Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this
By Bonnie B. Price, PhD, and John Martes
April 24, 2012 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon is a city of 99,478, with 37,157 registered voters (4/6/12 SDROV).  Democrats number 12,453, Republicans 14,416, and No Party Preference (NPP) 8,294.  El Cajon is the poorest city in the county, with 30% of its population living at or below the poverty line.  It is a multi-ethnic, multicultural city having this composition: 57% white, 28% Hispanic, 4% Asian & Pacific Islander, 6% Black, and 5% other.  El Cajon’s population is 51% female and 49% male.  (All population data are from the 2010 Census available at
The city council has taken a number of actions over time that have further impoverished the city.
Here’s a litany of some of their actions:

1.   Imposed the highest sales tax in the county for 20 years to cope with a structural deficit that only covers two years.   Sales taxes hit the poorest more than those who have greater wealth.

2.   Increased the sewer rates by 98% over last year.  These rates hit the poorest more than those who have greater wealth, as well.

3.   Created an initiative on the June 2012 ballot to make the city a charter city, independent of California oversight.  The initiative will hurt working people who are employed on city contracts.  Other issues are likely to emerge under a charter that removes current limitations.

4.   Filled a recent city council seat vacated by a woman, with a white male.  Now the council is filled with five white males.  Among those who volunteered to fill the vacancy was a Black woman, Vickie Butcher, and Iraqi-American male, Ben Kalasho.  The mayor did not even want to hear from volunteers or their representatives, but he was persuaded to allow them to speak.  Thereafter, he said he already had someone in mind to fill the seat and the others on the council agreed to only bring forth their own choices and cast a vote.

5.   Made a commitment to move forward with a plan to raze the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) and put a Marriott Courtyard hotel in its place.  The performing arts community committee had been promised that ECPAC would be repaired two years ago, and then reopened for their use. Nothing was discussed about ECPAC being city-owned land that should be assessed for its value, then opened for competitive bidding, if the council wanted to implement the plan. 

There are many other issues not listed here that make the city council the most unrepresentative, unresponsive city government in the county.  
We have until May 21, 2012 to get more people to register to vote.   Then, we need to get them to vote against the city council initiative to make El Cajon a charter city, independent of California restrictions on what the city council may choose to do. 
NO on PROP D is the name of a citizen group committed to ensuring responsive, responsible government in El Cajon.  Anyone who wants to join the effort should call Jonathan Goetz at (619) 633-5184 or send an email to  and volunteer to help as soon as possible.

The views in this editorial reflect the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact 

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.


No on Prop D

The above article makes the case that the city council cannot be trusted to act in a way that supports their constituents. Voting in favor of Prop D will only make it easier for the city council to continue to ignore the needs of the citizens of El Cajon. The Green Party of San Diego recommends a no vote on Prop D as I do. Hugh Moore, El Cajon resident

Charter City

Let me start of by saying, I value your opinion and ultimately it will be the will of the people that decide the fate of El Cajon’s charter city status. I personally, am in favor of the charter city designation as I believe it will make more projects fundable by allowing contractors to be more competitive in the bidding process and lower overall costs. In turn, I see it as a way to actually increase the opportunities for employment in El Cajon.

You do make valid observations on what the Mayor and Council have done over the years. I am against the sales and rate hikes as well. I was also at the meeting for the vacant council position to put my name in the mix, having finished 2nd in the voting to re-elected councilman Gary Kendrick in the last election (2010). I do find flaw in the argument that because the council and mayor are all white males they cannot be objective and supportive of the diversity of El Cajon. I’m also against the removal of the East County Performing Arts Center. I am involved with the group that is looking at the cost of opening and operating the center. For more information on that you could check this link

In my opinion the place to start is with the council. The election in November will have three seats open for re-election. I will be running along with some other strong candidates and if the voters are truly tired of the political climate in El Cajon this will be the time to make your voices heard.