Lancaster Vice Mayor's "Joke" Becomes Lesson in Understanding

September 6, 2006

Source: Antelope Valley Press

On September 6, 2006 Antelope Valley Press reported, "Lancaster's Vice Mayor Ed Sileo took a tour of Palmdale's mosque Tuesday - asking questions, listening intently and learning what it is to be forgiven. The invitation was extended from Chaplain Abdul-Wahab Omeira and Kamal M. Al-Khatib to create dialogue and understanding with the recently re-elected councilman who was elevated to the council's second-highest post. A little over a week ago Sileo typed into his BlackBerry personal data device, 'Maybe my friends Muhammed, Omar and Khalid will volunteer' in response to a recruitment e-mail for emergency services that would train people to respond to an event like a bio-terror attack. It was a joke that went badly wrong. Instead of erasing the statement as he said he intended to do, Sileo pressed 'send to all,' passing the message on to a range of fellow community leaders, including staff for Los Angeles 5th District County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, leadership of the area United Way and Darren Parker, who heads up the county-directed Antelope Valley Human Relations Task Force. 'I haven't made a mistake like that in decades, and it reminds me of how easy it is to fall back into old habits,' Sileo said. 'This is a lesson I won't easily forget.'"