San Diego mayor faces more pressure from Democrats
By JULIE WATSON
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Pressure is mounting against San Diego's mayor to resign after a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against him, and the Democratic National Committee plans to vote on a resolution Friday urging him to step down immediately.
Word about the resolution came Tuesday, the second day Mayor Bob Filner spent in settlement talks over the harassment lawsuit. It was unclear whether the Democrat's potential resignation was being discussed as part of the bargaining.
Filner has been besieged by sexual harassment allegations from more than a dozen women, prompting petitions to be circulated to recall the former congressman.
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz urged Filner to resign in a statement in July. The committee said the Democratic Party condemns anyone who creates a hostile workplace or sexually harasses women or men. The resolution, to be taken up at a meeting in Phoenix, was first reported by CNN.
City Council President Todd Gloria and Councilman Kevin Faulconer confirmed that Filner has been present at the talks involving the lawsuit filed by his former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson.
McCormack, as she is known professionally, was the first to go public with allegations against the 70-year-old mayor, who has resisted an avalanche of calls to step down, including from the entire City Council. Other accusers include a university dean and a retired Navy rear admiral. Some contend he cornered, groped and forcibly kissed them.
Gloria and Faulconer declined to comment further, saying the mediator, former federal judge J. Lawrence Irving, has asked that no one divulge specifics about the ongoing talks.
"We want a good result," Gloria said before heading into the downtown office building where talks were continuing.
The negotiations began Monday when Filner was spotted heading into the building, followed by McCormack's attorney, Gloria Allred.
It was the first time Filner had been seen publicly since announcing about three weeks ago that he would undergo therapy after acknowledging he has disrespected and intimidated women. He has denied committing sexual harassment.
Questions also have been raised over Filner's spending and a trip to Paris. He is being investigated over the various issues by the city attorney's office, state attorney general's office, Sheriff's Department and U.S. attorney.
Filner has vowed to remain the leader of the nation's eighth-largest city, saying his focus after therapy "will be on making sure that I am doing right by the city in terms of being the best mayor I can be."
Filner's spokeswoman Lena Lewis and lawyer James Payne did not respond to calls.
Recall organizers must collect 101,597 signatures of registered San Diego voters by Sept. 26. If the petition has fewer than that, the recall campaign will have 30 more days to gather additional valid signatures.
If enough signatures are validated, the City Council must schedule an election within 60 to 90 days.
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