After three weeks of maintaining media silence about his successor at City Hall, former mayor Jerry Sanders called the allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior levied at current Mayor Bob Filner “reprehensible.”
"I don't care how he leaves. I don't care if it's a recall, I don't care if he resigns,” Sanders said.“I don't care how it happens. But San Diego is paralyzed right now. The business is not being done."
Filner's sexual harassment issues have not only become a major distraction but a dangerous market signal from a state of chaos and uncertainty at City Hall, Sanders said.
"It concerns Wall Street, it concerns everybody. Because business needs certainty," Sanders said.
For the record, Sanders is not directly calling for Filner's resignation or embracing a recall effort. He’s concerned about the effect the scandal has had on the city’s reputation.
"We're the ridicule of the United States. I mean, we're mentioned every day in New York. We're mentioned all over the country,” Sanders said.
But beyond the late-night talk-show lampoons Sanders says Filner's entire approach to governance is a huge problem for business and industry.
Erratic and more suited to a Congressional office than an executive office.
He used the word "reprehensible" in connection with what eight women have said publicly about their interactions with Filner including Ronne Froman, Sanders' first chief operating officer and a retired rear admiral who once was the "Navy Mayor of San Diego".
Sanders says he knows other women who could accuse Filner of improprieties, but aren't ready to face the hardships of coming forward.
He views all that from the perspective not only of a former mayor, a onetime CEO in the nonprofit sector,but as former cop who was the city's police chief for six years.
"I know what it takes to run a city. And I know how just a minor crisis can paralyze a mayor's office,” Sanders said.
“When we have a mayor who is now paralyzed by dozens of allegations of different types of things -- we're not just talking about sexual harassment. I think that's where we're getting the wrong message. This is about sexual assault, is what many of these women are claiming," Sanders said.
NBC 7 has left messages with the mayor's media handler, seeking a response to what Sanders is saying.