Gregory Bull / AP
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announces his resignation Friday at a City Council meeting in San Diego.
Blaming a lynch mob combination of media and political opponents, Mayor Bob Filner said goodbye to San Diego after its City Council accepted the terms for his resignation amid allegations of sexual harassment.
“It certainly was never my intention to be a mayor who went out like this,” Filner told the council.
"I’ve never sexually harassed anyone," the mayor said describing what he called a lynch mob that surrounded numerous allegations of sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior with women, misuse of funds and “pay to play” schemes.
After several days of negotiations with city officials, Filner agreed to resign effective Aug. 31.
After listening to about an hour of public comment, Councilmembers David Alvarez, Sherri Lightner, Mark Kersey, Lorie Zapf, Marti Emerald, Kevin Faulconer and Todd Gloria moved to the closed session room with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and his deputies to hammer out an agreement that must be ratified by at least a five-vote majority of councilmembers.
Councilmembers Myrtle Cole and Scott Sherman were not in attendance.
The motion to approve the settlement passed 7-0.
Special Section: Mayor Under Fire
Approximately 40 speakers spoke in the council chambers on the 12th floor of City Hall, 202 C Street downtown.
One of the mayor's accusers Laura Fink spoke in favor of an immediate resignation. Watch Video
“I hope that you will weigh carefully the offer that is before you and ask yourselves not only what the cost of resignation will be but the cost to each of us of enabling Mayor Filner to remain in office indefinitely," Fink said.
Rachel Laing with the Recall Bob Filner effort told the council that more than 1,200 volunteers have collected more than 20,000 signatures in just five days. Watch Video
“As citizens we have the right to vote and we have the right to recall,” said Mike McCormack, brother of the former mayor's office employee who has filed the sexual harassment suit. “Please be confident that the people of San Diego will successfully recall Bob Filner.”
“You have failed us. This media circus behind us is because of you. When you did the strong mayor charter and you didn’t figure out how you would be able to impeach a mayor,” recall organizer Stampp Corbin told the council. Watch Video
"I trust that you have brought forward a recommendation that you think is in the community’s best interest," said Lani Lutar, former president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. "There is no option in which the taxpayers will not have to pay."
Community activist Enrique Morones called the process a lynching, an execution and a kangaroo court then recalled the words of his late father, “ We will always remember those who stood with us, we will always remember those who stood against us but we will especially remember those that stood by and said nothing.”
“Bob Filner is a very good person,” said Sherman Heights resident Maria Ochoa through a translator. “Where is the justice? Who is behind all of this?”
As for the councilmembers who were absent Friday, a spokesperson said Councilmember Scott Sherman "had a long standing family obligation that couldn't be rescheduled." A spokesperson for Councilmember Myrtle Cole said Cole is attending an educational conference in Washington D.C. that has been scheduled for several months.
It would be a complete turnabout should that be part of the deal.
Mayor Filner may have already packed his bags but the mediation settlement does not heal all wounds.
Many taxpayers told NBC 7 they want Filner out as fast and cheaply as possible.
“Take other precautions and make sure we're not spending extra money for this guy,” voter Curtis Freitas said.
San Diego resident Marcus Brady thinks Filner leaving office is inevitable.
"I think he should be a man and step down 'cause I think the recall will go through period," Brady said. "If he doesn't step down the recall will go through because he disappointed a lot of people."
First published August 23 2013, 4:30 PM