Is San Diego’s embattled mayor now working on a letter of resignation or is he determined to stay in office, and merely drafting a formal response to a recall notice?
For the better part of Monday, Mayor Bob Filner was off media radar, after a purported two weeks in behavior therapy that has raised questions about exactly where and when it took place.
Was all that to dodge a deposition?
The mayor’s attorneys have told journalists that he's taking "personal time" this week, and is unavailable for comment.
Whatever the case, angry constituents hope he doesn't return to City Hall. Dozens bashed the longtime public servant in a noontime public spectacle dubbed a “Not Welcome Back, Bob” rally on Civic Center Plaza.
"Two weeks is not a cure, two weeks is not enough for us to forget!” shouted small business owner Ben Katz, as a battery of reporters and television photographers recorded the event.
“We are not going to forget, and we are not going away! And we will keep repeating: "Bob must go! Bob must go!"
Frances Barraza, executive director of the Republican Party of San Diego County, said Filner’s widely cited mistreatment of women is typical of all too many male bosses.
"They do it in public, when they make you turn around and spank your butt,” Barraza declared. “That is an absolute blow to your desire to want to continue working for the cause."
Meantime, posts on Twitter -- attributed to "a source close to him" -- says rumors that Filner would step down Monday were "untrue."
Filner is facing a recall campaign with a midnight deadline to issue a response, limited to 300 words, to the published recall notice. However, the mayor is not required to respond.
Organizers are raising money and recruiting signature gatherers to circulate petitions starting next week.
The mayor's mistreatment of women and dealings with developers are targets of several investigations and civil legal action.
Next month, the City Council's Audit Committee will focus on his controversial June trip to Paris, which cost taxpayers $21,000 for his two-man security detail.
It’ll cost him more than $9,000 -- after a stink over original sponsorship, by Iranian dissidents he's met there in the past, prompted him to pick up the tab personally.
Filner's claim of promoting economic development during a nearby side trip doesn't impress the Audit Committee chairman.
"This was clearly a junket -- the mayor had no business going to Paris as the mayor of the city of San Diego,” Councilmember Kevin Faulconer said Monday.
"I have no idea why the mayor would say he went to Paris trying to generate jobs,” Faulconer continued in an interview with NBC 7. “We had no follow-up; there was no -- in terms of staff reports -- backup of what he did and didn't. That makes no sense at all.”
Faulconer said the mayor, his staffers and others will be summoned before the Audit Committee after the Council returns from its summer legislative recess next month.
"We've heard conflicting stories out of the mayor's office for weeks and weeks,” he added. “I'm going to get to the bottom of this. And I'm going to make sure taxpayer dollars are protected and that proper procedures and approvals were followed. And if they weren't followed, I'm going to find out why."
One of the investigations targeting Filner involves the County Grand Jury.
Before them is a complaint listing numerous claims of "malfeasance" that, if upheld, could lead to his removal under the state Government Code, without the need for a criminal conviction.
Given the expenses reimbursing the city for the Paris trip, bankrolling two weeks of therapy, paying front-end costs for lawyers, and exposure to civil damages, political observers predict that money may become a key factor in Filner's decision-making.
They say he's well-enough off -- but not exactly wealthy.
At this point, Filner's only significant base of support is organized labor.
Union leaders are saying he should be allowed "due process" before judgments are rendered.
Their money might be helpful to him if there's a recall election.