Gary Kendrick

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.”

EL CAJON APPROVES REDISTRICTING MAP; COUNCILMAN KALASHO THREATENS LAWSUIT

 

By Jonathan Goetz; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this article

May 26, 2017 (El Cajon) – Following a lively public hearing on drawing up city council district lines to comply with Voting Rights Act requirements aimed at increasing minority representation,  El Cajon’s City council voted 3-2 to adopt  Paul Circo’s map PCirco1 for council district elections. 

Councilman Ben Kalasho,  a Chaldean-American and the only minority on the Council,  earlier sent a letter threatening to sue his city if that map was approved and request public records to determine if gerrymandering laws or the Brown Act were violated. 

Mayor Bill Wells, Councilmen Gary Kendrick and Bob McClellan voted to approve the map drawn by Circo, a Republican who ran for Council in 2016.  Councilmembers Steve Goble and Kalasho voted against it.  The district election map  chosen squares Kalasho off against fellow Councilman Kendrick, who also lives in Fletcher Hills, on the opposite side of Parkway Plaza. It also pairs Councilmembers Steve Goble and Bob McClellan, leaving two other districts that will be open seats. The Mayor will continue to be elected at-large by all voters in the city.

The plan chosen creates three majority minority districts.  Two have 70% minorities and a third has 51% . The minority definition used is broad, including language minorities such as Arabic speakers as well as all classes protected under state and federal  Voting Rights Acts.

EL CAJON COUNCIL APPROVES SHIFT TO DISTRICT ELECTIONS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2015 (El Cajon) – El Cajon currently holds at-large elections where everyone in the city votes for all five Council races.  But on Tuesday, the City Council voted 5-0 to have staff move forward with implementing a shift to individual districts each electing its own representative.  The concept of districts aspires to provide greater representation for minorities to elect representatives reflective of their neighborhoods' concerns.

EL CAJON AIMS TO ADD HAMPTON INN AS A SECOND FOUR-STAR HOTEL

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2015 (El Cajon ) – El Cajon’s City Council voted Tuesday to move forward on plans to build a Hampton Inn with upscale restaurants on the site of the former police station on Fletcher Parkway near North Magnolia Avenue.  The action comes after last month’s approval to bring a Marriott Hotel to town.

“Revitalization of El Cajon has a snowball effect,” Councilman Gary Kendrick told East County Magazine. Since approval of the Marriott deal, he says, “our phone has been ringing off the hook from investors because they know  that Marriott does their homework.”

EL CAJON COUNCIL TO CONSIDER BALLOT MEASURE FOR STRICTER ALCOHOL CONTROLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 10, 2015 (El Cajon )—At Tuesday's El Cajon City Council meeting, the City Council will discuss a proposal for a ballot initiative to crack down on alcohol sales to minors and chronic drunks, as well as potentially ban sales of powdered alcohol.

“My goal is to make this the strongest law in the United States to stop sales of alcohol to children and serial inebriates,” Vice Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kendrick told East County Magazine.

MAYOR WELLS, COUNCILMAN KENDRICK SCORE STRONG WINS IN EL CAJON

 

 

Photo: Mayor Bill Wells celebrates victory with suporters; photo by Randy Jordan, R. Jordan Photgraphy

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Russell

November 5, 2014 (El Cajon) -- Mayor Bill Wells thumped two opponents to win 81.6% of the vote, winning reelection handily over Allen Theweny and Jonathan Wright.  Councilman Gary Kendrick took over two-thirds of the vote (64.14%) over his opponent, Elwood Alexander.

The incumbents had the benefit of an improving economy and new policies such as the city's outreach to car dealers to bring more revenues to El Cajon, a city with the county's highest poverty rate.  El Cajon's leaders have also had success in healing relations with the city's large Iraqi Chaldean population, with Mayor Wells speaking out publicly in support of bringing persecuted Christian Chaldean refugees to El Cajon.

PROTEST PLANNED THURSDAY OVER MEGA-CHURCH PLAN TO LEASE ECPAC; LEGAL ACTION TO HALT DEAL THREATENED IF CITY PROCEEDS

 

 

City rejected earlier proposal by citizens' group

Theater managers speak out, object to City's actions, CityBeat reports

By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2014 (El Cajon) – Citizens Oversight Panels (COPS) is organizing a rally tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. outside the East County Performing Arts Center at 210 East Main Street in El Cajonon to protest a proposed partnership between the City of El Cajon and Rock Church to lease the theater. 

