El Cajon City Council

EL CAJON TO HOLD REVOTE ON TRASH SERVICE LIENS DUE TO KALASHO CONFLICT OF INTEREST

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 8, 2017 (San Diego) – The City of El Cajon will be reholding public hearings on filing liens against city residents over unpaid bills for trash removal services provided by Waste Management. That decision comes after Councilman Ben Kalasho voted in favor of filing the liens after Waste Management paid $2500 in membership fees to a chamber of commerce that he founded and which his wife headed up since his election to the City Council. 

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL WANTS YOUR IDEAS FOR A BETTER COMMUNITY: OCT. 10 WORKSHOP

 

East County News Service

 

October 6, 2017 (El Cajon) — El Cajon’s City Council seeks community input at a workshop set for Tuesday, October 10 at 7 p.m. City Council Chambers, 200 Civic Center Way. Residents, community groups and businesses are invited to attend the public forum to offer their ideas for making a better El Cajon.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL FACES RESIDENT CONCERNS OVER CITY-FINANCED SOLTERRA APARTMENT COMPLEX

 

By Paul Kruze   

September 22, 2017 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon City Council faced some new concerns at its Tuesday, Sept. 12 meeting when attention was directed to Solterra, an apartment project built by a partnership of both Affirmed Housing and the City of El Cajon some five years ago. The complex, located at 131-155 Chambers Street near W. Main Street, is a 49-unit, senior affordable community offering one-and-two bedroom apartments to seniors ages 55 and up who earn 30-60% of area media income (AMI).

FIRST AMENDMENT LAWYERS CRITICIZE COUNCILMAN KALASHO FOR LAWSUIT THREATS AND INSULTS MADE TO UNION-TRIBUNE REPORTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

“His behavior is extraordinarily irresponsible. A public official should not be in the business of threatening groundless litigation over acts that are things that reporters do every day.”  -- David Snyder, executive director, First Amendment Coalition

September 19, 2017 (San Diego) – El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho sent emails to San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Jeff McDonald repeatedly calling the award-winning journalist a “troll” and threatening legal action after McDonald asked tough questions about Kalasho’s business dealings and apparent conflicts of interests.

EL CAJON PROVIDING COMPREHENSIVE LEADERSHIP ON HOMELESSNESS

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo, left: Eric Lund, CEO, San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the East County Regional Task Force on the Homeless

August 27, 2017 (El Cajon) - The El Cajon City Council approved four budget items earlier this month regarding homelessness, as well as approving a partnership agreement with the El Cajon Collaborative. Council unanimously approved $2,000 for anti-panhandling signs, $3,550 for a mobile app to help the homeless find service providers, $10,000 for a homeless reunification program to reunite 20 homeless people in El Cajon, and $125 for a brick at the El Cajon collaborative.

EL CAJON COUNCILMAN KALASHO FILES DISCRIMINATION CLAIM WITH STATE OF CALIFORNIA

 

By Paul Kruze

August 19, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Yet more eyes are going to be fixed on embattled El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho with news that he has filed a discrimination complaint with the State of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The action follows last Tuesday’s 4-1 vote affirming that the only electronic device permitted to be used by Council members at the dais during City Council meetings are city-provided Apple iPad tablets.

The iPads provided to members of the City Council will be configured to only allow access to City of El Cajon official websites and access to the city’s financial budget documents and municipal codes, but other Internet sites will be blocked.  Note-taking software will be downloaded onto the iPads and an attached keyboard will be provided.

KALASHO THREATENS DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT AS COUNCIL LIMITS ELECTRONIC DEVICES

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: Ben Kalasho, August 8, 2017 (El Cajon)

August 11, 2017 (El Cajon) - Councilman Ben Kalasho threatened to file an employment discrimination complaint Tuesday as the Council discussed a resolution to limit Council members’ use of electronic devices during City Council meetings.    

IESHA BOOKER, HOMELESS MTS DRIVER WHO CAME TO AID OF FALLEN OFFICER, GIVEN COMMENDATION BY EL CAJON COUNCIL

 

Photo: Iesha Booker and Mayor Bill Wells (Credit: Mary Ann Prall)

East County News Service

August 10, 2017 (El Cajon) -- On Tuesday, Iesha Booker, an MTS worker who aided a fallen police officer, was given a commendation at the El Cajon City Council meeting in front of a packed Council chamber and half a dozen news crews.   After a suspect beat the officer unconscious at a KFC restaurant, Booker used the officer’s radio to summon help, as ECM reported.

