El Cajon

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL APPOINTS CABRERA TO PLANNING COMMISSION

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, from left to right:  Mike Aquawi, Humbert Cabrera, Nathan Cornett, Robert Pennoyer, Amanda McGimpsey, Jaqueline Sona

July 15, 2019 (El Cajon) --The final chapter of the drama-filled Ben Kalasho novel was written on Tuesday when local businessman Humbert Cabrera was appointed to the El Cajon Planning Commission. The seat was recently vacated by the recent appointment of Phil Ortiz to the El Cajon City Council in May to replace Kalasho, who resigned in March after two stormy years on the Council.

EL CAJON ADOPTS CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY, DRAWS CRITCISM FROM CLIMATE ACTION GROUP

By Paul Kruze

July 15, 2019 (El Cajon) -- In a unanimous vote, the El Cajon City Council voted to approve a climate change policy developed in conjunction with community outreach sessions earlier this year. But some critics contend the plan does not go far enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

ALPINE MISSING PERSON FOUND IN EL CAJON

Source:  San Diego County Sheriff's Department

July 11, 2019 (El Cajon) - A missing person at risk in the East County has been found safe.

79-year-old Eufemia Danaher was found around 10:00 a.m. in the 600 block of El Cajon Boulevard in El Cajon. Sheriff's ASTREA (helicopter) Deputy Gary Kneeshaw spotted a woman who matched Danaher's description and made contact with her. She has been reunited with her family.

WASTE MANAGEMENT TO HOST HIRING EVENT FOR COMMERCIAL DRIVERS THURSDAY

East County News Service

 

July 10, 2019 (El Cajon) - Waste Management in El Cajon will be hosting a hiring event on Thursday, July 11 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to welcome interested and qualified commercial driver candidates to join the Waste Management family. Candidates will be considered for current and future driver positions. The event will be held at Waste Management’s office at 1001 W. Bradley Ave., El Cajon.

EAST COUNTY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL HOSTS REGIONAL ISSUES FORUM ON JULY 27

By Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2019 (El Cajon) – The East County Leadership Council will host its second annual regional issues forum on July 27 from 1-3 p.m. at the El Cajon Library (201 E. Douglas Ave. in El Cajon).

STAY ISSUED TO DELAY CLOSURE OF THREE CHARTER SCHOOLS IN GROSSMONT DISTRICT

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Three nonprofit charter schools operating within the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) have been ordered shut down by a judge, but now a stay issued has been ordered for one year until an appeal can be heard. 

The schools at risk of closure are Diego Valley East charter in El Cajon and San Diego Workforce Innovation High charter schools in Lakeside and Lemon Grove. 

STARGAZING, WAGS AND WINE, RAINWATER HARVESTING AND MORE AT THE GARDEN THIS SUMMER

East County News Service

 

July 5, 2019 (El Cajon) – The Water Conservation Garden has a variety of fun and educational events coming up in July and August, including:

 

  • Garden yoga July 8
  • Wags & Wine July 10
  • Stargazing July 10
  • Landscapes, irrigation and soils July 16
  • Rainwater harvesting July 20
  • Gregory Page Trio concert July 27
  • Creepy crawly critters August 23

Learn more and register for these events at www.thegarden.org.

SHOTS FIRED OUTSIDE MOVIE THEATRE IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 3, 2019 (Rancho San Diego) – Last night around midnight, three boys ran into the Regal Edwards Cinema in Rancho San Diego to report a shooter outside, NBC 7 reports.
 
Several people in the theater called 911 and Sheriff’s deputies responded.  The boys told Sheriff’s officials that a man had pulled out a handgun and fired shots in the air after an argument with the boys.  The shooter was reportedly a passenger in a four-door, silver or gray car. 

ANDREW OTERO IN HIS OWN WORDS

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor
 
July 3, 2019 (El Cajon) - Andrew Otero on Tuesday released a long written statement on his involvement in a construction contracting scheme. Otero was sentenced Friday in federal court after being found guilty of defrauding the federal government to obtain funds allocated for businesses owned by disabled veterans. Otero states, “I make no excuse, and take full responsibility for what I was convicted of. When you bend rules sometimes you have not even the slightest idea of what the consequences can turn out to be.”

