El Cajon

INTERNATIONAL PRESS REPORTS ON EL CAJON ARRESTS FOR FEEDIING HOMELESS IN PARK; ACTIVISTS THREATEN LAWSUIT AS CITY STANDS BY ITS BAN

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 16, 2018 (El Cajon) – The arrests of a dozen activists at Wells Park in El  Cajon for defying the city’s ban on feeding homeless people on public property over Martin Luther King Jr. birthday weekend has made news around the world.  Headline stories have been reported in the BBC in England and Canada, Britain’s the Guardian newspaper,  MSN,  Huffington Post, and other national and international media.

A national petition on the Care2 site calling on El Cajon to end the ban has been signed by 37,000 people.

Yesterday the city has issued a statement standing behind its actions as appropriate to prevent spread of Hepatitis A during a countywide health emergency. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)has also issued a statement condemning the arrests as “unconstitutional and “cruel.” Activists arrested and their attorneys also held a press conference denouncing the ban and threatening legal action.

EL CAJON POLICE ARREST PEOPLE FOR FEEDING HOMELESS IN WELLS PARK ON MLK WEEKEND

 

By Paul Kruze and Miriam Raftery

Photo: Screenshot from video on James Elia’s Facebook page

 

January 14, 2018 (El Cajon)—Defying a city of El Cajon ban on feeding homeless people in public places,  dozen individuals including a 14-year-old minor were arrested and given misdemeanor citations by El Cajon Police today, then released.

The feeding was one of many held around the country this weekend to carry on the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who in a 1964 lecture to Nobel laureates voiced concerns about those who “have no houses or beds to sleep in.“ Rev. King added, “If we feel this as a profound moral fact, we cannot be content to see men hungry, to see men victimized with starvation and ill health, when we have the means to help them.”

El Cajon’s City Council voted to adopt a temporary ban on feeding the homeless in public places during the countywide hepatitis emergency declaration, since there have been many cases among the homeless in the outbreak, which county health officials believe originated in El Cajon.

THE NEW TAX LAW AND YOU: REP. SUSAN DAVIS TO HOLD INFORMATION FORUM ON JAN. 13 AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE

East County News Service

January 11, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Congresswoman Susan Davis will be hosting a tax information forum at Grossmont College on Saturday, January 13 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Grossmont College (8800 Grossmont College Drive, El Cajon) in the Griffin Gate Auditorium.

Congresswoman Davis will be bringing together experts to discuss the larger implications of the new tax law and how to navigate the changes.  The event is intended to provide information and answer questions.  Following brief remarks, speakers will be available for a Q&A session and resource tables with helpful information will be present throughout the event.

KALASHO’S COUNTERSUIT AGAINST ACCUSERS THROWN OUT BY SAN DIEGO JUDGE

 

By Paul Kruze

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

Read Judge Taylor’s full decision dismissing Kalasho’s cross complaint.

December 27, 2017 (San Diego)--San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor gave his early Christmas gift Friday to embattled El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho: a proverbial piece of coal.

The judge dismissed a countersuit filed by Kalasho against two beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop owner who are suing Kalasho on serious allegations of abusive behavior including sexual misconduct, fraud, defamation, and cyberharassment.

With Kalasho stoically standing next to his attorney, Judge Taylor found that the countersuit filed by Kalasho, a public figure, met the definition of a SLAPP suit meant to intimidate individuals’ constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. SLAPP suits are illegal under California law. The judge affirmed that the plaintiffs have a right to redress their grievances against Kalasho in a court of law and to speak about their grievances in the media. “Lawsuits are public proceedings,” Taylor admonished Kalasho’s attorney, Stephen J. Liosi.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2017 (El Cajon)—El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells was our guest for an in-depth interview on our radio show last week.  You can hear the full interview, originally aired on KNSJ, by clicking on the “audio” link.  Our topics included the performing arts center, a major new goal for helping the homeless, and economic revitalization in the community.

Mayor Wells shared details about the city’s exciting new partnership with Live Nation to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center.  The Mayor, who plays several musical instruments, recalled how music made a big difference in his own life.  “It was the first thing I was really good at,” he reflected, also sharing a humorous anecdote about how he talked his way into the school band as a youngster growing up.