EL CAJON “WITHIN WEEKS OF SEEING SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT HAPPENING” WITH THE EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo, left:  Robert Clark

July 22, 2017 (El Cajon) - Last week’s City Council meetings saw a new City Clerk, discussion of the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC), approval of a disposition and development agreement for the old police station on Highway 67 and approval of an adult daycare.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES HOMELESS AID PROJECT; KALASHO AGAIN SPARKS CONTROVERSY OVER DISPUTED COMMENTS TO LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GROUP

 

By Paul Kruze

July 7, 2017 (El Cajon) -- In a unanimous 4-0 vote (with Councilmember Bob McClellan absent), the El Cajon City Council has approved a major measure to address homelessness in El Cajon as part of an initiative developed by the East County Homeless Task Force (ECHTF.org). The measure includes an expenditure of $168,000 by the city.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL APPROVES AID FOR EMERGENCY SHELTER AND CONSIDERS PROPOSALS TO HELP HOMELESS; RESIDENTS EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT COUNCILMEMBER’S BEHAVIOR

 

By Paul Kruze

June 15, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Aiding El Cajon’s homeless population, disruption of a neighborhood by occupants of a house allegedly inhabited by drug users, and licensing of a new adult daycare center near El Cajon’s city center were the main topics discussed by the El Cajon City Council at its bi-monthly hearings on June 13th.  In addition, a budget workshop was held earlier  to consider El Cajon’s fiscal 2017-2018 preliminary annual budget.  Councilmember’s Ben Kalasho’s concept to draw down El Cajon’s sales tax to 7.75% drew strong broad opposition, with critics arguing it would devastate law enforcement and fire protection in the city.

EL CAJON COUNCIL MOVES TOWARD MORE HELP FOR HOMELESS, APPROVES PUBLIC HEARINGS ON ADDING AGENDA ITEMS AND CELEBRATES SUCCESS OF AMERICA ON MAIN STREET

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

May 30, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council had a packed agenda Wednesday at its 3 p.m. meeting, taking actions including:

  • Voting 5-0 to put an item on an upcoming agenda to have staff prepare a report on feasibility of hiring a Crisis House “homeless navigator” expert to match unique needs of homeless people with private and public programs to help house the homeless;  
  • Voting 4-1 to hold two town hall meetings annually to allow residents to propose agenda items and for Council to set agenda priorities;
  • Heard a report from the County Water Authority claiming Metropolitan Water has been squandering funds and overcharging ratepayers;
  • Honoring participants and supporters of America on Main Street;
  • Presented awards to local youths and Friends of East County Arts contest winners
  • Praised a resident for using a drone to get evidence of an illegal marijuana dispensary.

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT DISTRICT BOUNDARY MAPS IN EL CAJON IS MARCH 27

 

Source:  City of El Cajon

March 23, 2017 (El Cajon) -- With the passage of Measure S, the City of El Cajon is in the implementation phase of establishing City Council districts.  The mapping criteria was approved by the City Council on February 14, 2017, and four community workshops were held in February and March. 

EL CAJON HONORS SUNSHINE HORTON FOR “GENEROUS SPIRIT” AS CIVIC VOLUNTEER

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 17, 2017 (El Cajon) — El Cajon’s City Council declared Tuesday, March 14th as Sunshine Horton Day to honor the city’s Goodwill Promoter. 

Horton, who was previously named El Cajon Citizen of the Year in 2012,  has been improving the lives of East County residents for nearly 40 years.  “We appreciate all she has done to make El Cajon a better place for all,” Mayor Wells stated in the proclamation.

KALASHO SAYS EL CAJON MAYOR’S PROPOSAL TO BAN COUNCIL MEMBERS' USE OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES IS ILLEGAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 17, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells has proposed banning City Council members from using iPads, cell phones or other electronic devices during Council hearings.

They Mayor says his goal in introducing item 6.3 on the agenda during the March 14th public hearing was to assure that members are giving public hearings their full attention and not engaging in outside communications, assuring transparency.  But Councilman Kalasho claims the move is unconstitutional and targets him.  Members of the public who spoke sided with Kalasho in a testy exchange that can be viewed on video (starting at approximately 52 minutes, 44 seconds):  https://elcajonca.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1049&Format=Agenda

KALASHO HOSTS SECOND TOWN HALL TONIGHT, ACCUSES MAYOR OF SEEKING TO MUZZLE HIS VOICE

 

 

 

Councilman speaks out against Mayor Wells' proposal to prevent any councilmember from placing items on the agenda without support of another member

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho will hold his second town hall meeting tonight from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the El Cajon Police community room, 200 Civic Center Way in El Cajon. 

In a video posted on his Facebook page,  Kalasho asks public support to block a measure introduced by Mayor Bill Wells that would prevent any individual councilmember from adding an item to the agenda without support of another member.  The only Democrat on the Council, Kalasho contends that the proposal is targeting him. That measure is expected to be on the agenda for the March 14th Council hearing at 3 p.m..

CREMATORIUM OWNER APPEALS TO EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Emissions from a crematorium shut down in 2011 in unincorporated El Cajon for what a county inspector called “horrific” violations

March 2, 2017 (El Cajon) – On March 14 at 7 p.m., the El Cajon City Council will hear an appeal filed by Robert Zakar of East County Mortuary, whose proposed crematorium and funeral parlor at 1150-1168 North Marshall Street was rejected by the city’s planning commission. The hearing will be held in City Council Chambers at 200 Civic Center Way in El Cajon.

EL CAJON COUNCIL HEARS PROPOSAL FOR ELVES, REPORT ON HOMELESSNESS

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo:  El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho faces resistance on new group to bring holiday cheer to seniors

March 1, 2017 (El Cajon) - Freshman El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho was impressed by the Santee Santas, and wants to bring the idea to El Cajon. Kalasho envisions an organization, El Cajon Elves that would bring carols, socks and slippers to elders around the holidays.

