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Recall movement on Mayor Filner will begin fundraising

August 01, 2013|By Tony Perry
  • In the wake of accusations of sexual harassment, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will begin two weeks of therapy on Monday.
In the wake of accusations of sexual harassment, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner… (Gregory Bull / AP )

One of the recall movements to oust San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will begin fundraising in hopes of hiring enough signature-gatherers to force an election, recall leaders announced Thursday.

Also on Thursday, the city's Business Leadership Alliance, a group of chambers of commerce officials, business owners, and officials from economic development agencies, voted to call for the 70-year-old Democrat to resign.

Earlier, former Mayor Jerry Sanders, now president of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, said Filner should leave office because he is hurting business and embarassing San Diego. Sanders said that if a recall movement gets underway, it will enjoy widespread support from the business community and others.

"It will be a total effort," Sanders said.

Initially, recall leaders had suggested that the recall would be strictly a voluntary effort. But political professionals had suggested that idea is unrealistic, given the difficulty of gathering enough signatures in a short time frame.

So Mike Pallamary, a land-use consultant and longtime opponent of Filner, announced on a website Thursday that the effort needs donations.

Paid signature-gatherings will supplement volunteers, he indicated. The website suggests that at least $500,000 will be needed, maybe more.

Under city law, about 101,000 signatures of registered voters will be needed to force an election. To get that many, about 140,000 will be needed, the website said, since many signatures turn out to be from people who are not registered to vote or are registered outside the city.

Paid signature-gatherers can charge between $2.50 and $5.00 per legitimate signature, the website notes.

Pallamary's group is one of two groups interested in a recall. Stampp Corbin, publisher of an LGBT newspaper, has also indicated that he wants a recall election although some have suggested that Corbin, a Filner supporter, is trying to thwart Pallamary's group.

Pallamary and Corbin have indicated that they will have a joint news conference Friday, possibly to announce that they are joining forces. Pallamary was a leader in a successful recall movement in 1991 that ousted a City Council member.

One of the legal complexities of recall has been whether two groups can be seeking to force a recall election.

In an opinion issued Thursday, City Atty. Jan Goldsmith said that nothing prohibits two groups from gathering signatures independently. But if one group qualifies to force an election, that means the other is no longer in the running.

Another complexity involves a court decision that overturned a section of state recall law. A similar section exists in city law, but City Council members will soon be asked to eliminate that section.

Filner has refused demands that he resign amid accusations of sexual harassment. Eight women have accused him of sexual misconduct; one has filed a lawsuit against city and Filner.

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tony.perry@latimes.com

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