Politics

JUDGE FINDS FACTS TRUE AND ADMISSIBLE IN CASE AGAINST KALASHOS: FAKED NUDE PHOTOS, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, DEFAMATION, AND OFFER TO TRADE SEX FOR PAGEANT CROWN

 

 

Judicial finding that Kalashos engaged in cyber-harassment, defamation and other intimidating actions comes within days of ECM reporter Paul Kruze filing a police complaint alleging that Councilman Kalasho threatened him with an attack dog and defamed him on social media.

Update: The judge's tentative ruling is now final and the link has been updated.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ben and Jessica Kalasho at  a Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce event, before the U.S. Patent and Trademark office forced them to change the name of the organization due to trademark infringement.

July 6, 2018 (El Cajon) – Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has issued a judgment granting a motion  filed by beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop owner against El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica. The ruling allows documents and a supporting declaration  submitted by plaintiffs’ lawyers to be admitted as facts at trial and  most damning, orders evidence of the following admissions to be submitted  at trial as true facts--meaning the Kalashos cannot dispute the accuracy of these findings in court:

  • Kalasho, his wife their entities created fake nude photos of Miss Middle East pageant Queen Zhala Tawfiq and published them online “intending to cause and causing Ms. Tawfiq severe emotional distress.”
  • Kalasho propositioned pageant contestant Paris Kargar, offering sex in exchange to ensure she won the 2016 Miss Middle East pageant. He made statements indicating her declining this proposition cost her a fair shot at the title.
  • Kalasho whispered in Kargar’s ear, “You are so f*cking hot, I cannot take my eyes off you.” He also made comments about her breasts jiggling as she walked down the runway.
  • Kalasho conducted one-on-one recorded interviews with 2016 contestants including Tawfiq and Karger, but destroyed these videos after the lawsuit in which Kargar contends she was harassed during her interview.
  • Kalasho,his wife and his entities created multiple alias Facebook profiles used to make defamatory posts against Tres Taqueria, including fabricated poll results and false claims of food poisoning after the restaurant owner refused to post Kalasho campaign signs.

SENATOR HUESO NAMED TO CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

 

East County News Service

July 5, 2018 (San Diego) -- California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) has announced the appointment of Senators who will serve on the Conference Committee on Wildfire Preparedness and Response. They include Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), whose district includes the southern portion of East County.

FLOWERS, BUDGET AND TAX PROPOSALS TAKE ROOT AT LEMON GROVE COUNCIL MEETING

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo:  Lemon Grove Management Analyst Miranda Evans, smiling, received flowers for her self-taught videography in Lemon Grove's 40th birthday year of celebration and history minutes.

July 5, 2018 (Lemon Grove) -- It wasn’t all flowers Tuesday as the City Council discussed roads, sidewalks, a memorandum of understanding with firefighters and bringing various proposals before voters in order to raise revenue for the City of Lemon Grove, which is forecasting a budget deficit.

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES ASYLUM SEEKERS MUST HAVE HEARINGS AND CAN’T BE ARBITRARILY DETAINED

 

Despite having committed no crime, some asylum seekers have been kept in windowless cells for over a year, never allowed outside even a single day

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – People who ask for asylum when they arrive at the U.S. border after fleeing violence and persecution have committed no crime, unlike people who cross the border illegally. Yet the Trump administration has been imprisoning asylum seekers for over a year, even after they passed background checks, were found likely to receive asylum, and in some cases, even after a court granted them asylum but the administration was appealing the cases.

CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS JOINS DEMOCRATIC WOMEN IN PRESSING TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO EXPLAIN “WHERE ARE THE GIRLS?”

 

East County News Service

June 28, 2018 (San Diego) – Earlier this month, members of Congress visited detention facilities holding boys separated from their immigrant parents at the border. But thus far, no members have been allowed to go inside facilities holding girls who were taken from their mothers or fathers, and no photos have been released showing girls inside the detention centers including one in Lemon Grove.  Now San Diego Congresswoman Susan Davis has signed a letter along with over 50 Democratic women members of Congress pressing the  Secretaries of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to release details about immigrant children separated from their parents. 

JUSTICE KENNEDY TO RETIRE IN JULY: TRUMP NOMINATION EXPECTED TO SECURE CONSERVATIVE CONTROL OF SUPREME COURT

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2018 (Washington D.C.)-  Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced he will retire on July 31st.   Kennedy has long been a swing vote on key issues including abortion, gay rights, and affirmative action, often siding with liberal justices in the key years.

Many key rulings have been decided by a single one-vote margin, so the 82-year-old justice’s retirement means President Donald Trump will have an opportunity to secure solid conservative control of the high court, potentially for decades to come.

