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Calls Continue For San Diego Mayor To Step Down
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
San Diego's embattled mayor Bob Filner has wrapped up a second day of closed-door mediation to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. Meanwhile, the debate continues among the city's voters about what should happen to the mayor. NPR's Nathan Rott reports while many want to see Filner resign, others are pleading for patience.
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Medo Moreno is standing outside of a Trader Joe's in north San Diego.
MEDO MORENO: Recall Filner? Have you had a chance to sign the petition?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yeah, right.
MORENO: Very good.
ROTT: He's one of hundreds, volunteers who are out combing the city for the more than 100,000 signatures needed to force a recall vote. In five minutes, he collects five signatures. Sharon Levine signs happily.
SHARON LEVINE: Because he can't represent us. He can't run this city. He's - he acts disgustingly around women. And I'm a Democrat. I voted for him, but no, he can't treat women like that.
ROTT: So far, 16 women have accused Filner of inappropriate comments, groping and general misconduct. Since the first allegations arose over a month ago, residents and politicians have been calling for Filner to resign. He has refused.
Filner is the first Democrat to be elected mayor here in decades, touting his civil rights record during his 10 terms in Congress, which is something his supporters are now using.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Due process. Due process. Due process...
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Due process. Due process. Due process...
ROTT: Scores of people gathered outside of city hall Monday to rally for Filner. They argue that Filner - and the women who have accused him of misconduct - deserve due process.
ENRIQUE MORONES: We're not saying that if any of these allegations are true, he should be given a pass. We're not saying that at all.
ROTT: Enrique Morones organized the rally.
MORONES: What I'm saying is that I've known Bob for more than 20 years, and I've never - have seen anything like that in my life.
ROTT: He and a dozen other speakers - many of whom were women - argue that accusations against Filner have been blown out of proportion. Just down the street from where the rally was held, a dozen TV cameras are aimed at the building where the mediation is taking place. Like everyone in the city, they're waiting on word of Filner's fate, whether he'll stay or whether he'll go. Nathan Rott, NPR News, San Diego.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.