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02-25-09, 07:10 PM #1
Mayor is criticized for White House watermelon patch e-mail
LOS ALAMITOS - The mayor has sent an apology for an e-mail sent to a local businesswoman and community volunteer that she says is racist and offensive.
Keyanus Price, an African American, said she was appalled when she received an e-mail from Mayor Dean Grose's personal account that showed a picture of the White House with a watermelon patch imposed as the White House garden.
"I was horrified when I read that e-mail," Price said. "What I'm concerned about is how can this person send an e-mail out like this and think it is OK?"
Being a public official, Price said, made the matter worse.
"He's putting the city into a bad place, and he is a liability," Price wrote in an e-mail.
Grose sent an e-mail apology to Price, her boss and the City Council saying he did not intend to be offensive. He also called and left Price a message, he said.
"It was just poor judgment on my part, and I am deeply sorry," he said. "It wasn't meant to hurt her."
The council received the e-mail from Price's boss and also received a copy of the apology. Councilman Ken Stephens said he didn't receive the original e-mail.
"Being totally out of the loop on this one, I think I would be speaking out of turn if I said anything about it," he said. "I would think that anything like that at all would be inappropriate but, again, I haven't seen the e-mail." Calls to the other three Los Alamitos council members were not returned.
Price said she wanted a public apology for the e-mail and today contacted The Orange County Register to share the brief exchange that took place on Sunday.
Grose's e-mail included the picture with a heading that read, "No Easter Egg hunt this year."
"I think he's saying that since there's a black president, there will be no need to hunt for eggs since they're growing watermelons in the front yard this year," Price wrote.
She responded to the e-mail with: "Hey, that's not nice at all. Not all black people like watermelon… you should know better than that."
Grose replied: "The way things are today, you gotta laugh every now and then. I wanna see the coloring contests."
Price said Grose's response upset her more.
"As soon as I saw his response; that put me over the top because it was no big deal to him," she said.
Price and Grose have worked together in the past – they both sit on the board of the Youth Center, and she often works with city officials in the community representing her employer. The two have exchanged e-mails in the past.
The e-mail was sent to at least one other person, but the mayor said he isn't sure how many people received it. He said there is a "small group" of people he sometimes forward e-mails to.
In his apology to Price via e-mail, Grose wrote that he was not representing himself as a public official.
"It was not sent to a whole bunch of people, and it went through my personal e-mail," he said. "People e-mail things all the time, but that's not an excuse."
Peter Eliasberg of the ACLU said that while the mayor wasn't acting as a city official at the time, it doesn't mean that it was OK to send.
"Even though as much as we may always think they're always public officials, they're not always public officials; it's kind of going out as a private citizen," Eliasberg said. "That doesn't mean that she doesn't have every right to demand a public apology. It seems like it was pretty offensive."
02-25-09, 08:28 PM #2
Several people sent me that same email. You can bet if I was a public official, I wouldn't be sending it around, especially to anyone who might be offended. I have no sympathy for the idiot.When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)
"A burning desire for social justice is never a substitute for knowing what you're talking about". -Thomas Sowell-
02-26-09, 01:31 AM #3Grose sent an e-mail apology to Price, her boss and the City Council saying he did not intend to be offensive.
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
02-26-09, 01:39 AM #4
Racist jackass.SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM-Ex-Sheriff Martin Howe to Will Kane in "High Noon"
"It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
Far from being a handicap to command, compassion is the measure of it. For unless one values the lives of his soldiers and is tormented by their ordeals , he is unfit to command.
-General Omar Bradley, United States Army
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