The Highland City Council appointed member Larry McCallon as mayor for 2020 with a 3-2 vote during its Dec. 10 session. Penny Lilburn was appointed mayor pro tem.
Councilman Jesse Chavez was the first person to make a nomination by nominating himself for mayor saying, “that 51 percent of our residents are Latino, the median age is 34,” and that “20 percent [of the population] lives in poverty.” Chavez went on to ask the council for their “honest, ethical vote,” for him to be mayor of the city.
Councilman John Timmer then nominated McCallon who served as mayor pro tem in 2019.
With the nominations closed, the council then voted 3-2 in favor of McCallon. McCallon, Timmer and past-Mayor Penny Lilburn voted for McCallon. Chavez and Councilwoman Anaeli Solano were the two dissenting votes.
Right after the nameplates were changed fireworks ensued between Mayor Pro Tem Penny Lilburn and Councilman Jesse Chavez. Chavez made an accusation that the city council “violated the Brown Act.” He then stated, “The city of Highland violates the Civil Rights Act over and over again, this is just another example and I am very disappointed.”
He also expressed his disappointment in Lilburn who then responded saying “Jesse, I want you to know, when you came to me I told you I spoke to Larry McCallon on this issue.”
Chavez interjected, “You did not.”
Lilburn then countered, “I did.”
“I’m sorry but you did not,” Chavez raised his voice. “You told me the day of the picnic.”
Lilburn then said, “Jesse, you asked me to come have breakfast with you so you can patch things up with me and at the last minute you asked me if I would support you to be mayor because you wanted to [potentially] be the youngest mayor in [California] history.”
Highland Community News attempted to contact Councilman Chavez regarding the basis of his allegations but did not hear back from him before the print deadline of this issue.