The time has come for you to resign as mayor of San Diego.
I am in a unique position to give you this advice because, as you know, the time to resign came for me.
You have lost something that cannot be regained. You have lost the bond of trust that must exist between at least a majority of San Diego city voters and the mayor.
I lost that trust and I resigned.
Back in 1984, under indictment for campaign contribution violations, city voters re-elected me as their mayor. But once the jury found me guilty in the subsequent trial, the trust was broken. You could feel it.
I could have held out for due process and held out for the California Supreme Court ruling that jury tampering by the bailiff invalidated that jury verdict against me but the city would have suffered many months of paralysis.
I had to make a call to resign in the best interests of the city. Bob, you must make that same call now.
Without the trust of the voters, the tsunami of victimized women and the unanswered questions of extortion of builders and misuse of public funds cripple your ability to function as mayor.
Who can now look at you in the course of daily city business and not see the faces of those women who have publicly acknowledged the shame they endured, their embarrassment at their own reluctance to come forward when these outrages happened.
It's a shock to see powerful longtime female business leaders, or a former Navy Admiral, or a dean at SDSU, or your own press secretary looking suddenly vulnerable as they recount the dominating, demanding, sleazy groping they endured.
Bob, every day that you stay in office insults the service of the women veterans who were victims of rape in the service, sought help from you, and then became victims of your unwanted advances.
Who could not share the pain that Peggy Shannon so keenly felt at your gross advances and the threat in your shushing gesture telling her to keep quiet about the shame she felt at your hands.
That your behavior is much more about power than sex is beyond doubt. Your behavior is a relentless pattern of reckless, arrogant abuse of power.
Can one or two weeks of "therapy" make you "a better person"? I hope so, but, as Senator Barbara Boxer has said, that is a worthy goal best pursued after resignation on your private time.
After a political career supposedly as a champion of the rights of women, every day you stay in office tells every female city employee that the worksite safeguards against sexual harassment are a joke.
Every day that you stay in office is also an insult to the rule of law.
Where did you learn to put an illegal "administrative hold" on an apartment under construction with an approved building permit? Where did you learn to require more concessions from the builder to remove the illegal "hold"?
Where did you learn to require a $100,000 payment from a developer for an easement that had already been granted by the lawful action of the City Council and then turn around and give the money to two groups you favored?
Where did you learn to use the city credit card as your personal piggy bank, ignoring all pleas to document your expenditures as all other city employees are required to do?
The recall petition drive is under way. Months of turmoil and gridlock lie before us.
The city attorney has readied another avenue for the City Council to seek a court order removing you for fraud under Section 108 of the city charter. More months of legal wrangling if this avenue is pursued.
The county grand jury, the state Attorney General, the FBI and the San Diego County Sheriff's office are all conducting criminal investigations. More months of national headlines and sneering late-night comedians.
I know how difficult it is to resign and walk away leaving behind years of hard work and shattering the aspirations of so many San Diegans for the goals you championed.
But it is precisely because those goals cannot now be reached, because your appalling actions have made it impossible to "move the city forward," that you must resign, save the city from months of agony, and leave it to the voters to select another mayor as soon as possible.
Bob, do the right thing now for yourself and the city. Resign.
— Roger Hedgecock
Hedgecock hosts a news talk program at 11 a.m. weekdays on U-TTV, with live streaming online at UTSanDiego.com.
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