“We will be delivering a 30-plus page letter spelling out the legal case against the city should they go ahead with their plans to lease this public theater to the Rock Church, which is clearly unconstitutional,” says Ray Lutz, founder of COPS, on a Facebook page for the event. “Come and support the reopening of ECPAC as a performing arts and entertainment center and not as the new location for a mega church.”

SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT: EL CAJON COUNCIL VOTES TO FUND SAN DIEGO YOUTH CHOIR

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 24, 2014 (El Cajon) – By a unanimous vote, El Cajon’s City Council on Tuesday voted to grant $10,000 to fund the San Diego Youth Choir, a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural community youth choir based in El Cajon. The group’s mission statement is to empower young leaders through musical excellence.  It’s mantra is “Empowering San Diego County youth, one note at a time.”

“What it really is, is an investment in children’s future,” Councilman Gary Kendrick told East County Magazine. “$10,000 today could save us $100,000 tomorrow in police costs and property crimes.”  He added that performing together also builds self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment, as well as forging bonds that can last a lifetime.  “My son still has close friendships in Hollywood that started when he was in Christian Youth Theater in San Diego,” Kendrick recalled.

 The San Diego Youth Choir (www.youthchoirsd.org) aims to be housed in a central location in El Cajon with state of the art rehearsal space, practice rooms, dance rooms, and a recording studio.

EL CAJON COUNCIL ASKS STAFF TO REPORT ON E-CIGARETTE AND HOOKAH RISKS, REGULATIONS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2014 (El Cajon ) – After hearing testimony raising concerns over use of e-ciagrettes by children in public schools, El Cajon’s City Council unanimously asked staff to prepare a report on the hazards of  inhaling or “vaping” nicotine, along with options for regulation both e-cigarettes and hookah smoking.

Councilman Gary Kendrick introduced the issue, stating  that a friend told him her middle school son said that “use of electronic cigarettes was rampant at his junior high.” 

A representative from Communities Against Substance Abuse (CASA) asked Council, “Can we really afford another generation of nicotine addiction?”  The CASA representative said that “nicotine is more addictive than heroin.” He presented evidence that manufacturers of e-cigarettes with nicotine are targeting minors with flavors such as bubblegum and designs ranging from e-cigarettes with cartoon characters to models that masquerade as asthma inhalers, felt pens, or other common devices. 

EL CAJON ADOPTS NEW CITY MOTTO, NAMES KENDRICK MAYOR PRO TEM

 

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Mork

December 13, 2013 (El Cajon) –El Cajon’s City Council voted on Tuesday to adopt “Valley of Opportunity" as the new city motto.  In addition, Council voted unanimously to name Councilmember Gary Kendrick as Mayor Pro Tem, second in command after newly appointed Mayor Bill Wells.

As for the new motto and logo reflecting that motto, Deputy City Manager/Finance Nancy Palm explained the idea began before the centennial. “We had a lot of community involvement. It has proven to be the valley of opportunity for many years.”

CANDIDATES FOR EL CAJON COUNCIL REFLECT DIVERSE POPULATIONS AND VIEWS

Photo:  Ben Kalasho, Instar Bales, Humbert Cabrera, and Vickie Butcher are among 27 candidates vying for appointment to the El Cajon City Council.

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2013 (El Cajon) – Twenty-seven El Cajon residents have applied to fill an open seat on the El Cajon City Council.  This past Tuesday night, Council members interviewed half of the applicants during the Council meeting.  The rest will be interviewed next Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The candidates came from all walks of life – reflecting diverse races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, political parties and economic status.

WELLS APPOINTED MAYOR IN EL CAJON, OPENING COUNCIL VACANCY

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2013 (El Cajon )--El Cajon’s City Council voted unanimously yesetrday to appoint Councilman Bill Wells to fill the vacancy left by Mayor Mark Lewis’s resignation.  Council also voted to have an application and list of qualifications drawn up within a week for residents interested in seeking appointment to fill the vacancy on the City Council  left by Wells’ ascension to mayor.

A crowd filled the Council Chambers, with many community members came to voice their views on how the city should fill its leadership positions.

COUNCILMEMBERS ISSUE RESPONSE TO MAYOR LEWIS RESIGNATION

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 6, 2013 (El Cajon)-- El Cajon City Councilmembers Bob McClellan and Tony Ambrose have released an official response to the resignation of former Mayor Mark Lewis on October 24, 2013. Both voiced pride in the community’s diversity , acknowledged that the Mayor’s remarks on minorities were “inappropriate and wrong,” then called for unity in El Cajon.  For the full text of their letter, click here.

