By Andy Cohen
Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced in a press conference this afternoon that beginning August 5 he will be entering a two week rehabilitation clinic. He announced no intentions to step aside as the city’s mayor.
The treatment program he will enter, he said, will be a full time residential program. He intends to return to full time duties at City Hall on August 19.
“The behavior I have engaged in over many years is wrong and inexcusable,” Filner said in his prepared remarks. “It has undermined what I have spent my entire career working for.”
“I am responsible for my conduct. I must take responsibility for my conduct by taking action to make sure it never happens again,” said Filner.
The mayor said that his entry into a behavior modification program is only the first step in what he called an ongoing process to prove that he can and has changed, even at age 70. “I must become a better person,” he said.
Filner told the gathered media and television audience that he had reached out to the women he had “offended” and offered his sincere apologies.
Filner said that while he is away at the rehab facility he will receive updates on city business every morning and evening.
He refused to answer any questions from the gathered media.
In the meantime, land use consultant Michael Pallamary announced outside of City Hall that he and his associates will launch a campaign to recall Filner on Monday, July 29. According to the city charter, recall petitioners have 39 days to gather 101,000 valid signatures from registered voters in San Diego. If the Registrar of Voters determines that the petitioners have not turned in enough valid signatures after 39 days, the city charter allows an additional 30 days to meet the requirement.
Pallamary said in an interview with NBC 7 San Diego that he will be using a combination of volunteers and paid signature gatherers in order to meet the required threshold.
Seven women have now come forward to accuse Filner of sexual harassment, and lawsuits have been filed both against Filner and the City of San Diego. Former Filner Communications Director Irene McCormack was the first to make her accusations public, enlisting famed women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred in filing her lawsuit against Filner and the city.