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Council also gets update on hotel/motel crime prevention program and Hauntfest

By Janis Russell

August 15, 2014 (El Cajon)—El Cajon’s City Council voted 5-0  on Tuesday to fund $5,000 for a legal clinic program through the Thomas Jefferson School of Law to open in El Cajon.

Lilys McCoy, director of the Center for Practitioners at the school, gave a presentation. The legal clinic began in 2013 in San Diego's District 8 with a city grant and a second grant was received this year.  The school mentors young attorneys, who provide free help to under-served people with legal issues. This will be the first expansion into East County.

As an example of a success story, she said a technician at a local car dealership was approached by an out of state company for a deal that he could use for his son. He was promised an interest rate of 1.9%. A month later, he got letters and emails saying the interest rate was actually 13%. So he went to Thomas Jefferson School and met with an attorney there. The attorney wrote a long letter to the company, which apologized and cancelled the deal.

The program also hopes to provide support and help for victims of domestic violence.

When Councilmember Tony Ambrose asked McCoy how soon they could move to El Cajon. McCoy replied, “We could move very quickly, probably in about 30 days.” Councilmember Bob McClellan made the motion to designate the money towards the program, which was seconded by Mayor Bill Wells.

After that, Council also heard a progress report over the crime free motel/hotel program. Chief of Police Jim Redman told Council, “We put a lot of effort into this program.”

Then Captain Jeff Arvan gave a PowerPoint presentation on the program, which includes training for property owners/managers including resident selection, evictions, self defense, combating illegal activity and dealing with noncompliance.  Certificates are issued once the owners/managers complete the program, and there will be continued communication with the police department.

Officer Ryan Briley has met with all 17 properties. On July 23, properties’ representatives were invited to a “round table” event hosted by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce, though only eight of those property managers or owners attended.

McClellan mentioned that the police put information about this program on their website for the public to see. Arvan assured him it could be done. No action was taken for this item.

To read a past article about the crime free motel/hotel program at a Council meeting, view it at: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/may/13/el-cajon-hope-crime-free-hotels-motels/.

In other news, Debra Emerson from St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center discussed the upcoming Hauntfest event. She told Council that 25,000 or more people attended last year’s Hauntfest.  Council voted unanimously to approve Hauntfest for this year and to review and approve the submitted road closures and traffic control plan.

As ECM previously reported, Council also voted to move forward with a partnership allowing the Rock Church to lease space in the East County Performing Arts Center and build a second building that would be shared space initially, reverting to City ownership in 30 years.

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