In addition, Councilmember Gary Kendrick issued his own letter praising Mayor Lewis on his accomplishments including balanced budgets, economic stability and economic development.   While he joined with  Ambrose and McClellan in making clear that he did not agree with or support Lewis’ controversial comments, he stated, “Mark will always be my friend...”  To read Kendrick’s letter, click here

Kendrick told ECM,” The Mayor Lewis that I knew would never have made those statements before his stroke.”

EL CAJON APPROVES HOTEL AGREEMENT

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 22, 2013 (El Cajon ) – By a unanimous vote, El Cajon’s City Council today voted to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Excel Hotel Group to develop a Marriott Courtyard hotel at the northeast corner of Magnolia Avenue and Rea Street in the Civic Center block. 

The proposal hinges on the state selling and to the city of El Cajon at the corner of Magnolia and Rea.  The City would then sell the land to Marriott for a dollar and give up a portion of the transient occupancy tax (TOT) for a few years.  At the end of ten years, the city expects to receive enough revenue from property taxes and TOT to repay the city the cost of the land.

“It sweetens the pot for them to spend several million dollars,” Councilman Gary Kendrick told East County Magazine.  He calls the deal a “win-win” for all parties.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES ZERO FEE FOR MERCHANTS UNDER NEW ALCOHOL SALES ORDINANCE

 

 

Members also vote to shut down red light cameras

By Janis Mork

September 29, 2013 (El Cajon) - At Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting, Council unanimously voted to not set a fee on sale of alcohol. The councilmembers also voted 4-1 to permanently remove  the red light cameras, with Mayor Mark Lewis voting against the measure.

First was a resolution on the annual alcohol sales regulatory fee under the new Deemed Approved Alcohol ordinance, which restricts sale of single-serve alcohol containers and cracks down on stores selling to minors or people with a series of alcohol-related arrests.

It’s important we have a zero fee,” said Councilman Gary Kendrick. ”Then it has no effect on businesses that operate legally.”

EL CAJON COUNCIL APPROVES ALCOHOL RESTRICTIONS FOLLOWING SPIRITED HEARING

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 28, 2013 (El Cajon) – A century ago, one of the first actions of El Cajon’s City Council was to outlaw saloons due to concerns over negative influences of alcohol on the community. Those restrictions were later relaxed.  But yesterday, Council once again voted to restrict sales of alcohol, over the objections of local merchants and the East County Chamber of Commerce.

By a unanimous vote, Council approved the “deemed approved” ordinance aimed at curbing serial inebriates from purchasing single-serve alcoholic beverages at markets.

THE SHOWS WILL GO ON: EL CAJON COUNCIL BACKS FUNDS TO REOPEN ECPAC

 

Update June 21, 2013: The Council's final vote, originally scheduled for July 25, has been postponed to July 9 due to a key staffer's vacation schedule.

By Miriam Raftery

June 20, 2013 (El Cajon ) – The El Cajon City Council has allotted $2.8 million in its budget to restore and reopen the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC)  next summer, Councilman Gary Kendrick told ECM.  “I proposed  that we open up the performing arts center and everyone was on board with that. We’re out of the great recession,” he added. “This is a time to do great things for the city.”

The money  set aside and will be available as of July 1, 2013,”said Kendrick.   Council voted unanimously for a preliminary budget with the ECPAC funding and will take a final vote on Tuesday, July 9.  “People interested in the performing arts center should definitely come for Tuesday’s meeting.”

GUHSD MOVES FORWARD ON TALKS WITH EL CAJON TO REVIVE EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

By Paul Kruze

April 11, 2013 (El Cajon)--Members of the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) Board on Wednesday night decided in principle (with no formal vote) to begin exploratory talks with the City of El Cajon on becoming a partner in the operation of the troubled East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) , as well as build a multi-purpose conference center adjacent to the theater. 

The Board also voted 4-1 (with Priscilla Schreiber voting “no”)  to endorse building a 325-seat performing arts center on the campus of Grossmont High School at the cost of $15.1 million dollars.

Representing GUHSD on the ad hoc committee will be board president Jim Kelly and board member Jim Stieringer.

