Recall efforts combine to oust Mayor Filner - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Recall efforts combine to oust Mayor Filner

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Courtesy: News 8 Photographer Julio Vazquez Courtesy: News 8 Photographer Julio Vazquez
Courtesy: News 8 Photographer Jay Erdmann Courtesy: News 8 Photographer Jay Erdmann

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A unified effort to recall San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was set to go forward Saturday as two men spearheading separate campaigns announced they would join forces to try to collect the nearly 102,000 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot.

Stampp Corbin, the publisher of LGBT Weekly, and Michael Pallmary, a land use consultant, said they wanted San Diego residents to have a say in whether Filner -- who has rebuffed numerous calls to resign -- should remain mayor.

They can begin collecting signatures Aug. 18.

Their announcement came at the end of a week in which the area's business community broke its silence over the issue and more women came forward to describe their interactions with the mayor.

Filner's predecessor, Jerry Sanders, said the mayor needs to be ousted because he has opened San Diego to national "ridicule." Sanders is now the head of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The Business Leadership Alliance, an umbrella organization of 44 local business groups, and the Port Tenants Association, which represents the hotels, restaurants, shipyards and other commercial concerns along San Diego's waterfront, called on Filner to step down.

The groups contend publicity from the allegations against the mayor have damaged San Diego's economy.

Filner is scheduled to begin two weeks of behavioral therapy at an undisclosed location Monday, his response to accusations that he has sexually harassed women for years.

So far, at least nine women have accused the 70-year-old mayor of unwanted advances while a 10th, Escondido Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz described a "weird" encounter with the former 10-term congressman.

One woman, former mayoral Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson, has sued Filner and the city for an unspecified amount.

The latest woman to claim sexual harassment by Filner was Marilyn Monroe impersonator Emily Gilbert, who told Fox5 News she sang at a fundraiser in late 2012.

"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.

Filner announced at a July 26 news conference that he would take a break to address his "intimidating conduct" and failure to respect women.

"I am responsible for my conduct and I must take responsibility for my conduct by taking action so that such conduct does not ever happen again," Filner said.

The mayor said he would receive daily briefings on city business, and would return to work Aug. 19.

Filner, who has admitted to having a problem dealing with women, denies his actions constitute sexual harassment.

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