Audio: 

ONLINE STING OPERATION LEADS TO 2 ARRESTS FOR ATTEMPTED SEXUAL ASSAULT ON A JUVENILE IN EL CAJON

 

East County News Service

December 23, 2017 (El Cajon) – “The internet has enabled endless positive opportunities for time saving applications, navigation and access to news and information that could never be possible without it.  But it also provides access for predators to monitor and interact with unsuspecting juvenile and adult victims,” says Lieutenant Rob Rainsweiler with the El Cajon Police Department. “In this case, an El Cajon Police Detective was able to locate these two suspects who were using the internet to arrange to have sex with what they believed was a 13 year old girl.  They arranged to meet her at a hotel in El Cajon where they were contacted and arrested. “

The suspects arrested are Amer Jamil Mansour, 60, and Salman Dawood Salman, 63. 

EL CAJON CITY APPROVES LANDMARK AGREEMENT WITH LIVE NATION TO REOPEN ECPAC

 

Landmark vote sets path to reopen theatre in 2019 for headline acts, though community groups’ use of theatre may be limited

By Paul Kruze

Photo, left: Arich Berghammer, Live Nation, addresses Council prior to historic vote

December 20, 2017 (El Cajon) -- After many community discussions, public meetings and  frustrations over the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) remaining closed for nearly the past decade, the El Cajon City Council last Tuesday unanimously approved a preliminary draft agreement for City Manager Doug Williford to ink worldwide concert producer Live Nation as the new manager of the theatre. (Councilman Ben Kalasho was absent, citing an emergency.)

Prior to the landmark vote which longtime councilmember Gary Kendrick has characterized as “the most important vote and the biggest thing to happen to El Cajon. Everybody wins.” He added that Live Nation “has the Midas touch. Every performing arts center they touch turns to gold.”

PLANE CRASH IN EL CAJON

 

 

 

Update December 19, 2017:  The plane had taken off from Gillespie Field when the pilot reported engine trouble. He was trying to return to the airport when the crash occurred. Two of the three men aboard were officers with the Huntington Beach Police Department. The two officers have been released from the hospital, according to the Orange County Register, but the third man remains hospitalized.

East County WIldfire & Emergency Service

Photos by John Sulser

December 17, 2017 (El Cajon) -- A single engine plane has crashed near Gillespie Way and Weld in El Cajon, close to Gillespie Field, El Cajon Police report.

Witnesses report a pilot, copilot and passenger escaped before the plane caught fire and have been transported to a hospital.

EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS PAINTS POSITIVE PICTURE IN STATE OF CITY ADDRESS

 

 

 

by Paul Kruze

Hear audio of Mayor Wells’ State of the City address

 

December 15, 2017 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells painted a positive picture of his city in his annual “State of the City” address at the City Council Chambers on Tuesday.

Wells began his address saying that for the past several years, the City of El Cajon has attempted to create a new atmosphere for its businsses, residents, and visitors. He said that in 2017 the city had made significant progress towards this goal. “New and exciting things are continuing to happen for El Cajon, and more is yet to come,” he stated. “The City of El Cajon is taking enormous strides to improve the quality of life liveability of the city for residents and businesses. The city is engaged in major economic development making our city more effiicient, increasing the safety of the community, and rebranding El Cajon as a family friendly place.”

GLORIA, HE IS BORN: CONCERT DEC. 10 AT LDS CHURCH IN EL CAJON

 

 

By Paul Kruze

December 9, 2017 (El Cajon) --  ““Gloria! He is Born!” A Musical Celebration Of the Birth of Jesus Christ” will be presented by the El Cajon Stake Choir of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at the El Cajon Stake Center located at 1270 So. Orange Avenue (off Chase Avenue) in El Cajon. There is no admission charge for the event.

 Under the direction of Marilyn White-Harris, the choir will perform a number of favorite Christmas carols along with several carols with audience participation.

