Besieged San Diego mayor is absent

SAN DIEGO — City Hall opened as usual Monday but Mayor Bob Filner was nowhere to be found, still out of public view as he tries to survive a recall effort prompted by a cascade of sexual harassment allegations that led the entire City Council and many leading fellow Democrats to call for him to resign.

City Council President Todd Gloria said he did not know if Filner would make a public appearance on Monday, the day the mayor promised to return to work after receiving two weeks of therapy to address behavioral issues.

Filner is not obligated to show up but owes the people of San Diego an explanation of his whereabouts, Gloria said. The city’s daily operations have been running fine without Filner, he said, and should the mayor appear, it could make female employees uncomfortable.


‘‘Those of us who have called on the mayor to resign know he is not being effective at this time,’’ Gloria said. ‘‘The mayor’s presence is a distraction.’’

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The mayor has not made his schedule public. His spokeswoman Lena Lewis and lawyer James Payne did not respond to calls.

More than a dozen women, including a university dean and a retired Navy rear admiral, have gone public with sexual harassment accusations against Filner, 70. Some contend he cornered, groped, and forcibly kissed them.

The accusations have prompted an avalanche of calls for Filner to resign and a recall effort that started Sunday. Hooters restaurants in San Diego even posted signs saying he is not welcome.

Associated Press