The chairwoman of the San Diego County Democratic Party said Mayor Bob Filner getting counseling is “the next best thing” to the embattled, sexually harassing politician resigning.
Francine Busby told CNN that the party has “called for him to step down and get the help he needs so the city can move forward.”
“He’s made it pretty clear previously he wasn’t going to step down. And I think that this whole — everything’s in his hands right now. There is no other action anyone can take other than a recall which is highly expensive and a very high threshold. I would say he’s not going to resign and he’s determined to follow that path that getting the help he needs is the first step,” she said. “Then he has to behave himself. He has to respect everybody he works with and prove to the people of San Diego that he’s their mayor or there will be more of this effort to continue to try to recall him.”
Still, she said, “I don’t think anyone’s going to excuse or forget the behaviors that have led to this.”
Busby added there may be more women coming forward to add to the growing roster of accusations of groping and suggestive comments.
“But considering he’s made it clear he doesn’t want to resign, I would say that this is the first step he absolutely needs to take for himself first. And then if he’s going to prove to the people that he can actually govern effectively, he needs to start respecting people. You know, he’s been very, very difficult to work with many different groups in the city. He needs to be respectful to them, as well as the women. Again, because of the way the charter is in San Diego, there are only two ways to remove a mayor. That is through resignation or recall,” she said.
“And the recall is just a huge, huge challenge to pull off. So if he is determined to remain mayor, this is the next best step he could take.”
The people of San Diego, Busby said, “are going to weigh in on whether or not this is enough for them right now or if the call for his resignation will get louder or it will settle down.”
“If he’s not going to resign, the next best thing is to get the help that he needs. The question is whether the city of San Diego want to wait for him to do this and see if he can prove himself or if they feel that, you know, he has had his opportunity,” she continued.
“So, you know, I think the Democrats are more likely to give him the benefit of the doubt simply because they put so much trust and faith in him to promote the progressive agenda that we have waited 20 years to present. We will see what happens when he comes back. If he can change his behavior, it doesn’t erase what he’s done.”