Politics

EL CAJON COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO RANTS AGAINST PRESS, TELLS AUDIENCE TO “NOT SPEAK TO ANY REPORTERS”

Councilman’s wife, Jessica, served with legal suit papers during meeting

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

October 18, 2018 (El Cajon)--Troubled El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho launched into a screed at the conclusion of last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, attacking the local news media during the activities portion of the session. He did not directly name a particular journalist or publication.

He opened by thanking the public for coming to express concerns about the city and have their voices heard, noting that the 3 p.m. meetings are a time when many are working or picking up kids from school.

“It does really say a lot to see so many people come in and speak about genuine issues and concerns – whether if they’re homeless or wanting to bring in more police. I thank you for doing that. This is part of our democracy that we hold dear,” he said. “Your freedom of speech to making these statements – whether they are pro or against. Whether you’re for someone or not it doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t matter the political party. I would even say that we have forgotten how to argue without hating each other. That’s something I think we need to bring back.”

REGISTER TO VOTE: DEADLINE IS OCT. 22

 

By Tom Christiansen, County News Service

October 18, 2018 (San Diego) -- The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 6 General Election is Monday, Oct. 22. You can register to vote, check your registration status or request a mail ballot at www.sdvote.com. If you don't have online access, the voter registration forms are available at the offices of the Registrar of Voters, U.S. Postal Service, City Clerk, public libraries and Department of Motor Vehicles.  All forms must be postmarked or delivered to the Registrar of Voters no later than Oct. 22.

HUNTER SMEAR TACTICS BACKFIRE: CAMPA-NAJJAR RAISES FIVE TIMES MORE MONEY THAN INDICTED CONGRESSMAN

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 18, 2018 (San Diego) – Over $1.4 million in donations have poured into the campaign coffers of Ammar Campa-Najjar from June 30th to September 30th, over five times more than his opponent, Congressman Duncan D. Hunter. 

Facing federal felony charges of embezzling a quarter of a million dollars from his campaign for lavish personal expenses including European vacations, overnight stays with mistresses, jewelry, and oral surgery bills. Hunter has tried to blame his wife, blasting his opponent with a racially-based smear campaign touting claims found false by national media fact checkers. 

KALASHO LIED: PROCESS SERVER DID FILE POLICE REPORT ACCUSING COUNCILMAN OF THREATENING TO ATTACK HIM WITH DOG

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

ctober 17, 2018 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police have released call records documenting that a process server reported being threatened by Councilman Ben Kalasho with an attack dog.  The records were released in response to a records request by East County Magazine, after Kalasho posted this denial on Facebook:

ELECTION FOR STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION COVERS FIVE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COUNTIES

Ethics a key issue in the race

East County News Service

Photo, left: Mike Schaefer; Democrat, disbarred from practicing law in two states for fraud, lost $1.83 million judgment for "slum" conditions at his rental property

Photo, right: Senator Joel Anderson, Republican, fined for campaign finance violations, reprimanded for comments to lobbyist



October 17, 2018 (San Diego's East County) – A low-profile, political race for a state office to represent nearly 10 million residents in five Southern California counties may be falling under the radar for many voters.  

Up for grabs is an open seat for District 4 on the California Board of Equalization (BOE), a state agency that oversees county property tax assessors and sets other taxes, including the alcoholic beverage tax, railroad car tax and taxes for public utilities and insurers. District 4 encompasses all of San Diego, Imperial, Riverside and Orange counties and a small portion of San Bernardino County.

22 CA LEGISLATORS JOIN GLORIA IN DEMANDING THAT FEDERAL GOV'T STOP INHUMANE ROUNDUP OF WILD HORSES IN MODOC NF

 

East County News Service

October 17, 2018 (San Diego) – Approximately 1,000 of California’s wild horses are currently being rounded up by the federal government with many at risk of being sold for potential slaughter by the United States Forest Service (USFS). Today, California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) and 22 of his legislative colleagues demanded the USFS cease this inhumane roundup and protect these wild horses from slaughter.

SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATES SPEAK OUT, RESPOND TO OUR QUESTIONS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

Photos, upper left to lower right:  Evlyn Andrade-Heymsfelt, Zack Gianino, Laura Koval, Councilman Ronn Hall, Councilman Rob McNelis, Lynda Marrokal, Rudy Reyes

Updated October 18 with responses from Rudy Reyes

October 8, 2018 (Santee) – This is the first time Santee has held district elections, where the winners will each represent a specific neighborhood instead of being voted on by the city at large. We sent questionnaires to the seven candidates running for three City Council seats in Santee, asking the same questions of everyone. All seven candidates replied. Their thoughtful responses address a range of issues such as balancing growth and open space, also offering some fresh ideas, such as creating a community choice energy program for Santee.

