Sexual ‘assault’ or ‘harassment’? Filner could be on last legs

July 13, 2013

By Chris Reed

filner.smilesSan Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s attempt to fight off the push to force him to quit because of alleged sexual harassment went well Thursday, when former allies trashed him at a press conference without offering specific accusations. This led Filner to release a video statement Thursday afternoon admitting he “needs help” and was in therapy meant to get him to treat women better.

That seemed to stall the Filner-must-go crowd briefly. But as Friday wore on, it gained steam. San Diego County’s most powerful Democrat, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, demanded that Filner quit. So did City Council President Todd Gloria, a fellow Democrat who did so even though he could be accused of being self-serving, since he would inherit most of the mayor’s powers if Filner resigned.

And then Filner’s chief of staff quit.

What I’m hearing is that the allegations that Filner’s critics won’t spell out publicly are just awful. Anyone who backs Filner with the argument that he’s just a 70-year-old from a different generation who didn’t understand that sexual banter was OK will look like an ass when we hear what actually allegedly happened.

This may be what led Politico on Friday afternoon to say Filner was accused not of sexual harassment but “sexual assault.” That is not a minor distinction. Politico later issued a correction, but was it out of caution over people not going on the record or because it genuinely believed it was getting bad information?

We shall see.

Never has a pol deserved such a demise more than Bob Filner.

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