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Mayor Filner ditches San Diego Pride parade appearance

SAN DIEGO -- Scandal-ridden Mayor Bob Filner just issued a statement in which he bowed out of a scheduled appearance in the San Diego Pride Parade on Saturday.

Here is the statement:

“It is with great regret, but utmost respect for the tradition of Pride, that I have decided not to participate this year. Although I have participated proudly many years in the past, I am concerned that the current controversy surrounding me could distract from the importance of what the whole Pride movement stands for. I have no intention of allowing such a distraction. Please know that I am there with you in spirit, cheering you on and celebrating the extraordinary progress, especially recently, made for the gay community. I’m PROUD of you all!!”

Filner, a Democrat, received a majority of the votes from San Diego's LGBT community, which traditionally has supported Democratic candidates.

A bevy of Democrats, including Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins, have called for Mayor Filner to resign over allegations of sexual harassment. The latest to do so is Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who is appearing live on TV with Atkins at this hour discussing the allegations. Gonzalez was an outspoken supporter of Filner's campaign when she was a local labor leader. During the news conference, she said has heard that the sexual harassment allegations involve both physical and verbal incidents. Atkins said Filner's ability to lead the city has been compromised, and he should step down.

Also today, City Council President Todd Gloria called for the resignation of Mayor Filner.

“Yesterday, Mayor Filner admitted that he has harassed and intimidated women under his authority. While I believe coming forward and admitting to this unacceptable behavior is the right thing to do, I do not believe he can effectively continue as mayor of San Diego after these admissions. As a San Diegan, I am asking Mayor Filner to resign," Gloria said.

“I don't currently know the full extent or impact of his behavior, but I do know this: The people of San Diego, and especially those women he has mistreated, need to be assured that we as a City will not tolerate intimidation and harassment. An apology is not enough. In recognition of the gravity of the situation he created, and for the good of the City he pledged to serve, Mayor Filner should step down," he said.

“The Mayor and I have had significant disagreements on a wide variety of policy issues. My request for the Mayor's resignation is not based on any of those differences. The severity of these allegations, and the legal and financial risk they pose to the City and the taxpayers, cannot be ignored or understated. Our City government cannot maintain the full faith and trust of the people of San Diego if Mayor Filner continues to serve in this office, Gloria said..

“Finally, as the Council President, I know how difficult it will be to accomplish the critical business of the City if the Mayor does not step down. We must quickly restore trust in San Diego and its leaders. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the City Council to lead San Diego through this difficult time.”

Late Friday afternoon, Filner's chief of staff Vince Hall resigned. He said he quit because of his lifelong support of women's rights.

Also late in the afternoon, the conservative Lincoln Club of San Diego released a statement.

"The Lincoln Club has no plans at this time to mount a recall of Mayor Filner,” said Lincoln Club president and CEO T.J. Zane. “His actions have been reprehensible, but the Club believes that the Mayor and his few remaining allies should spare San Diegans – and, in particular, the victims of his harassment – the trauma of a recall by resigning. Bob Filner has lost his moral authority to lead this city. Only his resignation will allow San Diegans to begin to repair the damage he has done."