El Cajon

BEN AND JESSICA KALASHO SLATED TO APPEAR DEC. 7 AT JUDGMENT DEBTOR’S EXAM IN FRAUD AND SEXUAL HARRASMENT CASE

Judge orders bench warrant with $5000 bail to compel Jessica Kalasho to appear after no-show; Kalashos reportedly take post-election vacation, loaned failed campaign $10,000, vow to drop social media

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, left: Councilman Ben Kalasho and his attorney, James Finigan

November 30, 2018 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica, are slated to return to Judge Kenneth Medel’s San Diego Superior Court room next week for yet another judgment debtor examination, a proceeding used by judgment creditors to find ways to collect a judgment from a defendant. What will be different this time is that Jessica Kalasho may be arrested by the Sheriff’s Department (with bail set at $5000) should she not follow Medel’s order to appear.

The hearing, coincidentally, is set to take place on the U.S.’s “Day of Infamy,” Dec. 7th, the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by Imperial Japan upon the United States which caused the United States to enter World War II. Ominously, Kalasho received a warning not to rile the judge's "dark side" at the close of the proceeding.

STARS TO SHINE AT MOTHER GOOSE PARADE NOV. 18



World War II paratrooper Tom Rice to serve as Grand Marshal



By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2018 (El Cajon) – The Mother Goose Parade, El Cajon’s most cherished tradition for 72 years, will roll out on Sunday, November 18th starting at 1 p.m. in downtown EL Cajon.   

The theme this year is “The Sky’s The Limit!”  The parade’s Grand Marshal Tom Rice, a 96 year-old World War II Veteran and a former Army paratrooper.  He flew over the skies of Normandy on D-Day on June 6, 1944, as part of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, called the “Screaming Eagles.” He's been awarded both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart!

In addition to elaborate floats, marching bands, giant inflatable balloon characters, clowns and equestrian entries, there’s also a star-studded cast of child and adult celebrities in the line-up.

Topping the list are Brandon Tyler Russell, best known for his role as Dr. Gregory Williams (aka Baby George/Baby O’Malley) on Grey’s Anatomy, Colton Shires from the daytime soap “Passions,” and two-time Emmy Award winner Vincent DePaul best known for his role as Father Leon on The Bay, British feature film star Scott Butler. (photos)

EL CAJON MAYOR WELLS AND COUNCILMAN KENDRICK THUMP CHALLENGERS

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo by Jesse Kendrick: Mayor  Wells and Councilman Kendrick savor Election Night victories

November 7, 2018 (El Cajon)--El Cajon voters returned Mayor Bill Wells and Councilma/Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kendrick to their positions on the El Cajon City Council on Tuesday night with veritable knockout punches against their challengers.

With 86 percent of precincts reporting, incumbent Mayor Bill Wells maintained his lead all evening with 66% (7799 votes) while his challenger, East County businessman Joel A. Scalzitti garnered only 26% (3064 votes). Robert M. Weaver, Jr., in spite of dropping out of the race early and not mounting a campaign because of federal Hatch Act conflicts with his position with the federal government, garnered 8% of the vote with 905 votes.

With nearly 88% precincts reporting, Councilman Kendrick was successful in staving off a challenge from fellow Councilman Ben Kalasho by a landslide. Kendrick got a whopping 85% (3408 votes) with Kalasho only getting 15% (621 votes). 

ECM EXCLUSIVE: EL CAJON COUNCILMEMBER BEN KALASHO SETTLES LAWSUIT OVER ILLEGAL USE OF CITY RESOURCES

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 1, 2018 (El Cajon) - El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho today signed a settlement to end his latest legal battle with the city he represents, after his fellow Councilmembers voted unanimously on Monday to sue Kalasho for illegal use of city resources in his campaign to unseat incumbent Gary Kendrick.

The City had intended to bring the matter to the attention of the County of San Diego District Attorney, the California State Attorney General, and the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH MAYOR BILL WELLS ON HIS REELECTION CAMPAIGN





Listen to our interview by clicking this link



East County News Service

October 26, 2018 (El Cajon)—Mayor Bill Wells sat down for an in-depth interview with East County Magazine Show’s producer Miriam Raftery.

You can hear the full interviewed aired on KNSJ Radio at the audio link, or scroll down for highlights as he discusses his achievements as Mayor and his goals for the city if reelected.