SUPERVISORS APPROVE BUDGET INCREASE: PRIORITIES INCLUDE HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2018 (San Diego) – San Diego’s County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a budget of over $6 billion budget for the new fiscal year starting July 1st, an increase of 8.4 percent over last year.

TRUMP NOMINATES ROBERT BREWER TO BE U.S. ATTORNEY IN SAN DIEGO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2018 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump has nominated Robert “Bob” Brewer to serve as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California.  Brewer is a former assistant U.S. attorney and deputy district attorney who once ran for San Diego district attorney, but was defeated by incumbent Bonnie Dumanis. 

Brewer has prosecuted cases including espionage, bank robberies, smuggling, narcotics, murder for hire and civil rights violations.

He has spent most of his career, however, as a defense attorney representing clients such as Sempra Energy at a time when Sempra was facing bribery allegations in Mexico. In 2011, he was named San Diego’s criminal defense white collar lawyer of the year by Best Lawyers. He’s also been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America.

CALIFORNIA POLITICANS REACT TO TRUMP ORDER ON FAMILY SEPARATION; STATE FILES LAWSUIT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2018 (San Diego) – East County legislators and California’s state attorney general are taking action in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to end separation of immigrant children and parents. Some argue that the directive does not go far enough to protect children and babies, since they could still be detained with parents and since it’s unclear how or when youngsters already taken from parents will be reunited.

Trump's reversal came after audiotape of terrified, crying children at a detention facility was released by ProPublica and after a judge sharply criticized the Trump administration upon learning that records were not kept when some children were taken from their anguished parents, who have been unable to get any information on their children's whereabouts 

"I can’t understand this," the exasperated judge reportedly told the attorney. "If someone at the jail takes your wallet, they give you a receipt. They take your kids, and you get nothing? Not even a slip of paper?”

CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS TOUR MIGRANT CHILDREN DETENTION FACIITY IN EL CAJON, DENOUNCE SEPARATION FROM PARENTS

 

 

Protest planned Saturday downtown

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

Photo: Congressman Juan Vargas, right, and Congresswoman Susan Davis, left, arrive at child detention facility in El Cajon.

June 18, 2018 (El Cajon, CA) – San Diego Congressional members Susan Davis and Juan Vargas joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic members of the Hispanic Caucus in touring three local facilities holding child immigrants, including a fenced facility in EL Cajon with 65 migrant boys, 10 percent of whom were forcibly separated from their parents by the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting all undocumented parents.  In the past six weeks, the federal government has acknowledged taking away over 2,000 children from parents at the border, including infants and toddlers.

“The United States should have a zero tolerance policy for the immoral treatment of children,” said Rep. Davis (CA-53), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee whose district includes part of El Cajon. “We are a nation of values and we ask our men and women in uniform to defend those values every day. This policy is in no way consistent with those values.”

SANTEE ACTIVISTS HOLD TWO PETITION DRIVES THIS SUNDAY ON TRAFFIC GRIDLOCK INITIATIVE AND PETITION TO STOP GAS PIPELINE

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 June 17, 2018 (Santee) – Activists in Santee are spending Father’s Day  gathering signatures on two petitions on issues impacting Santee and Mission Trails Regional Park areas.   

 The first aims to put the Santee General Plan Initiative on the ballot to require voter approval of development projects larger than the general plan currently allows.  The second calls on the California Public Utilities Commission to halt SDG&E’s proposed gas pipeline. Click links in this paragraph to read ECM’s prior articles on these issues.  Below are details on where you can find petition gathers and rallies: 

SAN DIEGO REPUBLICANS ARE READY FOR A FIGHT

 

By Eric Bartl

June 14, 2018 (San Diego) -- It wasn't your typical political rally. About 600 people gathered for the San Diego County Republican Party’s bi-monthly event Monday evening, June 11th, at the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley. It was the first time California’s 2018 statewide Republican nominees appeared together.

G-7 ALLIES SAY TRUMP BACKED OUT OF AGREEMENT IN TWEETSTORM HOURS LATER

 

 

Does photo released by Germany’s Chancellor show a bold president standing up for U.S. interests, or a petulant outsider betraying America’s strongest allies and being scolded by a powerful woman leader?  It all depends on your perspective.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Jesco Denzel, posted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel via Instagram

June 12, 2018 (Berlin) – Hours after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced at a news conference that leaders of all seven nations at the G-7 summit signed a communique agreeing on a broad range of economic and foreign policy goals, a statement affirmed other allied leaders, President Donald Trump sent tweets aboard Air Force One blasting apart the reputed deal. Trump accused Trudeau of “false statements” and said he has instructed Congress “not to endorse the Communique.”

Further frustrating allies, Trump also called for Russia to be readmitted to the G-7. Russia was kicked out for its backing of the Crimean invasion, a violating of international law, the New York Times reports.

