Local addiction stories often pique our interest because they bring this issue home and show people just how close problems like the opioid crisis truly are. Case in point: the abrupt resignation of West Covina Mayor Mike Spence, who saw a promising political career ruined by a dark dependency.
Spence actually made national headlines this month, after opening up about his drug battles and the stigma that many addicts receive. Speaking in front of the city council and several congregants, he officially stepped down from his position and had harsh words for those who publicly shamed him.
“First of all, I want to apologize for the distraction that my personal feelings have had on the city,” Spence told the crowd. “At this point, I want to announce I’m resigning as mayor of West Covina But before I do, I want to call out that there are people in this community that are mean and bigoted towards people that have addiction.”
Spence then became emotional and received a round of jeers for his behavior on the stage. Many actually applauded when he announced he was resigning and openly criticized him for being high on the job.
Part of the reason that Spence made the choice to step down had to do with an overdose incident that occurred in a local hotel room on May 4. 911 calls claimed he nearly died after using heroin. This followed a string of negative publicity, including a DUI crash back in 2016.
Many were upset with Spence’s behavior, primarily because of his consistent denials. Following the May overdose, he refused to acknowledge any drug use until his speech last week. Though it is admirable that he is speaking out about recovery now, some felt it was too little, too late.
“He really disappointed not only the City Council but the residents of West Covina,” City Councilman Tony Wu said regarding Spence’s consistent denials. “I hope he gets more help and I hope his family still supports him in getting through this problem.”
Even worse, Spence was regarded as a strong politician before his addictive behavior began taking center stage. Now the city of West Covina is without a mayor and a reputation is tarnished. The lesson may ultimately be to seek treatment immediately after noticing addiction signals. Not only will it salvage your health and well-being, it will improve your livelihood as well.
You can watch Mike Spence’s full resignation speech by clicking below…