SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Organizers of an effort to oust San Diego Mayor Bob Filner plan to publish his response to their recall petition, even though they say he didn't follow proper procedure in filing the document and failed to sign it.
Filner's one-page response touted his accomplishments in office but made no mention of the sexual harassment allegations against him or the accusations that he has shaken down developers for donations.
"Now is not the time to go backwards -- back to the time when middle- class jobs and neighborhood infrastructure were sacrificed to downtown special interest," Filner wrote. "We need to continue to move forward!"
Filner went on to write about his efforts to improve Balboa Park, make neighborhoods more accessible to bicyclists and pedestrians, and San Diego's recently reached five-year labor agreement with city employees.
Under San Diego's recall rules, Filner had until Monday to file his response to the recall petition in order to force his opponents to publish the response in a daily newspaper before they can begin collecting necessary signatures.
The recall campaign has until Sept. 26 to collect nearly 102,000 valid signatures and turn them into the City Clerk's Office. If the task is completed, the recall petition can be put to a public vote on a future ballot.
Organizers of the recall effort said they will publish Filner's response even though he failed to sign it, as required, and he addressed it to the City Clerk's Office instead of the official recall committee.
"Mayor Bob Filner obviously believes his policy initiatives excuse his being a sexual predator," said recall organizer Mike Pallamary.
"His reply is unacceptable. San Diegans want a mayor that doesn't grope and demean women, who doesn't abuse his office to satisfy a perverted quest for a sense of power, and who has the ability to lead our great city -- an ability Filner can never, ever reclaim."
Pallamary predicted residents of San Diego will move the city "beyond the great shame our mayor has brought" and recall him from office.
City Council President Todd Gloria said the mayor's response shows that "he just doesn't get it."
"He does not address the serious claims against him and instead provides a laundry list of proposals that cannot be accomplished because he refuses to resign," Gloria said.
The councilman, who represents downtown San Diego, Hillcrest and North Park, said he shares a progressive vision that puts neighborhoods first, and agrees this is not the time to move backward.
"The truth is, the only way we can move forward is for Bob Filner to resign," Gloria said.
Recall organizers must collect nearly 102,000 valid signatures and submit them to the City Clerk's Office by Sept. 26 in order to qualify for the ballot.
In other developments Tuesday:
- The mayor's chief of staff, Lee Burdick, told reporters she didn't know when Filner, who is taking this week off, would return to work
- U-T San Diego obtained documents that show Filner, Burdick and around 20 other key mayoral staff members didn't complete sexual harassment training until after a state deadline, and after former Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson sued Filner and the city for sexual harassment
- The franchisee for four Hooters restaurants in San Diego County posted signs that said they would not serve the mayor because "women should be treated with respect." The signs were posted at eateries in the Gaslamp Quarter, Mission Valley, Oceanside and Rancho Bernardo