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El Cajon To Consider How To Fill Vacant Mayor’s Seat

EL CAJON — The El Cajon City Council is scheduled to consider Tuesday how to fill its vacant mayor's position.

Longtime Mayor Mark Lewis resigned last month following published statements that were considered offensive by the East County city's substantial Chaldean population.

Lewis, the mayor since 1998, cited health reasons in stepping down Oct. 24. Lewis had a minor stroke in 2010 and has suffered from cancer and a dislocated shoulder. Councilman Bill Wells has been serving as interim mayor since then.

The council could appoint someone to serve as mayor to serve out the final year of Lewis' term or hold a special election.

Council members were criticized for quickly appointing planning commissioner Tony Ambrose to replace Jillian Hanson-Cox, who resigned in March 2012 and later pleaded guilty to two felony charges of embezzling $3.5 million from her employer.

However, a special election would be expensive and would result in the winner being in office for less than a year before having to run for re-election.

Lewis was quoted in The Progressive magazine in May as saying that some Chaldean schoolchildren who receive free lunches are "being picked up by Mercedes-Benzes.'' It also quoted the mayor as saying, "First time (the Chaldeans) come over here, it doesn't take them too long to learn where all the freebies are at.''

He later said in broadcast interviews that his infirmities have made it difficult to speak and use words correctly, but he stood behind his comments.

An estimated 50,000 Chaldeans -- Iraqi Catholics -- live in San Diego County and of those, 10,000 to 15,000 are El Cajon residents.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Concerned_Taxpayer'

Concerned_Taxpayer | November 12, 2013 at 8:54 a.m. ― 10 months, 1 week ago

It's a shame that the United States 1st amendment freedoms regarding free speech, is trumped now, by political correctness. This is wrong, plain & simple.

What's a matter with some good old fashioned Finger Pointing & speaking your mind ?

El Cajon does not need anymore refugees-period !

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | November 12, 2013 at 9:17 a.m. ― 10 months, 1 week ago

I'm going to exercise my 1st Amendment right and say El Cajon is lucky to have refugees. Wanting a whites-only society is wrong, plain and simple.You're right about one thing: Nuthin' wrong with some good ol' fashioned finger pointin'.

( | suggest removal )