TRUMP ASKS COURT TO TAKE AWAY PROTECTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS, BREAKS CAMPAIGN PROMISES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 9, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – The Trump administration is asking a court to strike down a provision in the Affordable Care Act which requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, the Los Angeles Times reports.

JUIDICAL RACE OUTCOMES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2018 (San Diego) – Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep, who was censured for 29 counts of judicial misconduct, failed to win reelection outright, earning only 31.5% of the vote – far short needed for a majority.  He will enter a run-off race in November against Deputy District Attorney Matt Brower, also a judge advocate in the military, who earned 21.7% of the vote in the five-man race.

Brower is rated as qualified by the County Bar Association, which rated Kreep as lacking qualifications.

STATEWIIDE ELECTION RESULTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2018 (Sacramento) –  In the June primary races for statewide offices, The Governor’s race will see a run-off between Lieutenant. Governor Gavin Newsom and Republican businessman John Cox. (See our story.)  

Republicans are shut out of the Lieutenant Governor run-off between two Democrats, Eleni Kounalakis and Ed Hernandez.

Democrat Alex Padilla won his race for Secretary of State outright with over 51% of the vote. 

 Incumbent Attorney General Xavier Becerra, A Democrat who has filed numerous lawsuits against the Trump administration on issues ranging from environmental protections to immigration, won over 45% of the vote, not enough to win outright.  He will square off against Republican Steven Bailey, who finished ahead of Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, a Democrat.

GOVERNOR'S RACE TO PIT NEWSOM AGAINST COX

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2018 (Sacramento) – Republican fears of being shut-out of the gubernatorial race in California did not come to pass. The November run-off election will pit Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, against John Cox, a Republican businessman. 

The two have dramatically different visions for California's future, giving voters a clear choice.  Having a Republican on the top of the ticket is also expected to help the GOP with turnout in November, a factor that could help the party's down-ticket race candidates as well in California, a state dominated by Democrats who currently hold every statewide office and control both houses of the Legislature.

FEINSTEIN GETS QUADRUPLE THE VOTES OF ANY CHALLENGER, BUT NOT ENOUGH TO WIN OUTRIGHT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 6, 2018 (Sacramento) – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein won 43.8% of the vote in a primary—four times the number of votes won by any of her three dozen or so challengers. But she fell short of the 50% needed to win outright.  So in the fall, a run-off between Feinstein and likely second-place finisher Kevin De Leone, former State Senate president, apears the likely scenario.

GOP'S HARKEY LEADS IN RACE TO REPLACE ISSA; DEMS LEVIN, JACOBS VIE FOR NOVEMBER SPOT

 

By Ken Stone, credit to Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Diane Harkey (left) with a supporter at Golden Hall in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

June 6, 2018 (San Diego) - In a race Democrats are eager to win to increase their strength in Washington, Republican Diane Harkey grabbed the lead Tuesday evening in the battle to replace retiring Rep. Darrell Issa, but a Democrat appears bound to challenge her in the November runoff.

DEMOCRATS FINISH STRONG IN GROSSMONT-CUYAMACA COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD RACES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 6, 2018 (El Cajon) – Although school board races are officially nonpartisan, the political parties weighed in with endorsements backing candidates in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. Per the district rules, the top two-vote getters in each district will square off in a run-off, though Democrats won majorities in two of the three contests.

REPUBLICANS SWEEP FOUR SAN DIEGO COUNTYWIDE ELECTIONS

 

Story and photos by Jonathan Goetz

June 6, 2018 (San Diego) – It was a strong night for Republicans running countywide in San Diego yesterday. The GOP swept all four countywide seats on the ballot June 5, 2018.

East County Magazine met up with all four winners at Golden Hall, and received some of their reactions as early results arrived at Golden Hall, Election Central.

LUND TRAILS MUNOZ IN COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION RACE

 

 

Update June 6, 2018 -- With 100% of precicnts counted and only late mail-in and provisionals remaining, Munoz is up with 56.73% over Lund with 43.07%.

 

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz; photo by Jonathan Goetz

June 5, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- Incumbent County Board of Education member Alicia Munoz has fended off a challenge by East County Chamber of Commerce president and community college instructor Eric Lund.  Munoz, who had heavy backing from the American Federation of Teachers, has 57.46% of the vote over Lund's 42.34%, with 20% of precincts reported.

"It's been a good learning experience. This is my first time running and I'll be more prepared next time," Lund told East County Magazine.

