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Los Alamitos mayor to resign over controversy [UPDATED]

UPDATED 12:43 p.m.

The mayor of Los Alamitos said he will resign after coming under fire for an e-mail depicting the White House lawn as a watermelon patch, saying the controversy over racism has made it difficult to lead the city.

Mayor Dean Grose issued a statement Thursday saying he is sorry and will step down as mayor at Monday's City Council meeting.

The announcement came less than a week after he sent the e-mail, which had a picture of the White House lawn planted with watermelons and the title "No Easter egg hunt this year."

The e-mail garnered national media scrutiny after it was first reported by the Orange County Register on Tuesday night.

Police have stepped up patrols around Grose's home and business after he found a smashed watermelon Wednesday morning on the sidewalk and door outside his business, EMS Medical Products.

"This is to hopefully deter anyone else from trying to commit the same prank on him," Los Alamitos police Capt. Bruce McAlpine said. "We don't have any suspects on who may have thrown this watermelon, and we're really not investigating."

Local businesswoman and city volunteer Keyanus Price, who is black, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that she was offended by the e-mail she received from the mayor's personal account Sunday.

"I have had plenty of my share of chicken and watermelon and all those kinds of jokes," Price said. "I honestly don't even understand where he was coming from, sending this to me. As a black person receiving something like this from the city freakin' mayor -- come on."

Grose did not immediately return phone calls today, but he told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he didn't mean to offend Price and was unaware of the racial stereotype that black people like watermelons.

In a written statement Thursday, Grose apologized and said he would step down as mayor, saying the incident has "impacted my ability to provide leadership and team-building efforts."

"We had exchanged e-mail jokes in the past, and it was never my intention to cause any discomfort or embarrassment for Ms. Price. I am truly sorry," Grose wrote. "This was clearly my mistake, which I accept was in poor taste and I regret that it has created this cloud."

Grose has served on the City Council since 2006 and in December became mayor of the predominately white Orange County town of about 12,000, just east of Long Beach. Los Angeles civil rights leaders today applauded Grose's resignation.

“Grose did the right and honorable thing by resigning,” Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson said in a written statement. “His resignation serves as a cautionary warning to other public officials that racial sensitivity must be their watchword in governance.”

-- Tony Barboza

 
Comments () | Archives (34)

Commendable.

And the right thing to do.

What a classless, pathetic, and tasteless individual.

way to over board....how about a public apology and some serious diversity training...unofrtunatley ignorance needs to be corrected so it does not happen again?

It is nice seeing the major admitting he erred and is stepping down. Also commend Nita McKay for issuing such a heartfelt statement. Other politicians must learn from this incident and do the right thing when they act so irresponsible.

Mr. Ron Burris, are you listening? You, too, have erred big time by being very untruthful in order to get the senate seat. Do the "right thing" and resign. All you are doing is bringing shame to Illinois and to the United States Senate. Get over your ambitions"at any cost" and resign!!

The guy was an idiot. The guy has apologized and resigned.

Seems to me his case is closed and we may now turn our attention to other idiots who haven't yet stepped up to own up and pay for their own idiocies...

There's no shortage.

Lighten up

It would be ashame to let this major resign over an email. He has apologized. Get past it and move on. If he is doing a good job with the community let him continue to do so.

GOOD FOR YOU Los Alimitos!

Californians respect and admire you for your swift and sincere actions.

Bravo!

I commend him for admitting to his mistake but we have to take responsibility for our actions. Although he apologized there are consequences he must face. If he only received an slap on the wrist where is the lesson learned?

He's not resigning from the city council, just stepping down from the position of mayor. He is too arrogant and self-centered to do the right thing. He has a history of sending racist and bigotted emails. He needs to go!

Kudos to Nita McKay for her statement. Too bad her mayor didn't have as much class. No one his age--or with a hairstyle that dated--is at all ignorant to the stereotypical link between Blacks and watermelon. His feigned obliviousness fell on deaf ears and it's heartening to see that good Americans rose up against this kind of sick racism.

