updated 2/27/2009 8:05:01 PM ET 2009-02-28T01:05:01

The mayor of a small Southern California city who was criticized for sending an e-mail showing watermelons in front of the White House says he will give up the mayoral post but remain on the City Council.

Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose heard calls for his resignation this week when he forwarded an e-mail showing a watermelon patch on the White House lawn under the title: "No Easter egg hunt this year."

Grose has apologized and said he wasn't aware of the racial stereotype that blacks like watermelon.

Officials in the Orange County town say Grose will officially resign as mayor on Monday. But Grose told KCAL-TV on Friday that he intends to remain on the City Council.

The mayor is a council member chosen to serve in that position by fellow members of the five-seat council.

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