KENDRICK INTRODUCES MEASURE TO RESTRICT LIQUOR LICENSES IN EL CAJON

January 17, 2013 (El Cajon) – Councilman Gary Kendrick will introduce a measure on Tuesday, January 22 that would implement a “deemed approved” system to regulate liquor licenses n El Cajon. 

“It enables a city to put a whole host of new conditions on existing liquor establishments,” Kendrick told ECM.  “It even covers those grandfathered in that don’t have a conditional use permit, so we could stop a liquor store from creating a nuisance in the city.”  The measure would cover all off-site liquor stores, type 20 and 21 licenses, he added.

The proposal would also allow the city to charge a fee to liquor stores to funds sting operations against alcohol sellers as asll as pay for a full-time alcohol enforcement officer.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL PASSES UNANIMOUS RESOLUTION TO CONDEMN CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF HANSON-COX

By Janis Mork

January 8, 2013 (El Cajon)--By a unanimous vote, El Cajon’s City Council voted to condemn former Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox’s embezzlement of funds from her former employer, Century Design. Council also added language to strip Hanson-Cox of any recognitions received from the City.

“Stealing is wrong, no matter what,” said Councilman Gary Kendrick, introducing the resolution. “I want to give an opportunity for the council to collectively and individually condemn her actions…I want to personally say I’m sorry to the Basso family and to what’s happened to them.”

NEWSMAKERS OFFER “SCOOPS” FOR OUR READERS AT EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE HOLIDAY PARTY

December 21, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Congresswoman Susan Davis, La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid, and El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick were among the elected officials who joined in our “Feasting & Merrymaking” party over the weekend—and shared some  special news for our community.

Our guests also enjoyed live jazz by the amazing Chris Klich trio, fabulous food by chef Patrick Dean and the Grove Pastry Shop, wines from La Serenissima and San Pasqual wineries, plus an East County trivia game and prize drawings.

HANSON-COX USED EMBEZZLED FUNDS FOR CAMPAIGN EXPENSES, LAVISH TRIPS FOR CITY EMPLOYEES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 19, 2012 (El Cajon ) –The Mother Goose Parade wasn’t the only beneficiary of funds stolen by former El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox, who pled guilty to embezzling more than $3.6 million from Century Design, Inc (CDI), her former employer.  

Court documents reveal that she also spent purloined money to hire celebrity impersonators to appear at her campaign fundraiser in 2004. She treated the city’s former Chief of Police to a vacation at a Hawaiian resort hotel. Plus she hosted city public information officer Monica Zech at a Beverly Hills hotel, including manicures and other spa treatments.

READER’S EDITORIAL: SYMPATHY SHOULD GO TO VICTIMS, NOT TO JILLIAN HANSON-COX

By Councilman Gary Kendrick

I have been very saddened by the discovery that my fellow El Cajon City Council Member, Jillian Hanson-Cox, was not the person I thought she was. I had always seen Jillian as a very warm-hearted, caring and honest individual.  The documents now on file in the federal district court convincingly show that she is just the opposite.

STATE SUPREME COURT APPROVES ELIMINATION OF REDEVELOPMENT FUNDS


East County Performing Arts Center is among major projects at risk from the decision

December 29, 2011 (Sacramento) – Sounding a death knell for hopes to restore redevelopment funds eliminated by the Legislature to fund education, the California supreme Court today ruled that the state has the right to eliminate local redevelopment agencies. The decision has sparked criticism from local business owners and politicians on both the left and right.

A MERRY TIME HAD BY ALL AT EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE’S HOLIDAY PARTY

Dozens of toys, hundreds of dollars donated for East County Toy & Food Drive

 

December 15, 2011 (La Mesa)—Thanks to all of our generous guests , sponsors, and VIP visitors who made this year’s East County Magazine holiday party very merry indeed!  As always, we invited community leaders and officials in all parties, plus other  special guests. 

Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego), whose district will soon include much of East County, joined the festivities. Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) sent Assembly commendations for our award-winning writers and photographers. Santa and Mrs. Claus heard children’s Christmas wishes, while an elf handed out prizes. 

SPOTLIGHT EL CAJON: COUNCILMAN GARY KENDRICK RUNS ON HIS RECORD

October 10, 2010 (El Cajon ) – Gary Kendrick has served on El Cajon’s City Council since 2002. He takes pride in his efforts to “bring peace to a once volatile Council” and says the Council is “very much in harmony now; it’s much calmer.” His platform includes safe streets, sensible redevelopment, rights of property owners, and getting tax dollars back from Sacramento.