Below are their answers in full to our questions, along with a link to their ballot statements for more information, arranged by district and in alphabetical order within each district.

MEDICARE AND MEDICAID CUTS PROPOSED BY GOP BUDGET

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 15, 2018 (Washington D.C.) — A budget proposed by House Republicans would cut Medicare, the federal healthcare program for senior citizens and the disabled, by $537 billion.

That violates a campaign promise made by Donald Trump when he was running for President and pledged, “Republicans believe that a Medicare program that was created for seniors and paid for by seniors their entire lives should always be protected and preserved.”

BUDGET CRISIS TOPS CONCERNS FOR LEMON GROVE COUNCIL CANDIDATES



By Miriam Raftery

Photos, top row--Challengers Kamaal Martin and Teresa Rosiak, bottom row--incumbent Councilmembers Jennifer Mendoza and Jerry Jones.

October 14, 2018 (Lemon Grove) – With Lemon Grove facing a budget deficit and 78% of its general fund spent on public safety, the City Council faces tough choices. Should the city consider the drastic step of disincorporating and reverting back to county control? Or can the city be saved through revitalization by bringing in new businesses, or by raising taxes? Proposals for the latter failed to win passage with the current Council majority, leaving the city faced with dipping into its reserves in the next fiscal year if the finances don’t improve.  

Those are among the issues addressed in our interviews with all four candidates, as well as concerns over crime, marijuana dispensaries, street repairs and more.The candidates are  incumbent Councilmembers Jennifer Mendoza and Jerry Jones, as well as challengers Teresa Rosiak, a medical credentialing specialist and former Chamber of Commerce president, and Kamaal  Martin, an educator with state and county governmental experience.

Hear our interviews aired on KNSJ radio by clicking the audio links below, and scroll down to read highlights from each interview.

 

Audio: 

Kamaal Martin interview
Teresa Rosiak interview
Jennifer Mendoza interview
Jerry Jones interview

JOHN COX AND GAVIN NEWSOM MEET FOR ONLY SCHEDULED DEBATE, DISAGREE ABOUT...PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING

 

By Ben Christopher, CalMatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  The debate between Gavin Newsom, left, and John Cox, right, moderated by Scott Shafer of KQED this morning. Pool photo by Jeff Chiu

October 14, 2018 (San Francisco) - The two men competing to be the next governor of California met for their first (and, alas, probably only) one-on-one stand-off today.

If you didn’t see it, that’s because the showdown—which was structured more as a spirited conversation than your standard dueling podiums-style debate—was on the radio, hosted by political reporter Scott Shafer, out of the San Francisco-based station KQED.

SANTEE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES NAME ECONOMIC GROWTH AND TRANSPORTATION AMONG PRIORITIES AT OCT. 4 FORUM

 

By Ana Nita

View video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxJlcuFhwyI&t=10s

October 11, 2018 (Santee) -- In April, the City of Santee ended the “at large” election system by adopting an ordinance that divided the city into four election districts. The electoral battle on November 6 now has seven candidates from three districts. Registered to run in District 1 are Evlyn Andrade-Heymsfield and current Vice Mayor Rob McNelis; in District 2, Council Member Ronn Hall and Rudy Reyes; in District 3: Zach Gianino, Laura Koval and Lynda Marrokal.

OPEN SEAT FOR 38TH STATE SENATE DISTRICT DRAWS FORMER ASSEMBLYMAN, FIRE CAPTAIN

 

 

 

 

East County News Service

October 11, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – A local political race for an open state Senate seat has remained relatively low profile, pitting Santee Councilman and former three-term Assemblyman Brian W. Jones against Cal Fire Captain Jeff Griffith, who is also a paramedic and two-term Palomar Health District board member. Both are fired up to fill the 38th state Senate seat left vacant by Joel Anderson due to term limits.

SANTEE CANDIDATES DUCK MAJOR ISSUE FACING CITY AT OCT. 9 FORUM

 

By Mike Allen

October 10, 2018 (Santee) -- The proposed Fanita Ranch housing project that would add nearly 3,000 houses to Santee is probably the most controversial issue facing city leaders. But at a candidates’ forum Oct. 9 at the Pride Academy School, three candidates for City Council including two incumbents declined to reveal their opinions about it.

WHY IS ASSEMBLYMAN VOEPEL DODGING DEBATES?

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Randy Voepel, left; James Elia, right.

October 10, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) — James Elia, the Democratic nominee running for State Assembly in the 71st Assembly District, has been clamoring to debate his opponent, incumbent Randy Voepel, a Republican. But Voepel has gone to extremes to dodge debates and candidate forums, even ducking out of the building when a fire alarm conveniently went off at a recent even where Voepel was slated to speak and spotted his opponent in the room.

