By Nadin Abbott
July 24, 2013 (San Diego)— Tara Jones, President and founder of the National Women’s Veterans Association of America (NWVAA) today announced that the group has rescinded its invitation to Mayor Bob Filner as keynote speaker at its August 30 gala in San Diego. The Mayor, who now faces accusations of sexual harassment, ironically was slated to address issues of military sexual assault, sexual harassment and violence against women.
“The Mayor speaking at our event interferes with the moral compass of my organization,” said Tara Jones, President and founder of (NWVAA) at a press conference today at the Civic Center downtown where a pair of counter-protesters showed up in support of Filner. Jones said that NWVAA has heard from thousands of people at the national level about “the public embarrassment that San Diego County is currently receiving.”
This issue “has been very shocking to so many…As a survivor of suicide ideation and military sexual assault, recent events lead me to make this decision,” said Jones, who added that her board joined in making the decision.
The organization serves women veterans and women still in the armed services. A large percentage of women veterans have been victims sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Jones added that this was not an easy decision to make, since Mayor Filner supports veterans and was very active in veterans’ issues during his years in Congress.
She listed the factors which led to the decision. The first was that the Mayor was in a committed relationship with his fiancée, Bronwyn Ingram. Second was the sexual harassment lawsuit filed Monday by Gloria Allred on behalf of Irene McCormack-Jackson. Third was the Mayor’s video where he said he needed help.
Until the lawsuit was filed, the organization was still planning to have the mayor as a keynote speaker, though they were no longer going to give him a life time achievement award.
The Gala will be held at the U.S. Grant hotel, on August 30th and 31st; tickets are $100 per day. The organization expects to have entertainment from musical groups including the Temptations. Proceeds support services to servicewomen, women veterans and their families. http://www.nationalwomenveterans.us/
Before the press conference started ECM talked with Anita Vucinic-Turner and Charles Frederick Bundy. Both turned out in support of Mayor Filner.
Bundy suspects Republicans of being behind the scandal to drive out the first Democratic mayor in decades. Filner “won the election fair and square,” he said. Bundy offered no evidence to support his theory.
According to Vucinic-Turner, Jackson “has to prove her case...it doesn’t matter what you accuse anybody of, you have to prove your point--and until then we have a Constitutional right to process.”
Two more women come forward
Laura Fink told KPBS of an incident that she claims occurred in 2005, when she was deputy campaign manager for Filner’s Congressional campaign. She added that she plans to file a complaint with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, which has set up a hotline for such complaints.
Fink claims that at a fundraising event, when another guest told Filner that he should thank Fink for “working her ass off,” the Congressman patted her posterior and remarked, “No, see, it’s still there.” She complained in an email at the time and Filner apologized. Fink said she did not go public earlier because the Congressman had a name for destroying his political enemies.
KPBS also reported today that a third woman has alleged inappropriate advances by Filner when he was in Congress.
Morgan Rose, a psychologist in the San Diego Unified School District, claims that then Congressman pinned her down and repeatedly tried to kiss her at a booth in a restaurant. It was a meeting arranged by Filner’s staffer, to support her organization, America’s Angel’s Campaign.
Like Fink, Rose said she would contact the Sherriff’s Department to file a complaint. The Sheriff’s office has acknowledged receiving calls but has not disclosed how many or whether the calls are considered credible complaints.