Embattled San Diego Mayor Won't Resign, Says He's Going To Rehab

AP423248309316San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

He’s not resigning. He is going to rehab.

At a press conference this afternoon, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) apologized for his conduct toward women and announced his intention to enter a two-week “intensive” therapy program starting August 5.

Filner has been accused of sexual harassment by seven women, some of them quite prominent in San Diego.

His rehab plan isn’t likely to satisfy those calling for his resignation, including a large majority of the San Diego Democratic Committee and Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

After Filner declared his intention to enter rehab, his microphone cut out and he left the podium. He returned several minutes later and issued his complete statement again, making clear his intent to stay in office.

“I must become a better person,” said Filner, rather pathetically.

We don’t know yet where Filner plans to go for therapy or what, exactly, one does over the course of two weeks in order to learn not to ask women to come to work without their panties on.

Before the announcement, San Diego ABC affiliate KGTV reported that Filner was considering taking “time off” for therapy. But it’s not obvious what it would mean for Filner to take “time off.”

In 2006, then-San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre issued a letter making clear that, unlike in some other California cities, there is no provision in San Diego’s city charter for a temporary transfer of mayoral powers.

If Filner resigns or is removed from office, there will be a special election to replace him, and the chairman of the City Council will exercise mayoral powers in the interim. But so long as Filner remains mayor, there will be some powers (such as the ability to veto legislation) that only he can exercise.

Filner said this afternoon that he will continue to take twice-daily briefings on city business while undergoing therapy.

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