But groups that already serve seniors, including the AARP and the Salvation Army, turned up to oppose the City of El Cajon from releasing $5,000 in seed money to the El Cajon Elves, and requested that the funds instead be given to one of the existing organizations already serving senior citizens. No one testifed in support of the city providing seed money to start a new nonprofit.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL APPROVES CRITERIA FOR DISTRICT ELECTION MAPPING: 5 PUBLIC WORKSHOPS PLANNED

 

Source: City of El Cajon

February 16, 2017 (El Cajon) – The City of El Cajon has announced five public workshops on redistricting set for February 22, 23 and 28, as well as March 1 and April 18.  All are from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.   See location details at the bottom of the article. 

EL CAJON ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER MOVING TO TEXAS

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 5, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Assistant City Manager Majed Al-Ghafry has accepted a position as Assistant City Manager for Dallas, Texas.  A Syrian immigrant who came to the U.S. as a child, Al-Ghafry previously worked in Texas and has over 28 years of experience in municipal government.

 “He’s been a real asset to this city,”  El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick told ECM, adding that Al-Ghafry speaks Arabic and has been helpful in translating and explaining city ordinances to immigrants from the Middle East. 

REDRAWING THE LINES: EL CAJON HOLDS PUBLIC HEARING ON REDISTRICTING TONIGHT

 

East County News Service

January 24, 2017 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon will hold public hearings tonight, January 24, and again on February 14th to approve criteria for creating City Council District boundaries and a schedule for establishing district elections. 

NEW DYNAMICS OF THE 2017 EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis and El Cajon’s liaisons from County Mental Health

January 12, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Formerly operating in lock-step unison, the El Cajon City Council picked up two businessmen in the 2016 elections, one supported by neither political party and one supported by the party previously shut-out.

APPLICANTS SOUGHT FOR CITY OF EL CAJON COMMISSIONS: JANUARY 12 DEADLINE TO APPLY

 

Source: City of El Cajon

January 4, 2017 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon City Council is now accepting applications for its Planning Commission, Veterans’ Commission, Personnel Commission, and Public Safety Facility Financing Oversight Committee.

Q&A WITH ONE OF EL CAJON’S NEWEST COUNCILMEMBERS, STEVE GOBLE

 

By Jonathan Goetz

December 16, 2016 (El Cajon) – East County Magazine sat down with new Councilman Steve Goble, who share his views on the most important issues facing El Cajon,  his budget priorities,  background, and thoughts on pressing problems such as homelessness, the refugee crisis, the East County Performing Arts Center and marijuana regulation.

KALASHO AND GOBLE SWORN IN TO EL CAJON COUNCIL

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo, left:  El Cajon’s new City Council, left to right:  Gary Kendrick, Bob McClellan, Mayor Bill Wells, Ben Kalasho, and Steve Goble

December 14, 2016 (El Cajon) -- Businessmen Ben Kalasho and Steve Goble were sworn in to their first terms on the El Cajon City Council Tuesday along with Bob McClellan, celebrating his 24th year on the Council.

STEVE GOBLE AND BEN KALASHO TO JOIN EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL DEC. 13

 

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photos:  Ben Kalasho,  Steve Goble and Bob McClellan

December 6, 2016 (El Cajon) -- Challengers Steve Goble and Ben Kalasho have won seats on the El Cajon City Council, and will be joining Bob McClellan, who won reelection. The swearing-in ceremony will be held on December 13th at Council Chambers.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: SIGN OF THE TIMES

 

November 5, 2016 (El  Cajon)—Anonymous citizens have added commentary above and below a sign touting three conservative candidates for El Cajon City Council: Paul  Circo,  Star Bales and Bob McClellan. 

New signs cheekily note that these three candidates “did not show for debates,  did not show for a prayer vigil” (in response to a  police shooting), and “can’t spell their own name on their own signs,” a reference to a misspelling in McClellan’s name.

TRANSCRIPT OF EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES FORUM: POLICE ISSUES, ECONOMY, MARIJUANA AND MORE SPARK HEATED CONVERSATIONS

 

Transcription by Jonathan Goetz

October 18, 2016 (El Cajon) - Seven candidates vying for three seats on the El Cajon City Council participated in a lively forum at Grossmont College on October 5th:  Stephanie Harper, Ben Kalasho, Hubert Cabrera, Steve Goble, George Glover, Joseph Fountain and Vikie Butcher.  Incumbents Bob McClellan and Star Bales, along with challenger Paul Circo, declined to participate citing travel and scheduling conflicts.

Topics included the police shooting, building a new animal shelter, reopening the performing arts center, sales tax in El Cajon, marijuana regulation, strengthening our community and improving police relations with minorities, poverty and unemployment.

Each candidate had one minute to respond to questions  from  moderators Miriam Raftery of the East County Magazine,  Karen Pearlman from the San Diego Union-Tribune, Albert Fulcher from the East County Californian, and  Marya Fani from  Mega Network, followed by audience questions.

Pages