WHY I VOTED FOR THE TEMPORARY BAN ON THE FREE DISTRIBUTION OF FOOD TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN PUBLIC SPACES

 

By Steve Goble, Councilmember in the City of El Cajon



November 21, 2017(El Cajon) -- Some voices, especially from outside the City of El Cajon, have mischaracterized the City’s temporary prohibition on feeding the public in public spaces.  I thought I’d address here why I voted for the temporary ordinance and attempt to clear up any misunderstandings which have been distributed on social media and spoken in public forums.

THE SHOWS WILL GO ON: EL CAJON POISED TO COMPLETE DEAL WITH LIVE NATION TO REOPEN ECPAC

 

By Paul Kruze

November 20, 2017 (El Cajon) – Since the East County Perform Arts Center shut down  in 2010, many East County residents have been frustrated with the slow pace of completing repairs and finding new management.

Finally, at last Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council hearing, residents heard the news they’ve long been waiting for. Mayor Bill Wells and City Manager Doug Williford announced that a preliminary five year management agreement for the theater has been reached with Live Nation, a Beverly Hills-based live-events company focused on producing worldwide concert and entertainment-show promotions.

Details of the final agreement are expected to be shared at the next meeting and approved by the City Council. The vote will mark the culmination of some one-and-a-half years of negotiation by Williford.

TWO WOMEN BRUTALLY STABBED IN EAST COUNTY; SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER FLEEING IN BLOODY CAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

November 7, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – A man suspected of savagely stabbing a female delivery driver, 35, this morning at a convenience store in La Mesa has been taken into custody.  Sheriff’s deputies are investigating whether he may be linked to another woman found stabbed this morning in El Cajon.

The chilling sequence of events began shortly after 3 a.m. when a Frito Lay delivery truck driver was stabbed repeatedly outside of the 7-Eleven store on Avocado Boulevard in unincorporated La Mesa.  She staggered into the store, where she collapsed after telling a clerk she’d been attacked, 10 News reports.

LEGAL FILINGS TIE KALASHO TO FAKE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS USED TO SMEAR TACO SHOP, OFFER DETAILS ON “FAKE” NUDE BEAUTY QUEEN PHOTOS

 

Kalasho claims he’s being framed by beauty queens and taco shop owner suing him;

Kalasho’s wife admitted visiting friend In Cerritos, when the allegedly fake nude beauty queen photos were posted online from her friend’s home

By Miriam Raftery

November 6, 2017 (El Cajon) – Today, plaintiffs suing El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho filed an anti-SLAPP motion asking that Kalasho’s countersuit against two beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop be dismissed as retaliatory and violating their First Amendment rights to speak to the press about their case.   

California’s anti-SLAPP statute prohibits public officials from filing what are known as SLAPP suits to retaliate against members of the public for exercising their free speech and right to petition the government for redress of grievances.  Kalasho’s countersuit took issue with plaintiffs talking to the media, specifically the Reader, about their case.

KALASHO THREATENS EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE—AND LOSES NONPROFIT STATUS OF HIS BEAUTY PAGEANT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 1, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Councilman Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho has escalated his war on media outlets that have published factual investigative reports on his business, political, legal and ethical controversies.

After first threatening litigation against the San Diego Union-Tribune and ridiculing its reporters, Kalasho has now threatened to sue East County Magazine (ECM), though he has not disputed the accuracy of any specific points in our reports. He has also made provably false, defamatory and malicious statements about our media outlet and reporters, as we have documented clearly in this article.

Ironically, amid his baseless efforts to smear our reputable nonprofit, his own nonprofit beauty pageant has had its nonprofit status revoked by the State of California, the Attorney General confirmed to ECM.

AUTHORITIES SEEK MAN WHO STRANGLED WOMAN ON TRAIL IN RURAL EL CAJON: $1,000 REWARD OFFERED



Source: San Diego Sheriff

October 21, 2017 (El Cajon) –A $1,000 reward is offered for information leading to arrest of a suspect who assaulted and strangled a  woman last night on a hillside trail east of Starlight Mobile Home park iat 351 East Bradley n unincorporated El Cajon. The victim reported that the suspect wrapped a cable-like rope around her neck, nearly causing her to lose consciousness.

Fortunately she was able to escape from the suspect’s hold; she last saw him running toward the hillside, says Sergeant Miguel Lopez.