JUDGMENT DAY FOR LOCAL CONTRACTOR ANDREW OTERO

A U.S. District Court judge fines and sentences Otero to federal prison for fraud

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

 

July 3, 2019 (San Diego) -- Friday was judgment day for Andrew R. Otero, owner of A&D General Contracting and husband of Cajon Valley Union School District president Tamara Otero.  

 

Otero, a San Diego building contractor, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge John Houston after a federal jury convicted Otero last November of fraudulently obtaining over $11 million dollars in government contracts through his company which had been set aside for small businesses owned by disabled veterans.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL UNVEILS REFURBISHED THEATER: MAGNOLIA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER TO OPEN THIS FALL

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

 

Photos by Paul Kruze and Miriam Raftery

 

July 2, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Eighteen months after approving a management deal with worldwide concert producer LiveNation, the El Cajon City Council unveiled the newly refurbished “Magnolia Performing Arts Center” (formerly called the “East County Performing Arts Center”) to Council members and the public in a tour held during a recess at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

EL CAJON MOTELS AND HOTELS TO GET CLOSER CITY SCRUTINY

Council passes ordinance regulating lodging establishments’ security and maintenance

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

 

June 29, 2019 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon’s 20 motels and hotels will be subject to more scrutiny, after passage of a new ordinance that sets minimum standards for cleanliness and security.

In a unanimous vote, the El Cajon City Council on June 11 approved a “Deemed Approved Lodging Establishment” ordinance which gives the city broad powers to regulate the 1,120 motel and hotel rooms in El Cajon. The city gains another 96 rooms when the Hampton Inn by Hilton opens next year. 

CHP OFFICER STRUCK BY DUI DRIVER ON I-8 SUSTAINS MAJOR INJURY

East County News Service 

June 28, 2019 (El Cajon) – A CHP officer who had stopped to aid a disabled motorist in the center divide of Interstate 8 last night at 9:24 p.m. in El Cajon was struck by a Chevrolet Camero driven at a high rate of speed by Richard Chambers, 25.  The accident occurred on I-8 west, just east of West Main Street.

TWO EL CAJON STRONG-ARM ROBBERY SUSPECTS STILL AT LARGE, ONE ARRESTED IN ROLANDO

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2019 (El Cajon) – Two suspects masked with black bandanas demanded merchandise from customers at a T-Mobile store at 354 N. Second Street in El Cajon at 11:05 a.m. yesterday. A customer was assaulted, suffering minor injuries before the two robbers fled in a dark Chrysler four-door sedan along with a third suspect.

Two of the suspects were described as black male adult wearing jeans.  One wore a black hooded sweatshirt and is around 6 ft. tall, weighing 200 pounds. The other is approximately 5 ft. 7 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds.  A third suspect is of unknown description.

TWO FROM GROSSMONT COLLEGE RECEIVE NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP FOR LGBTQ STUDENTS

Source:  Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

June 27, 2019 (El Cajon) -  Two Grossmont College students are recipients of scholarships from the Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students of merit.

CVUSD ASST. SUPERINDTENDENT PAINTS POSITIVE FINANCIAL FORECAST FOR DISTRICT AND OTHER LOCAL SCHOOLS, BASED ON GOVERNOR’S REVISED BUDGET

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

June 26, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Cajon Valley Union School District Assistant Superintendent Scott Buxbaum (photo, left) painted a positive financial forecast for the district at its Board of Trustees meeting on Jun 11, after attending a meeting in Sacramento with Governor Gavin Newsom.

The latest financial forecast based on the Governor’s May budget revision is good news not only for the CVUSD, but for all local public school districts. Newsom, a father of young children, has pledged to make public education funding a priority.  

According to Buxbaum, the May Revision builds off of Newsom’s “California for All” vision from January. Due to strong April tax revenues, Newsom was able to retain most of his proposals from January, and invest additional funds into programs he has envisioned as prioirities.

