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On final day in office, Bob Filner uncharacteristically avoids limelight

Last updated: August 31. 2013 12:29AM - 624 Views
ELLIOT SPAGAT Associated Press



San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is leaving office in disgrace amid sexual harassment allegations.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is leaving office in disgrace amid sexual harassment allegations.
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SAN DIEGO — Mayor Bob Filner was true to his reputation as a workaholic during most of his brief tenure at City Hall.


Followers adopted a Twitter hashtag — #filnereverywhere — to chronicle his nonstop pace riding a bicycle to school with children, crashing the podium at the city attorney’s news conference to denounce the speaker’s positions and marching to protest violence against women.


Filner, however, has turned into a virtual no-show since allegations surfaced last month that he sexually harassed women and culminated in his resignation less than nine months into his four-year term. He kept the low profile on Friday — his final day in office.


The former 10-term congressman had no public appearances scheduled on his last day. His spokeswoman, Lena Lewis, didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment on his whereabouts.


Employees in the City Hall lobby said they hadn’t seen the mayor. An office receptionist had no comment.


Some women who identified themselves as targets of Filner’s sexual advances held a mock celebration to mark his last day in office.


Attorney Gloria Allred was flanked by her clients as she displayed what she called parting gifts for Filner. She showed off a handheld mirror that she said Filner can look at when asking himself who’s to blame for his resignation, and a wallet-sized card containing California’s legal definition of sexual harassment.


Filner, a Democrat, leaves office after bowing to enormous pressure from local and national leaders in his own political party. In a defiant farewell speech last week, the onetime civil rights activist told the City Council he was the innocent victim of a “lynch mob.”


Among the many unanswered questions is how someone who acknowledged mistreating women for many years — but denied sexually harassing them — could have survived for so long in politics. Only he and perhaps a small circle of advisers know how his behavior went undetected, and they aren’t talking.


Those who know him say he may have been more easily exposed as the leader of the nation’s eighth-largest city than as a congressman further from the spotlight. His behavior also may have deteriorated after being elected the city’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years.


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