San Diego Democrats will not ask Mayor Filner to resign - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

San Diego Democrats will not ask Mayor Filner to resign

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The chairwoman of the San Diego County Democratic Party said Friday that allegations of sexual harassment against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner are grounds for his resignation, if proven to be true.

The statement released by Francine Busby came after a meeting of the county party's central committee Thursday night, at which attendees were divided as to whether the mayor should step down immediately.

Filner apologized last week but now is calling for an investigation and "due process."

In the statement, Busby said the discussion at the meeting was "intense, honest, and deeply personal" but failed to reach a consensus.

"However, I can share some broad areas of agreement among Democratic Party leaders," Busby said. "We unequivocally condemn sexual harassment and workplace intimidation. We abhor the actions he is alleged to have taken against women, even as we recognize that all the individuals involved have a legal right to a fair hearing.

"The mayor has betrayed the trust of the people of San Diego," Busby said. "These serious charges, if shown to be true, are grounds for immediate resignation. The Democratic Party will continue to monitor this situation and take further steps as warranted."

Also Friday, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, declined to call for the resignation of Filner, who represented San Diego in Congress for 20 years.

Pelosi told reporters that "what goes on in San Diego is up to the people of San Diego."

The Republican Party of San Diego County put out its own statement that said Democrats failed to protect the women of San Diego who are in danger of being harassed and retaliated against for speaking up.

"As a woman, I am horrified not only at the tales coming out of the mayor's office, but the admissions of leaders in the Democratic Party that they knew about Bob Filner's behavior all along,' county GOP Executive Director Francis Barraza said. "This should not be a partisan issue ... ."

Barraza said Democrats have shown that they care more about preserving political power than standing up for women who have been victimized.

Individual Democrats who have called on Filner to resign include Councilmen David Alvarez and Todd Gloria, members of the local congressional delegation Susan Davis and Scott Peters, local Assemblywomen Toni Atkins and Lorena Gonzalez.

The allegations were originally made public last week by three local Democratic power brokers. Donna Frye, a former councilwoman, and lawyers Cory Briggs and Marco Gonzalez, who is Lorena's brother. All called on the mayor to step down immediately.

THIS IS A STORY UPDATE. For an earlier story, read below.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - San Diego Democrats emerged from a meeting Thursday night in Kearny Mesa, with no clear plan about what to do about the scandal surrounding San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. But the group did close the special meeting with a decision not to ask Mayor Filner to resign at this time.

San Diego County Democratic Party Chairwoman Francine Busby's phone has been ringing off the hook since sexual harassment allegations surfaced against Filner. That's why she's convened a special meeting of the central committee to come up with a position on the Filner accusations.

Late Thursday night, Busby spoke outside the meeting, saying the members were split "literally 50-50" on the choice of asking Filner to step down, or supporting him as the harassment allegations play out.

She said members counted the votes twice but voters were split evenly among the 48 who cast ballots.

Busby said the meeting was very emotional, with strong opinions from members on both sides.

Earlier in the day, dozens of Filner supporters held a rally downtown to call for "due process" before carrying out a "public execution" of Mayor Filner.

Prior to the meeting, Busby told News 8 different perspectives within her party are welcome.

"It reflects the public opinion. It reflects the really strong opinion that we don't live in Cairo and we don't have justice by press conference and that this absolutely has to play out. And there are people who feel the allegations are so strong, that just on that alone we need to take some kind of action," Busby said.

"We're not the judge and we're not the jury. That's where the question comes in, is do we jump on a bandwagon, or do we allow justice and the process to proceed.

As a woman, Busby says she deeply troubled by the allegations against the mayor. But as the party's leader, she's seeing signs the scandal isn't shaking up City Hall all that much.

"I've spoken with three different people that give me the sense that there is stability in the office, the morale is changing, the business of the city will be done," she said.

Filner was invited to the gathering to hear opinions, but did not show.

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