El Cajon mayor takes heat for alleged racial comments

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EL CAJON, Calif. — Protesters leveled charges of racism at the mayor and council members during an explosive El Cajon City Council meeting Tuesday.

”They’re isn’t a community out there – whether it be Chaldean, African-American, Latino, Asian, LGBT, women – that haven’t been oppressed by the culture of the City Council of El Cajon,” said Mark Arabo with the Neighborhood Market Association.

Arabo el cajon mayorand other protesters said they want an apology from Mayor Mark Lewis.

They pointed to a recent online article for The Progressive quoting Lewis about local Chaldean school children who get free lunches “being picked up by Mercedes-Benz … it doesn’t take them too long to learn where all the freebies are” and that its causing “white flight” in the city.

Vickie Butcher said the mayor made a stunning statement to her when she ran for a vacant council seat.

“The statement was made that five white men could represent the city just as well as anyone else,” said Butcher.  Lewis denied making the statement.

Councilman Gary Kendrick said he believes the cries of discrimination stem from Arabo’s failed effort to stop a new city ordinance to prevent stores from selling alcohol to children and the homeless.

“Mr. Arabo said he would remove us from office.  He’d either do a recall or he would do district elections.  Mr. Arabo lost on this, and now he’s trying to change the council,” said Kendrick.

Arabo said the protest had nothing to do with the ordinance and everything to do with a lack of minorities on the council.

”We will do everything in our power to get representation, to get minorities on the council – get our voices heard,” said Arabo.

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