Residents of San Diego appeared before the San Diego City Council on Tuesday evening to voice their opinions about Mayor Bob Filner’s request that the city pay the legal fees for his defense against a sexual harassment suit filed against him by a female city employee. Filner’s attorney has asked on his behalf that the city cover his legal costs, pursuant to California state law.
One resident angrily called the idea a “waste of money.” Another, saying that Filner would likely face criminal prosecution, said nevertheless: “You have an absolute obligation to assist in his defense.”
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith took the opposing view, stating the city did not have an obligation to defend the mayor if his conduct–in this case, alleged sexual harassment–was outside the scope of his employment.
Real estate agent Julie Adams, speaking “as a San Diego woman,” excoriated members of the council who had not yet condemned Mayor Filner, or who had commended him for admitting wrongdoing.
“It’s not OK for the women to be slobbered on, to be groped, to be told not to wear panties,” Adams said.
Izean Rim, who described himself to Breitbart News as a human rights advocate, asked the council to judge Mayor Filner as an ordinary citizen.
“What would happen if I said to a woman in the elevator, ‘Hey baby, you look good in that blouse.’–then, on the way out, I hit her in the butt? By the time I got to the 12th floor, I’d be arrested….Why does Bob Filner get away with it?” Rim added that the mayor should not benefit from tax dollars in his legal defense.
Another resident, Anne Rauch, agreed. “We are not only a national joke. We are the international joke,” she said.
Following public comment, the council entered a closed session to confer with legal counsel.