Audio: 

AIRPLANE LANDS ON I-8 IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson

October 19, 2018 (El Cajon) – After losing engine power aboard a small plane, a flight instructor took over controls from a student pilot and made an emergency landing on westbound Interstate 8 in El Cajon.  The flawless landing avoided damage to the aircraft, vehicles on the freeway or property; no one was injured.

The pilot, 25, and student pilot, 36, both of San Diego, were inbound to Gillespie Field in El Cajon when the emergency occurred, said Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway patrol.

Two lanes were blocked briefly until the aircraft was pushed to the shoulder, blocking the Mollison Avenue off-ramp which remains closed while the plane’s wings are disassembled for removal from the Interstate.

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.”

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:

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR HIT-AND-RUN CRASH THAT INJURED BOY ON BICYCLE IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 5, 2018 (Lakeside) – Acting on a tip from the public, El Cajon Police traffic investigators and San Diego Sheriff’s deputies last night visited a Lakeside address, where they found the Blue Honda Fit identified as the suspect vehicle in a hit and run that seriously injured a 9-year-old boy on a bicycle yesterday morning.

After conducting an investigation, officers had a brief stand-off with the suspect, then entered the home and found her hiding under a bed. Courtney Webber, 25, was arrested and booked into the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility on felony charges.

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.

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.

EL CAJON POLICE SEEK DRIVER WHO HIT AND SERIOUSLY INJURED CHILD

 

ECM photographer who aided victim gives eyewitness account of accident he calls "heartbreaking," calls for more funds for police to enforce traffic laws

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Suspect vehicle, from surveillance footage

Update October 5, 2018 -- An arrest has been made in this case.  Read details here. 

October 4, 2018 (El Cajon) – A 9-year-old boy on a bicycle was hit and seriously injured this morning while crossing an intersection at Main Street and Sunshine Avenue. Police are seeking a woman described by witnesses as possibly blond and driving a blue hatchback or SUV, possibly a Honda Fit, who fled the scene of the accident.

ECM photographer Robert Gehr was walking home from the post office between 7:30 and 8 a.m. when he saw the boy ride past him, press a button and wait for the green light, then ride across the intersection. He witnessed the vehicle strike the child.

EAST COUNTY EDC HOSTS LARGEST MANUFACTURING EXPO IN SAN DIEGO

 

East County Seeks to Inspire the Next Generation of Manufacturers

Source:  East County Economic Development Council

 

September 30, 2018 (El Cajon) -- San Diego’s East County is kicking off Manufacturing Week by hosting the largest Manufacturing Expo in the County on Tuesday, October 2 at Allen Airways Flying Museum (2020 N. Marshall Ave.) in El Cajon from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The Expo brings together over 30 manufacturers ranging from the industrial and aerospace realm to candy and wine makers from throughout San Diego! The event is part of Manufacturing Day, a nation-wide effort to celebrate and showcase modern manufacturing and meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and skilled-workforce.

EL CAJON POLICE SEEK HIT AND RUN ALTIMA DRIVER WHO SERIOUSLY INJURED MAN IN WHEELCHAIR

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 22, 2018 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police seek public help to find the driver of a silver Nissan Altima that struck and seriously injured a 58-year-old man in a wheelchair Thursday night around 9:25 p.m. in the 1000 block of East Main Street.

Officers and paramedics responding to a call of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle found the victim unconscious near the center left turn lane, alongside his wheelchair.  He was transported to a hospital with life-threatening head injuries, says Lt. Steve Kirk.

KENDRICK-KALASHO RACE HEATS UP

 

 

Fact check: Kendrick mailer on Kalasho “fraud and sex scandals” is true.

Kalasho removes social media post accusing him of stalking opponent's home -- after being served with federal lawsuit for removing critical posts and violating First Amendment.

By Miriam Raftery

September 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – Redistricting has pitted Councilmembers Gary Kendrick and Ben Kalasho against each other in what’s shaping up to be one of the most contentious election battles in East County’s history.   

A mailer from Kendrick’s campaign warns voters, “Judge ruled against Ben Kalasho in fraud and sex scandals.”  No, that’s not fake news.  The flyer contains actual headlines and excerpts from East County Magazine and the San Diego Union-Tribune documenting the numerous legal findings, allegations and scandals involving Kalasho.

