(AP) Filner ends tumultuous tenure as San Diego mayor
By ELLIOT SPAGAT
Bob Filner ended his brief but tumultuous tenure as mayor Friday amid allegations that he sexually harassed women, making no public appearances on a final day that came one week after a defiant farewell speech in which the onetime civil rights activist called himself the victim of a “lynch mob.”
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said Filner’s last act as mayor was to halt a controversial remodeling of a neighborhood Jack in the Box restaurant. Gloria immediately overturned the decision, saying it exposed the city to litigation.
The former 10-term congressman kept a low profile on last final day, ceding media attention to a mock celebration by accusers who gave him several parting gifts, including a mirror that attorney Gloria Allred said he can look at when asking who’s to blame for his resignation.
Employees in the City Hall lobby said they didn’t see the 70-year-old mayor on his last day. An office receptionist had no comment.
Before the scandal, Filner was true to his reputation as a workaholic. Followers adopted a Twitter hashtag _ (hash)filnereverywhere _ to chronicle his nonstop pace riding a bicycle to school with children, crashing the podium at the city attorney’s news conference to denounce the speaker’s positions, and marching to protest violence against women.
The city’s first Democratic leader in 20 years turned into a virtual no-show after allegations surfaced last month that he sexually harassed women.
At a news conference, Allred displayed a farewell card that said she looked forward to seeing Filner at a deposition in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson _ the first of nearly 20 women to identify herself as a target of the mayor’s unwanted advances. She is the only one who has sued Filner.
Allred was flanked by two other Filner accusers.
Gloria, a Democrat, said he would interview Filner’s staff and hoped to keep most in their jobs. On Thursday, he named McCormack, as she is known professionally, to be his communications director.
Gloria inspected his new office and made brief comments to reporters as he left City Hall. He didn’t speak with Filner on Friday.
The California attorney general’s office has launched a criminal investigation of Filner, and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has been interviewing his accusers and will deliver its findings to the attorney general’s office for possible prosecution.
Filner leaves office as questions linger about how someone who acknowledged mistreating women for many years _ but denied sexual harassing them _ could have survived for so long in politics.
Those who know Filner say he might have been more easily exposed as the leader of the nation’s eighth-largest city than as a congressman farther from the spotlight. His behavior also might have deteriorated after being elected mayor.