East County News Service
October 29, 2018 (El Cajon) – Even Democrats are supporting the Republican in the El Cajon City Council race.
Republican Gary Kendrick, who has served on the city council since 2002, has gained the support of a number of prominent Democrats in his race against Ben Kalasho, a city councilman since 2016.
Kalasho registered as a Democrat in 2012, although he attempted earlier this year to change his party affiliation that will appear on the November ballot from Democrat to the Federalist Party, which has not been in existence since the early 1800s. San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu rejected Kalasho’s application because the Federalist Party is not qualified in California. Founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and John Adams are credited with establishing the Federalist Party, considered as America’s first political party which operated from the early 1790s to 1816. Kalasho will be listed on ballots with no party preference, county officials said.
The two El Cajon City Council incumbents are vying for District 1 seat on the council in the city’s first election since switching from city-wide to by-district voting. The winner will hold the seat until 2022. District 1 covers the Fletcher Hills community and other portions of El Cajon south of Main Street.
James Elia, a Democrat candidate for the State Assembly’s 71st District running against Republican Randy Voepel, is supporting Kendrick. “As a lifelong Democrat, it’s not often that I prefer a Republican over a Democrat,” said Elia, accountant, director of operations for the Neighborhood Market Association. “However, in the El Cajon city council race, I am supporting Gary Kendrick. I trust Gary with the future of the city. He is truthful, level headed and truly loves the city. He is the best choice and deserves everyone’s support.”
Mark Lane, Elia’s campaign manager, said, “Our support of Gary Kendrick for El Cajon City Council has brought together Democrats and Republicans in unified opposition to Ben Kalasho. That’s how horrible Ben is. Ben is unethical, dishonest and downright dangerous. We have obvious policy differences with Gary, but for the betterment of the city, Gary is a far better choice to represent the 24,000 residents in El Cajon’s District One.”
Lane sued Kalasho in federal court for violating his free speech rights by blocking his posts on Kalasho’s social media, a case that resulted in a settlement. Kalasho is currently being sued for sexual harassment of contestants in a beauty pageant he runs, as well as for defamation of character by the pageant contestants, a taco shop owner and an attorney. He has previously pled guilty to workman’s compensation fraud. He currently has three police complaints filed against him in El Cajon alleging that he threatened to assault a process server and an ECM reporter with an attack dog, as well as an allegation that he stalked and harassed Kendrick’s son.
Kendrick is also endorsed by the El Cajon Police Officers’ Association, East County Chamber of Commerce, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and fellow city council members Bob McClellan and Steve Goble. Other elected officials endorsing Kendrick include: State Senator Joel Anderson; State Assemblymember Randy Voepel; La Mesa City Council members Guy McWhirter and Bill Bater; Santee Mayor John Mento and Santee City Council members Ronn Hall, Rob McNelis and Brian Jones; Lemon Grove City Council member Jerry Jones; Ernie Dronenburg, County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk. Local school board officials endorsing Kendrick include: Jim Kelly and Gary Woods, Grossmont Union High School District; Jill Barto, Jo Medina-Alegria, Cajon Valley School District.
Kendrick’s campaign website is www.vote4kendrick.com.