DRIVER ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF DRIVING UNDER INFLUENCE AFTER INJURY CRASH IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 17, 2019 (El Cajon) – A 22-year-old man has been arrested by El Cajon Police following a collision that occurred shortly after midnight at Jamacha Road and Vista del Valley Blvd. The crash injured two people, one seriously.

RON BURNER, SANTEE RESIDENT, REALTOR, YOUTH SPORTS COACH, JOINS KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY IN EL CAJON

East County News Service

June 14, 2019 (El Cajon) – Keller Williams Realty San Diego East Foothills in El Cajon, the largest residential real estate brokerages in San Diego’s East County region with more than 320 agents, has announced that Santee resident Ron Burner has joined the firm as a real estate sales agent.

MAN PUSHING SHOPPING CAR ON HIGHWAY 67 STRUCK, KILLED BY PICKUP

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 14, 2019 (El Cajon) – A transient pushing a shopping cart in traffic lanes on southbound State Route 67 at 3:37 a.m. on June 9th near the I-8 interchange stepped “directly into the path” of a Ford F-150 pickup. The driver, a 27-year-old El Cajon man, was unable to avoid striking the pedestrian and shopping cart, says Officer Jeff Christy with the California Highway Patrol.

EL CAJON REJECTS NEW TRANSPORTATION VISION PRESENTED BY SANDAG: MAYOR WELLS CALLS FOR COMPLETION OF HIGHWAY UPGRADES

By Miriam Raftery 

June 13, 2019 (El Cajon) -- At its June 11th meeting, the El Cajon City Council received a presentation from Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of the San Diego Regional Association of Governments (SANDAG) about the new vision being formulated by the regional planning agency. After Mr. Ikhrata presented SANDAG’s “Five Big Moves” presentation, the City Council unanimously voted to support Mayor Bill Wells, sending a letter to SANDAG spelling out El Cajon’s position on the TransNet future spending.  

SUMMER MOVIE EXPRESS RETURNS TO PARKWAY PLAZA 18 AND EDWARDS RANCHO SAN DIEGO 15

East County News Service

June 12, 2019 (El Cajon) - Just in time for summer vacation, Regal's Summer Movie Express returns to Regal's Parkway Plaza Stadium 18 in Parkway Plaza and Edwards Rancho San Diego Stadium 15 in El Cajon.

Summer Movie Express shows films rated G and PG every Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. from June 25th to August 21st.  Admission is just $1.

The full schedule of films is below:

HIGH TEMPERATURE RECORDS BROKEN AS EXCESSIVE HEAT WAVE CONTINUES

East County News Service

June 12, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- An excessive heat warning remains in effect through today. The heat wave which prompted an excessive heat wave on Tuesday brought record-breaking temperatures across East County. So how hot was it?

EL CAJON POLICE TEEN ACADEMY BEGINS JUNE 17

Source:  El Cajon Police Department

June 11, 2019 (El Cajon) - The El Cajon Police Department will be hosting its 4th Annual Teen Academy beginning on June 17, 2018. The academy will run Monday through Friday for two weeks, concluding with a graduation ceremony on Friday, June 28, 2019. Classes will begin at 7:30 am every morning, and conclude at 3:30 pm every afternoon. There are a total of 27 teens in this year’s Teen Academy. 

CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT MEETING BLOWS UP

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor; Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

Photo: Board President Tamara Otero

June 11, 2019 (El Cajon) -- The high drama and hijinks which have been commonplace lately at Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) board meetings continued at the May 28th session. At one point the meeting was adjourned during a fracas among individuals outside the board room, overshadowing reports on district accomplishments. The action of adjourning, then reconvening the meeting for subsequent discussion and voting on agenda items raises new legal concerns.

Audio: 

Listen to audio: CVUSD meeting 5-28-19 adjourns in mid-session before reconvening
Excerpts of public comments at 5-28-CVUSD meeting including ECM editor MIriam Raftery and others
Reagles threatens Barto with recall on 5-3-19

JUST DUCKY: FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE SIX DUCKLINGS FROM STORM DRAIN

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 8, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Six ducklings trapped in a storm drain in El Cajon are lucky ducks -- rescued by Heartland firefighters with help from animal rescue personnel.
 
