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'Freedom from Filner' rally kicks off recall effort

Organizers of the campaign to recall San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will take part in three events Sunday, the first day they can begin gathering signatures.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The effort to recall embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner officially kicked off Sunday, as petitions were circulated at midnight and volunteers worked at a trio of three daytime civic events.

About 250 supporters rallied at City Hall Sunday, chanting "throw Bob out." Recall organizer Michael Pallymary said thousands more were at a Mission Valley hotel being trained to gather the petitions.

"It's been overwhelming, it's been non-stop, look at this crowd," Pallymary told City News Service at City Hall. "At the Half Marathon I personally got more than 100 signatures in an hour and I couldn't get them down fast enough."

Signature gatherers went to the America's Finest City Half Marathon at Balboa Park, an afternoon volunteer orientation and kickoff event in Mission Valley, and the 2 p.m. "Freedom from Filner March and Rally" at San Diego's City Hall.

The recall drive needs to turn in 102,000 valid signatures by Sept. 26 to qualify for the ballot.

"This march is for the people to send a message that Mr. Filner must immediately resign or be removed from office," said rally spokeswoman Kathryn Vaughn, a San Diego attorney and workshop leader on sexual harassment in the workplace.

"San Diego deserves to have a leader with honor, integrity and respect for all people. Bob Filner's appalling behavior will not be tolerated and is unacceptable for our city's leader."

Pallamary said there are exactly 39 days for the recall to qualify for the ballot. More than 800 San Diegans have signed up as volunteers to collect signatures or manage other aspects of the volunteer effort.

"People are very motivated to sign," said Pallamary about the potential for the recall drive to be successful. He said volunteers would begin circulating petitions at larger venues like sporting events and shopping center, then eventually go door-to-door in neighborhoods.

Pallamary encouraged people to attend today's rally at City Hall which he described as a "symbolic march." 

"I'm asking people, women and men too, to stand up for our community and our women," Pallamary said in a televised interview. "I hope this will be that mobilizing day."

Asked why Filner should resign, Pallamary said, "He's narcissistic. Clearly, he has some significant mental health conditions."

Pallamary said he didn't see how Filner could effectively continue as San Diego's mayor.

"Where has he been since July 26?" Pallamary asked. "He can't get anything done. He's completely ineffective."

Discussing his motivation for organizing the Filner recall drive, Pallamary said, "I have a 10-year-old granddaughter who's waking up every day and hearing these lurid accusations and stories. We need to stop this. We need to take it off television and out of the newspapers. My granddaughter needs to be empowered, and to know that this kind of behavior is not acceptable."

More information is at the website recallbobfilner.com. There is also a Facebook page at Facebook.com/RecallBobFilner.

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