Mark Lewis resigned as Mayor of El Cajon last week, citing cancer, a stroke, a dislocated shoulder, severe halitosis, acid reflux, diabetes, a nasty hangnail, and mild indigestion as his reasons for leaving office.
But he wants to make one thing clear: he's not resigning because of his recent comments regarding Chaldean immigrants. "Consider the facts," he says. "The Los Angeles Times reported in August that fewer than half of those Californians who are eligible for food stamps have signed up for them. NPR just ran a huge story on the struggle poor school districts face in trying to get the funds that are attached to school lunch programs. Sometimes, they literally have to bribe the kids to fill out the applications. It's not just that these kids are lazy or bad; in many cases, there are cultural hurdles involved. Another L.A. Times piece noted that many Hispanic families have a strong aversion to accepting handouts. There were wives who had to sneak out to the food bank, because their husbands would not tolerate such a public admission of need. So, when I said of our Chaldean immigrants, 'It doesn't take them too long to find out where the freebies are at,' I'm expressing admiration, plain and simple. It's hard to be an immigrant; there's a whole new system to learn, and these people are learning it. And that comment about the free-lunch kids getting picked up in Mercedes Benzes — well, it was just an observation of fact. Maybe their parents are running errands for their bosses, and just trying to be efficient. You know, like the Asians."