Firefighters responded to a call at 1:20 p.m. Saturday reporting the situation.  The firefighters found the ducklings under a storm grate in the 200 block of Fletcher Parkway, with no mother duck around. 

GAS LEAK NEAR PARKWAY PLAZA FORCED EVACUATIONS, TROLLEY CLOSURE IN EL CAJON

Leak is now controlled; trolley service has resumed and streets have reopened

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo courtesy ECM news partner 10 News

 

June 7, 2019 (El Cajon) – A 2-inch diameter gas line ruptured by construction crews at North Marshal Ave. and Petree Street shortly after noon today prompted evacuations of the Rock Church and multiple businesses including The Lexus car dealership and Black Bear Diner. 10 News reports diners were given just five minutes to flee.

WONDERFUL ADVICE FROM GRANDSON'S PEERS

By Donald H. Harrison, Editor, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Shor Mason graduated from three schools this semester.

June 7, 2019 (El Cajon) -  Thanks to my grandson Shor Masori graduating from three different schools this semester, I recently had the opportunity to listen to several remarkable young women who respectively were speakers at the ceremonies at Community Jewish High School,  Grossmont Middle College High School, and Grossmont College.

GRANT TO BRING CAJON VALLEY’S “WORLD OF WORK” PROGRAM TO LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY, GROSSMONT HIGH AND VISTA SCHOOL DISTRICTS

By Miriam Raftery

June 6, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A $1.2 million grant awarded by the national nonprofit American Student Assistance (ASA) will fund participation in the World of Work (WoW) program for over 33,000 students at 38 local schools in the La Mesa-Spring Valley (LMSV), Vista Unified and Grossmont Union High School (GUHSD) districts.

The program was developed by the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) in partnership with the University of San Diego to provide  K-12 students to explore career options and identify their individuals strengths and interests. The program has rolled out in 27 schools in the past two years, been written up in national publications such as Forbes business magazine, and most recently drew attention in meetings with U.S. Department of Education representatives (photo left) and a presentation at the Brookings Institute.

CAJON VALLEY AGREES TO COMPLY WITH BROWN ACT ON MEETING RECORDINGS, BUT DRAGS FEET ON OTHER RECORDS REQUESTS

By Miriam Raftery

Listen to audios of CVUSD meetings from Dec.-March (scroll down)

Photos: unobtrusive recording device on tripod used by ECM reporter at two recent meetings does not obstruct views or traffic.

June 6, 2019 (El Cajon) – It took cease and desist letters sent by two attorneys to the Cajon Valley Union School District for ECM to obtain recordings of public meetings previously denied, along with assurances that our reporters will not be threatened for recording those meetings ourselves. But other important records requests remain pending beyond the time frames mandated by state law.  

More than five months after our initial Public Records Act request for tapes of public meetings, the Cajon Valley Union School District has turned over all but one recording from December 2018 through March 2019.  Miraculously, those include a Dec. 11, 2018 recording that the district previously informed ECM had been destroyed. The one missing audio file, for March 12, 2019, was not available to a technical difficulty, the district claims in a letter sent to Californians Aware attorney Terry Francke.  

The records were provided to Francke after the attorney notified the district that its refusal to provide copies of recordings violated the Ralph M. Brown Act (California’s public records act) to ECM reporter Paul Kruze and to board member Jill Barto.  The district’s purported destruction of the December recording after 30 days despite a records request made just one day after the meeting, as claimed by executive assistant Naomie Rodriguez, was also illegal, Francke informed the district.

The district sent its recordings only to Francke, with a short window to download copies, but never did provide copies directly to either Kruze or Barto, both have confirmed. Barto says the district has refused to provide CDs for any meeting prior to May, and that they told her they won’t provide CDs unless a request is made within 30 days of a meeting – backtracking off their vote in  late March to retain recordings for a year and make them available on CD, as ECM reported.

Audio: 

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