ROBERT WEAVER IS FORCED BY GOVT. RULING TO WITHDRAW FROM EL CAJON MAYORAL RACE OR LOSE JOB WITH SPAWAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 9, 2018 (El Cajon) – Robert Weaver, a Navy veteran now working for an acquisition agency for the U.S. Navy, has been forced to withdraw from the El Cajon mayoral race in order to keep his job. The decision hinges on a broad legal interpretation of what constitutes a partisan race.

KENDRICK’S SON FILES POLICE COMPLAINT ALLEGING STALKING BY KALASHO; KALASHO FALSELY ACCUSES KENDRICK OF CAMPAIGN VIOLATION ON NEGATIVE FLYER

By Miriam Raftery

October 9, 2018 (El Cajon)—Jesse Kendrick, son of El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick, has filed a police report accusing Councilman Ben Kalasho of twice stalking and harassing him on the campaign trail, including pursuing him some two miles, at times blocking his way.Kalasho is running against Kendrick on the November ballot.

Jesse Kendrick told ECM that on September 28, he was driving a licensed golf cart in Fletcher Hills “distributing flyers warning the citizens of El Cajon of Mr. Kalasho’s gross misconduct in office” when I noticed a black Range Rover driving very closely behind me.” Those flyers were titled `The terrifying truth about Ben Kalasho.’  View call records to police.

GAG ORDER STIFLES EDUCATION LEADERS FROM POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS OVER ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL, CANDIDATES OR BOND MEASURES

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 8, 2018 (Alpine) –The legal settlement between the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) and the Alpine Union High School District (AUSD) contained a non-disparagement clause that has effectively muzzled Alpine education leaders and concerned parents from criticizing the GUHSD board.

GOV. BROWN SIGNS LANDMARK CLIMATE ACTION BILL; U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT WARNS OF “LIFE OR DEATH” CONSEQUENCES OF INACTION

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 8, 2018 (Incheon, South Korea) – California must get 60 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy sources by 2045, under the landmark Senate Bill 100 signed into law by Jerry Brown as one of his final acts as Governor. Days later, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a new report for policy makers, written by over 90 scientists and supported by more than 6,000 peer reviews. The report, delivered at a meeting in South Korea, warns that the earth is on track to warm 1.5 degrees Celsius as early as 2030, just 18 years from now.

KALASHO CLAIMS ON "LIES VS. FACTS" CAMPAIGN PIECE ARE DETACHED FROM REALITY



By Miriam Raftery

October 5, 2018 (El Cajon) -- In his latest campaign piece titled "The Lies vs. The Facts", El Cajon Councilman Kalasho has made claims that are so outlandish that most can best be described as detached from reality. He urges voters to "don't believe what you hear in the press," despite well documented news articles in East County Magazine, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Reader, and multilple network TV stations on his actions.

His piece derides as “fake news” reports that he is guilty of wrongdoing and fraud, faces sexual harassment claims deemed true by a judge, is accused of threatening people with an attack dog, is under investigation, and paid business fines.

Here are the actual documents from official government agencies, court records and more proving that all of these facts reported are the media are not "fake news," but provably true:

READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY THIS TRANSGENDER WOMAN WILL BE VOTING FOR AMMAR

 

By Meredith Vezina, Julian

October 5, 2018 (Julian) - First, let me say that I’m voting for Ammar Campa-Najjar for Congress because I’m a life-long progressive Democrat and because of Ammar’s positions on issues such as healthcare, the environment, immigration and education.  

ECM EXCLUSIVE: KALASHO VIOLATES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT IN FEDERAL LAWSUIT, PLAINTIFF MARK LANE SAYS



 

Lane claims he and other users are still being blocked and cannot leave comments on Kalasho’s Facebook page

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

October 5, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The peaceful strains of Kumbaya between San Diego activist Mark Lane and El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho could be over.

East County Magazine has exclusively learned that Lane’s attorney, Cory M. Briggs, is planning to inform Southern California U.S. District Federal Court Judge Jeffrey T. Miller that Kalasho is continuing to block Lane and others from his Facebook page in spite of a settlement agreement signed last week between Lane and Kalasho that he would stop the practice.

ALPINE COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP CANDIDATES

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 5, 2018 (Alpine) – Nine candidates are running for seven seats on the Alpine Community Planning Group, including incumbents Glenda Archer, Louis Russo, James Easterling, Richard Saldano Jr. and George Barnett, as well as challengers Justin Johnston, a general contractor/entrepreneur, writer Mary Harris, retired school Superintendent Albert Haven and real estate attorney Jennifer Swanson.

