California Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins has called for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to “either come forward and declare his innocence or resign immediately.”
The statement from the District 78 leader came after Filner was accused of sexually harassing female employees. The mayor later apologized, saying he needed help and promised to change his behavior.
Special Section: Mayor Under Fire
“Sexual harassment is incompatible with public service,” Atkins said in a statement. “Mayor Filner is the CEO of a government organization of almost 20,000 employees, at least half of whom are women. With his admission yesterday of mistreatment of the women on his staff, I believe he can no longer lead this city. “
She went on to say that his actions would not be accepted anywhere else.
“We would not tolerate this from a CEO or senior government employee,” she stated. “We would not tolerate this if his actions were homophobic or racist. We cannot tolerate the mistreatment of women in the workplace.”
Atkins concluded her statement saying she does not believe Filner can continue to serve as mayor.
Friday afternoon Atkins was joined by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who said she heard from victims that had been physically and verbally harassed by Filner.
“What I heard was astonishing and devastating,” Gonzalez said.
She did not detail what the victims described to her, but asked that the mayor spare the public a lengthy embarrassing process and asked him to resign.
San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria joined other Democratic leaders Friday afternoon, saying he is asking for Filner's resignation "as a San Diegan."
"While I believe coming forward and admitting to this unacceptable behavior is the right thing to do, I do not believe he can effectively continue as mayor of San Diego after these admissions," Gloria stated.
He also stated that even though the two have disagreed, he is not asking Filner to step down for that reason.
"The severity of these allegations, and the legal and financial risk they pose to the City and the taxpayers, cannot be ignored or understated," Gloria stated. "Our City government cannot maintain the full faith and trust of the people of San Diego if Mayor Filner continues to serve in this office."
District 8 councilmember David Alvarez also issued a statement Friday evening calling for Filner’s resignation.
“This afternoon I received new and first-hand information regarding sexual harassment allegations against Mayor Filner. I immediately reported this information to the City of San Diego’s Human Resources Department,” said Alvarez.
The councilmember went on to say he has “personally met with Mayor Filner and demanded his resignation.”
“My heart goes out to the victims of this abhorrent treatment. Please know that you have my support during this difficult time,” he continued.