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El Cajon Mayor Apologizes For Remarks About Chaldean Community

The mayor of El Cajon on Thursday issued an apology for recent comments he made in The Progessive magazine regarding the Chaldean community.


Mark Lewis, mayor of El Cajon

Mayor Mark Lewis' apology came two days after a group of Chaldeans and El Cajon residents rallied during a city council meeting and expressed outrage over the mayor's remarks.

In the article, Lewis was quoted as saying: Some Chaldean schoolchildren who receive free lunches are “being picked up by Mercedes Benzes. First time, they come over here, it doesn’t take them too long to learn where all the freebies are at.”

Lewis released the following statement:

Several citizens expressed concerns at our most recent City Council meeting about remarks I made a number of months ago during an interview, believing that my remarks could be construed as being anti-Chaldean in nature or were in some manner insensitive to certain members of our community. I believe my remarks have been taken out of context. I want to be clear that it was never my intention to cast aspersions upon either our Chaldean community or any other minority community in EI Cajon. I was simply expressing my opinion that I believe that the limited social services made available to our residents in El Cajon should go to those most in need of them, including those within the Chaldean community.

If anyone within our community felt hurt by my comments, I apologize. Again, it was not my intention to harm anyone with my remarks. As Mayor of this great City, I am extraordinarily proud of all of our citizens and especially those within the Chaldean and other immigrant communities who have made the brave choice to leave the difficult circumstances within their homeland and come to America. They represent an important and respected part of the EI Cajon community and we will continue to welcome them as we alwavs have.

Protesters at Tuesday's council meeting also claimed minorities are excluded from city politics and that El Cajon council members, four Caucasian males, are also guilty of racism because of their inaction.

El Cajon is one of the most diverse communities in the county with nearly 50 percent of its population made up of minorities, including 10,000 newly arrived Chaldean refugees from Iraq.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | October 24, 2013 at 4:29 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Never apologize for stating the truth.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | October 24, 2013 at 5:07 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

That's the mayor?


Does he spend most of his day trying to foil those damn Duke Boys?

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | October 24, 2013 at 11:07 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Stinks you can't speak your mind anymore without the sensitivity police out to bust you up.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | October 25, 2013 at 6:08 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago


No, he spends most of his days looking under rocks for scapegoats instead of producing actual policies which would make issues such as school lunches trivial. Maybe he's just another hypocritical bigot who speaks "truth" except for the lies he tells himself.

"If anyone within our community felt hurt by my comments, I apologize."
Some of you can't tell the difference between a fake apology and a sincere one. What's up with the Fonzie approach of never being able to say "sorry." Oh, I forgot. You don't want to show weakness to your enemies. Never retreat!

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Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | October 25, 2013 at 9:29 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

The El Cajon mayor issues aside. Why are they sending Iraqi refugees to one of the least affordable cities in the United States?

It would be better for them to go to Phoenix, AZ, where I used to live. The climate is more like Iraq's (hot summers, mild winters), the cost of living is about 50% less than San Diego (cheaper rents, cheaper houses, cheaper gasoline). Food is about the same, but taxes are a little higher. But income taxes are lower.

And last I checked, unemployment was lower in Phoenix than in San Diego.

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