JONES DEFEATS FIRE CAPTAIN GRIFFITH IN STATE SENATE RACE

 

Joel Anderson, termed out of State Senate, advances to run-off for Board of Equalization

By Miriam Raftery

File photos: Brian Jones and Jeff Griffith, left; Joel Anderson, right

June 5, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – In the open 38th state Senate seat being vacated by Joel Anderson due to term limits, former Assemblyman and current Santee Councilman Brian Jones,  a Republican, has secured 58.7%. Cal Fire Captain and paramedic Jeff Griffith, a Democrat running on a platform of fighting to improve public safety, has nearly 40% in this heavily Republican district.  Assuming Jones remains over 50% once all late mail-in and provisional ballots are counted, he will win the election outright and there will not be a run-off race.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND SHERIFF LOOK HEADED TO REELECTION

 

 

 By Miriam Raftery

Jonathan Goetz contributed to this report.

 June 6, 2018 (San Diego) – District Attorney Summer Stephans and Sheriff Bill Gore looks likely to win reelection. 

With 15.3% of votes counted, she has over two-thirds of the votes at 64.53%.  Challenger Genevieve Jones-Wright, a progressive Democrat, has only 35.32% of the vote.

Sheriff Gore has 57.2% of the vote vs. Dave Myers, a Democratic Challenger from within Gore's own department, who has 42.6%. 

CAMPA-NAJJAR HEADS TO RUN-OFF AGAINST HUNTER

 

 

 

Update June 6, 2018 9 a.m. -- According to the California Secretary of State, with 100% of precincts counted but not late mail-ins or provisionals, the results are: Duncan Hunter 48.7%, Ammar Campa-Najjar 16.3%, Bill Wells 13.1%, Josh Butner 12.1%, Patrick Malloy 6.0%, Shamus Sayed 2.1%, and Richard Kahle 1.1%.  The finish order for candidates was the same in both San Diego and Riverside County, with only late mail-in and provisionals yet to be tallied.

Campa-Najjar, who appears headed to the November run-off against Hunter, previously did an interview with ECM . Hear the interview and read highlights here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hear-our-interview-ammar-campa-najjar-...

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ammar Campa-Najjar supporters. by Jonathan Goetz

June 5, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- Beleaguered Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter could be in trouble come the November election.  Currently under  criminal investigation for allegedly spending lavish amounts of campaign funds for personal use, he currently has less than half the vote in the primary race.

With 15.3% of precincts tallied, Hunter has 47.62% of the vote.  The big question is who will advance to the top-two run-off election in November. Presently, Democrats Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Obama administration labor official, and retired Navy Seal Josh Butner are in second and third place with 15.45% and 13.79% respectively, followed closely by El Cajon Mayor  Bill Wells at 13.42%.  Democrat Patrick Malloy has a 6.36% and Shamus Sayed 2.04%.

ELIA LEADING WILKES IN RACE TO CHALLENGE VOEPEL FOR ASSEMBLY SEAT

 

Update June 6, 2018 -- Across both San Diego and Riverside County, with 100% of precincts tallied but not late mail-in or provisional ballots, according to the Califiornia Secretary of State the results are:  Randy Voepel 44.5%,  James Elia 31.3%, and Larry Wilske 24.2%.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Jonathan Goetz, who also contributed to this report

June 5, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- In the 71st Assembly district held by  Republican Randy Voepel, with 15.3% of precincts counted, Voepel is on top in San Diego County with 44.13% but Democratic challenger James Elia is in second with 32.2% of the vote among the roughly 34,000 ballots tallied so far. 

Republican challenger Larry Wilske, a retired Navy Seal, had attacked Voepel with accusation of stolen valor, claiming Voepel inflated his military record.

In conservative Riverside County, which has a small percentage of voters, Wilske is actually ahead of the incumbent. Among Riverside's roughly 3,000 votes counted thus far, Wilske has 35.26%, followed by  Elia at 33.17%, and Voepel at just 31.57%. Voepel has strongest name recognition in East County, where he formerly served as mayor of Santee.

"We laid it all on the line, we've knocked on as many doors as we can and we look forward to the end of the night and we're confident we're going to November," Elia, an accountant, said tonight.

ELECTION NIGHT RESULTS: WHEN TO EXPECT THEM

June 5, 2018 (San Diego) -- On election night, we all want to know who won what race and which proposition passed – and as soon as possible! But the June 5 gubernatorial primary election results may take a little while to come in. Here’s why.

  • A high number of registered voters: San Diego County has over 1.69 million registered voters.
  • 1,444 polling places across the county.
  • More mail ballots than ever before were issued by the Registrar’s office, over 1.1 million.

SANTEE-BASED GUN OWNERS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES ENDORSEMENTS FOR JUNE 5TH

 

East County News Service

June 3, 2018 (San Diego's East County) – 
San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), a Santee-based political action committee promoting Second Amendment rights, has announced its endorsement of nine candidates for the June 5 election.

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