Sheriff’s dispatch received a 911 call at 9:16 p.m. Friday night, October 20th reported the assault with a deadly weapon. The suspect was described as a black male, approximately six feet tall, in his mid-thirties wearing a blue plaid shirt and baggy jeans.

KALASHO DEFIES EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL RULE ON WIRELESS DEVICES; COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES CRACKDOWN ON MARIJUANA

Story, videos and photos by Paul Kruze

October 12, 2017 (El Cajon) – An outburst and verbal kerfuffle between El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and Councilman Ben Kalasho at the end of Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting almost overshadowed an earlier unified 5-0 decision to ban outdoor growing  of marijuana by individuals and increase penalties for illegal commercial marijuana dispensaries and commercial growing facilities within the city limits of El Cajon.

A TALE OF TWO OKTOBERFESTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 7, 2017 (El Cajon) – Crowds flocked to Oktoberfests in El Cajon and La Mesa for bratwurst, beer, and festivities. The two community events differed sharply, with the German-American club’s event at its headquarters in El Cajon focused on authentic offerings such as a German band and Bavarian pastries, while La Mesa added some international elements and carnival attractions.

PADRE JOHNSON DONATES “GLOBAL FAMILY” PORTRAITS TO HERITAGE OF THE AMERICAS MUSEUM: SPECIAL PRESENTATION AND RECEPTION OCT. 6

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2017 (Rancho San Diego) – Heritage of the Americas Museum invites the public to a special presentation and reception, “Padre Johnson and his Gift of the Global Human Family” on Friday, October 6 from 3 to 5 p.m. 

COUNCILMAN FACES NEW TURMOIL: ATTORNEY GENERAL PROBES CHARITY; WASTE MANAGEMENT WITHDRAWS CORPORATE SUPPORT OF KALASHO’S CHAMBER

 

By Paul Kruze

September 8, 2017 (El Cajon) – With hurricanes in the headlines this week, El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho finds himself in the eye of a storm—or several--yet again.  California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has sent Kalasho a letter of inquiry probing the Miss Middle East Beauty Pageant USA” run by Kalasho.

SARAH RAMIREZ RETIRES AS EL CAJON’S DIRECTOR OF RECREATION

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photos credited to Mary Ann Prall

August 27, 2017 (El Cajon) - Sarah Ramirez, Director of the El Cajon Recreation Department, retired earlier this month. She started with the department as an intern in 1980 and over her career, led efforts to transform recreational opportunities for residents and oversee major public events to “rebrand” El Cajon and revitalize downtown, according to a proclamation issued by the Mayor.

She was honored at this month’s El Cajon City Council Meeting, and as is her style, she shared credit with her staff and her family for what she called her “incredible journey.”

The new Director of Recreation in El Cajon is Frank Carson. According to his LinkedIn Profile, he has experience with 25 years in Parks & Recreation, with 20 years serving in a supervisory capacity, and is bilingual in English and Spanish. He worked as a Recreation Supervisor for the City of Chula Vista from 2003-2013 and as a Recreation Manager for the City of El Cajon since 2013.

The full text of the commendation for Ramirez and her speech is below:

TRUMP SHIFTS STANCE ON KKK AND NEO-NAZIS, HAS CANCELLED FUNDING TO COMBAT THEIR RECRUITING EFFORTS

 

 

Update August 17, 2017 -- President Trump has backed off his words from Monday  in an angry speech to reporters  yesteraday, where he claimed counterprotesters were "very violent" and that there were "good people" on both sides. His appeasement and excusing of those in a march with Nazi flags prominently displayed has appalled many, prompting resignation of numerous CEOs off his business advisory panel which Trump dissolved as more and more quit in protest over his racial views. Watch video on CNN.

By Miriam Raftery

Rally organizer tells HBO Vice reporter on video, "A lot more people are going to die."

August 15, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – President  Donald Trump on Monday issued a strong statement denouncing groups by name  that participated in the Charlottesville, Virginia gathering of radical racist hate organizations, at which a Nazi sympathizer plowed a vehicle into a crowd of protesters, killing a woman and injuring 19 others.

the president's announced came two days after the attack – and following a barrage of criticism including leaders in both parties who faulted Trump for not specifically denouncing white supremacism earlier.

