Mark Lewis, the mayor of El Cajon, California, announced his resignation this week following the publication of audio recorded by The Progressive contributor Arun Gupta.

Quotes from Gupta's interview with Lewis were featured in the May 2013 edition of The Progressive, revealing the mayor's negative attitudes to the town's growing community of Iraqi immigrants.

The remarks became a matter of public discussion in El Cajon after The Progressive's printed story went online this week. Gupta then provided the full-length Progressive interview with Lewis to The Raw Story, triggering a firestorm of local controversy.

In the audio, Lewis also slanders "black Africans" and the town's Latino community, suggests Latinos do not respect women and insists that Iraqi immigrants are moving in to take over the drug trade.

"When I sat down with now ex-Mayor Mark Lewis of El Cajon last spring, I was hoping to get insight into the plight of the estimated 10,000 Iraqi refugees, mainly Chaldean Catholics, who have settled there since 2008," Gupta told The Progressive. "It was insightful that the man who represents the city of 100,000 on the outskirts of San Diego was comfortable saying during a taped 68-minute interview that Chaldeans make their money selling drugs, which has 'intimated' the Mexican community, who traditionally control the drug, along with African-Americans."

"The entire interview is filled with Lewis disparaging everyone under the sun, particularly Iraqi immigrants," he added. "But the real scandal is not his remarks. It's the fact that thousands of people, who've fled their homeland as a result of the U.S. war, arrive here suffering trauma and with few resources, only to wind up in El Cajon where the economy is depressed, the culture alien, and local officials hostile to their pressing needs. Mark Lewis was thrown under the bus for remarks that are by definition racist, but El Cajon will not be able to move on until it squarely addresses the deep-seated prejudices that result in whole communities living on the edge of poverty."

El Cajon mayor resigns after accusations of racism (via, San Diego, California)

Disclosure: Stephen C. Webster is the former senior editor of The Raw Story.


Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.


Forty years ago the UN General Assembly passed a resolution against "hostile environmental modification techniques...

The beauty and the tragedy of everyday life in a war zone.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project