He didn't know that Watermelon thing was racist?

Then what was the point of the email and the "joke"

He is an idiot, and liar...

if he doesn't resign his city council post, he isn't giving up a job, either. (the mayor job rotates)

Not only is he an idiot - shouldn't his time as Mayor be spent doing more useful things. Makes you wonder what our politicians in Washington are doing making $130K/year? Sending jokes on the internet on the taxpayers dime?

Republican mayor? You left that out...

I just wonder how many crosses this mayer burned in his life time. And also wonder how many pictures of Adolf Hitler he has hanging in his house.

For those who think an apology is enough-it ISN'T...it shows no learning curve whatsoever unless actual change of attitude is actively sought.also.....just an apology is a cop-out...and this city deserves better than this racist moron.

He should resign. Anyone who thinks that doing something so stupid as sending out that offensive email, should not be in office. What an arrogant moron who has tainted his community. An apology is good enough for some people? I bet if it was YOUR race or YOUR religion he was insulting, that apology wouldn't be good enough!

I find it interesting that though the south is known for racism, Racism can be found anywhere even in Los Alamitos. As a leader in the community you set the tone with all the departments that fall under your jurisdiction and influence. The core of corruption such as racial profiling among others things found in Police stations and the like (servers of the public) against minorities stem from a Mayor, a Governor, a President and public officials who themselves are prejudice. Until we get beyond our own feelings, thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors around this issue we are going to find a lot more articles like this one. On the other hand. This may be a good thing, a place to start an honest dialogue.

I find it interesting that though the south is known for racism, Racism can be found anywhere even in Los Alamitos. As a leader in the community you set the tone with all the departments that fall under your jurisdiction and influence. The core of corruption such as racial profiling among others things found in Police stations and the like (servers of the public) against minorities stem from a Mayor, a Governor, a President and public officials who themselves are prejudice. Until we get beyond our own feelings, thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors around this issue we are going to find a lot more articles like this one. On the other hand. This may be a good thing, a place to start an honest dialogue.

I now see why California has become such a horrible place to live. It is full of hypersensitive idiots like those who responded above. Who cares about a simple little picture? It's a picture. When I hear people whine about being "offended", I laugh. Get the heck over it. If this had been a Latino or black mayor who sent something offensive, nothing would be said because there is a double standard. An apology may be warranted, but losing his job is ridiculous and excessive.

If you Left Coast Morons would spend more time working, involved in productive activities and electing competent people to the California legislature, you might not have a $42 BILLION deficit, a growing underclass and be hemorrhaging jobs to neighboring states. California was great until the 1980s, but has rapidly become a cesspool.

That email is old news, it has been sent out and forwarded by millions of people. I got it several months ago.......

Pam:

What do you mean an apology isnt good enough? The guy is obviously an idiot and he's resigning which is the right thing. Other politicians have done much worse and held onto their office with a death grip. What more would you want the guy to do? If he came on TV and cried for your forgivness would you really believe the sincerity of it anyway? Probably not. He's outta here and will most definitely not hold another public office so lets settle down with the "an apology isnt good enough" Sharpton like outrage.

Can someone please explain why the watermelon thing is a joke/offensive? I don't get his joke or why it's offensive. Just curious.

only a Texan and a Georgian would fail to see the problem here

This is not an issue of hypersensitivity, as Steve has poignantly described. A person with any knowledge of this country's history can acknowledge and be sensitive about the connotation of a watermelon patch with an African American. Public officials, who are elected to represent the people and the law of the people, are especially accountable for recognizing this. The truth of the matter is that part of the reason California is in such a deficit is because many of our public officials are so focused on irrelevant issues, like in some cases sending ridiculous and hateful emails, that they do not focus on the betterment of our economy.

Los Alamitos should win wide acclaim for their prompt response to this unfortunate display of bigotry.

 
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