It costs hundreds of dollars to submit a ballot statement to the Registrar of Voters, which can be prohibitive for some candidates, especially those running for all-volunteer positions on planning groups. Only four candidates submitted ballot statements to the Registrar (Barnett, Haven, Johnston,and Russo). A sixth, Mary Harris, sent her statement to East County Magazine and asked us to publish it. We’ve reached out to other candidates who left contact info with the Registrar and invited them to send theirs in, too. Jim Easterling replied by our deadline and his has been added below. Statements of those available are published below, in alphabetical order:

CITY WARNS KALASHO OVER LEGAL VIOLATIONS USING CITY LOGO AND EMAIL ADDRESS FOR CAMPAIGNING

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 4, 2018 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Manager Graham Mitchell has sent a second letter again warning Councilman Ben Kalasho to cease illegal use of the city’s official seal/logo on his campaign materials.

The letter states that Kalasho is violating FPPC state ethics laws as well as possibly violating Government Code section 8314. The city’s municipal code also prohibits use of the city logo by officials for non-official city business. Kalasho was previously warned in August and again in September, after complaints were lodged, says Mitchell.

JUDGE, CITING RACISM BEHIND TRUMP’S ORDER TO REMOVE NONWHITE IMMIGRANTS, TEMPORARILY BLOCKS DEPORTATIONS OF HAITIANS, SUDANESE AND CENTRAL AMERICANS WITH PROTECTED STATUS

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 3, 2018 (San Francisco) – U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco has temporarily blocked an order by the Trump Administration to revoke the legal status of over 300,000 immigrants who had been granted temporary protection in the U.S.  after fleeing violence and natural disasters in Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Some have lived in the U.S. for over 20 years.  The order also protects children who are U.S. citizens, whose parents have been ordered deported.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS: FOUR CANDIDATES VIE FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Dave Myers, Bill Baber, Akilah Weber and Guy McWhirter

 

September 29, 2018 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Councilmembers Bill Baber and Guy McWhirter are running on their records. Their challengers, retired Sheriff’s commander Dave Myers and physician Akilah Weber, are running on the slogan “Elect a cop and a doc.” East County Magazine sat down with all four candidates on our radio show, originally aired on KNSJ. 

Key issues in La Mesa include affordable housing and development vs. community character, downtown revitalization, crime and public safety, public health,  marijuana regulations, the city’s climate action plan, and a potential new library.

You can click the audio links to hear each interview, and scroll down for highlights. Candidates are listed in the order that they scheduled their interviews.

Audio: 

Interview with Dave Myers, La Mesa City Council candidate 2018
Interview with Bill Baber, La Mesa City Councilmember on candidacy 2018
Interview with Dr. Akilah Weber, La Mesa City Council candidate 2018
Interview with Guy McWhirter, La Mesa City Councilmember on candidacy 2018

VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS OCTOBER 22





East County News Service

October 3, 2018 (San Diego) -- If you want to vote in the Nov. 6th General Election, the deadline to register is Monday, Oct. 22nd.

Besides new voters, people who moved recently or changed their name will also need to complete a new registration form.

If you’re not sure about your registration, you can check your status online at sdvote.com. If you’re not registered or need to change your registration, you’ll find that information there, too.<--break->

BUSINESS AND LABOR GROUPS SUPPORT PROP 1 TO BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING, PROVIDE AID TO RENTERS AND HOMEBUYERS

By Miriam Raftery

October 3, 2018 (San Diego) -- One of the most important initiatives on the statewide ballot is Proposition 1, a four billion dollar bond measure to fund affordable housing construction, as well as rental and home loan subsidies. View a short video by Cal Matters here, and scroll down for more details. 

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Campaign supporters prepare for precinct walk with Ammar Campa-Najjjar, challenger to indicted Congressman Duncan D. Hunter

October 2, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Fall is in the air, ballots will soon be mailed and election day is fast approaching.  Across our region, East County candidates are on the campaign trail, finding a variety of ways to get their message out. Here are a few shots of local candidates in action.

WASHINGTON POST GIVES DUNCAN HUNTER AD FOUR PINNOCHIOS; HIT RIVAL WITH NAKED 'ANTI-MUSLIM BIAS'

 

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Screenshot from Duncan Hunter campaign ad suggests that Ammar Campa-Najjar’s father said “They deserved to die,” referring to Israelis killed in 1972 Olympic attack. Image via Youtube.com

October 1, 2018 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan Hunter’s YouTube ad attacking his Democratic rival has received four Pinocchios — the worst rating, used for “whoppers” — from The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker column.

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