An Open Letter to San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

Dear Mayor Bob Filner,

You do not know me, but like the rest of the sane individuals following your sexual harassment scandal, let me tell you, it is time to resign. Actually, allow me to restate that: It was time to resign weeks ago.

First, let me say I do believe in the fundamental principle that people are innocent until proven guilty. You have yet to have been found liable or guilty of anything in a court of law. But here is a news flash for you: You are an elected official. Members of the electorate went to the ballot box and put their faith in you to represent them fairly and honestly. You are failing to do that.

Now, you may ask, does it set a bad precedent to tell an official to resign just because he is accused of wrong doing? The answer is, it absolutely would if that were what I'm advocating, but I am not. The sheer volume of the complaints lodged against you is stunning. The substance of the complaints -- a myriad of unwanted sexual advances -- is deplorable.

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As you well know, appearances matter in politics. Appearances also matter in government. Yes, those two things are still somewhat different. When your constituents have lost faith in your ability to govern, not to mention be alone with any woman, it is time to go.

It is increasingly difficult to get members of the electorate to go to the polls and take part in local, state, and federal government. People feel disconnected from their representatives. While this is a real problem, and it is long past the time to change the public's low regard of government, I only wish more of your constituents felt more disconnected from you. Your decision to stay in office is doing nothing to help the people's view of their elected representatives.

The only silver lining here is that the complaints lodged against you are shocking. Thank goodness there is nothing routine or acceptable about what so many women now claim you have subjected them to.

Because you stubbornly fail to make the only rational decision available at this point and to resign, you are forcing your constituents to bear the time and cost of an attempted recall election. You are forcing your City Attorney to attempt to invoke a little-known section of the charter in which officials can be removed for misuse of public money. You are forcing people to consider whether there is a way to bar you from your office, that is City Hall, in case you forgot. Here is some good news, though: There is actually a way for you to do something helpful for you city. And that is to leave it -- immediately.

About the Author

Jessica Levinson is an Associate Clinical Professor at Loyola Law School. She focuses on the intersection of law and government.
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