched Sunday. The effort has until September 26 to collect 101,597 signatures (or 15 percent of the total number of San Diegans who registered for the last election).
Time is surely running out for the mayor. The entire city council has now called on him to resign. And it's never a good sign when the best an embattled politician's defenders can say on his behalf is that he's "far more than sloppy kisses."
Also, this YouTube video has 140,000 views:
Top image of attorney Gloria Allred speaking at a recall rally in San Diego on Sunday: Mike Blake/Reuters