"Racism is evil -- and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans," Trump said Monday."Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America," he added.  View the President’s full statement: http://www.10news.com/news/national/trump-expected-to-condemn-hate-group... .

SECOND PAGEANT CONTESTANT ALLEGES WRONGDOING, ACCUSES KALASHO OF OFFERING TO TRADE SEX FOR CROWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 4, 2017 (El Cajon) –The San Diego Reader reports that a second contestant in the 2016 Miss Middle East Pageant has filed a lawsuit against Ben Kalasho and the pageant that he runs.  Paris Kargar told the Reader that on the eve of the pageant, Kalasho, an El Cajon Councilman, pulled her aside and told her, “You stay here at the hotel tonight with me, and you win.”

EL CAJON POLICE SET UP FUND TO AID HOMELESS MOTHER OF SEVEN, WHO CAME TO AID OF UNCONSCIOUS OFFICER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 20, 2017 (El Cajon) – The El Cajon Police Officers Association has set up a Go fund me page (https://www.gofundme.com/ieshafund ) for Iesha Booker, a homeless mother of seven who came to the aid of Officer Sioson after he was knocked unconscious by a suspect who continued to assault him, causing serious injuries.

The 34-year-old MTS bus driver, was at the KFC in El Cajon when the assault occurred.  “When everyone else at the KFC stood around shocked, Lesha quickly stepped in, using Officer Sioson’s police radio to transmit `Officer Down at the KFC!’   It was that transmission which allowed us to expedite help to Officer Sioson, quickly arrest the suspect,” says Travis Howard, president of the El Cajon Police Officers Association.

MAN ARRESTED FOR KIDNAPPING FORMER GIRLFRIEND IN EL CAJON

 

East County News Service

July 18, 2017 (El Cajon) – Mark David Dabrowski, a 55-year-old transient in El Cajon, has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and domestic violence.

Yesterday morning, a witness called El Cajon Police to report that Dabrowski had abducted his former girlfriend, who is also homeless, while she was sleeping on an elementary school campus.

TRANSIENT CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER FOR ASSAULT OF EL CAJON POLICE OFFICER

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 18, 2017 (El Cajon) – A transient is under arrest for the attempted murder of an El Cajon Police officer that occurred yesterday shortly after 10 a.m. The suspect reportedly punched the officer repeatedly, continuing to assault him after he was unconscious.

 

Officers were dispatched to a Dollar Store, where a robbery had been reported.  Employees said the suspect had gone to a JFC restaurant nearby at 724 Fletcher Parkway. KFC had also called police to report the suspect stole soda from their fountain. There, the suspect,  Daniel Moses Cook, 42, violently assaulted the officer.

WOMAN FATALLY STRUCK BY TEEN DRIVER IN EL CAJON

 

East Couty News Service

June 27, 2017 (El Cajon ) – A woman in her 50s who was walking home from the grocery store crossed North Mollison Avenue near Main Street outside of a marked intersection last night at 8:45. She was struck by a black Acura sedan driven by a 19-year-old driver.  Paramedics transported the woman to a hospital, where she later died.

FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

Updated with more special Independence Day events.

East County News Service

June19, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Julian’s Fourth of July Parade, El Cajon’ Independence Day picnic with fireworks and the  Santee Salutes patriot celebration are cherished annual traditions in East County.  Below are details. If you know of an East County Fourth of July activity we’ve missed, please email editor@eastcountymagazine.rog and post details in our comments section below.

EAST COUNTY CHALDEAN CHAMBER LOSES TRADEMARK; DETROIT-BASED CHALDEAN CHAMBER OPENS OFFICES HERE

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (El Cajon ) -- The U.S.  Patent and Trademark Office has issued an order cancelling Ben Kalasho’s trademark for the San Diego-East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce name.  The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board held that the trademark caused confusion with the Chaldean  American Chamber of Commerce based in Detroit, which has been using the name since 2001. 

The board held that the trademarks were similar and that the local group used the entirety of the Detroit group’s name in its branding.

Kalasho founded and served as President of the local Chamber before stepping down earlier this year to avoid conflcts of interest after his election to the El Cajon City Council.  Kalasho’s wife, Jessica, currently serves as President.

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