BENCH WARRANT ISSUED FOR ARREST OF JESSICA KALASHO

 

 

Judge issues warrant because of no-show by Councilman’s wife at key court hearing

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

September 1, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Life got way more complicated on Friday for Jessica Kalasho, wife of embattled El Cajon City Council member Ben Kalasho.

Jessica Kalasho was scheduled to appear on Friday morning at a judgement debtor’s conference in San Diego Superior Court, however she was a no-show--much to the dismay of presiding Judge Timothy B. Taylor and attorney Jimmie Parker. Parker is representing three contestants who participated in a beauty pageant put on by the Kalashos in 2017 and the owners of an El Cajon taco shop. Plaintiffs allege sexual harassment, fraud and defamation by the Kalashos.

HYDROGEN EXPLOSION IN EL CAJON

 

East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts

August 29, 2018 (El Cajon) -- A fire caused by ignition of hydrogen at a filling station where a hydrogen truck was refueling has prompted evacuation of schools and delays in trolley service in El Cajon.

Heartland Fire advises the public to avoid the 1100 block of W. Bradley (near Cuyamaca) until around 1 p.m. Cuyamaca is closed from Friendship Dr to Vernon Wy & W. Bradley is closed from Cuyamaca to Johnson Ave

Metropolitan Transit Services advises, "Sycuan Green Line trains are turning at Arnele Station & Orange Line trains are turning at El Cajon Transit Center. Expect delays."

COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO PLED GUILTY TO CRIMINAL WORKERS' COMP FRAUD IN 2015, REMAINS ON PROBATION

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho, August 2015

August 9, 2018 (El Cajon)--An exclusive investigation by East County Magazine has uncovered a criminal case in which El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho pled guilty to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud in October 2015 (court case #MD094871).  View full documents.

Kalasho was on probation for his crimes, both misdemeanors, when he ran for and won his seat on the City Council in 2016. He remains on probation until October 1, 2018. He was also fined.

Kalasho has pulled papers to run for El Cajon City Council again in November.   

POLICE SEEK HELP TO IDENTIFY SECOND POSSIBLE SUSPECT IN FATAL EL CAJON STABBING

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 29, 2018 (El Cajon) – A man stabbed in front of a 7-11 store in the 700 block of Jamacha yesterday afternoon died after being transported to a local hospital, says Lt. Walt Miller with the El Cajon Police Department. 

Soon after the stabbing, reported at 2:05 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to a burglary at an apartment in the 1200 block of north Mollison.  They took a burglary suspect to a hospital  for medical issues unrelated to his arrest, according to Lt. Miller.

“Investigators are exploring the possibility that this suspect may be related to the stabbing based on a physical description provided by witnesses,” said Miller. That suspect’s identity has not been released. However a second suspect may still be at large.

CITIZENS HELP POLICE NAB SUSPECT AFTER STABBING OF 75-YEAR-OLD MAN IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2018 (El Cajon)—A 75-year-old man suffered multiple non-life threatening stab wounds tonight in an attack at Second Street and East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. Witnesses called police at 7:55 p.m. to report the victim was on the ground near the intersection.

The suspect fled west on Madison, says Lieutenant Jason Taub, adding, “Witnesses were able to keep the suspect under observation and advise the police department of his current location.”

LAW ENFORCEMENT CONDUCTS OUTREACH ON HATE CRIMES GEARED TOWARD EL CAJON’S MIDDLE EASTERN AND MUSLIM COMMUNITY

 

By Briana Ghaffery

July 18, 2018 (El Cajon)— Sheriff’s Captain Marco Garmo became the victim of a hate crime at a young age, along with his father, who was savagely beaten over a mistaken ethnic identity during a robbery at the Garmo family’s convenience store in El Cajon.

At a hate crimes forum in El Cajon on July 17th, sponsored by the San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition and El Cajon Police Department, Captain Garmo told East County Magazine that he hopes to encourage the public to report hate crimes.

“The reason why we’re having this out here in the city of El Cajon is that it has the largest influx of refugees and immigrants from the Middle East, and we feel like they need to be educated as to hate crimes,” he said, adding that law enforcement believes hate crimes are under-reported by those who are victimized.

ESTELA DE LOS RIOS: AN ADVOCATE FOR HER COMMUNITY

 

Human rights leader is an organizer of hate crimes forum July 17 in El Cajon

By Mimi Pollack

July 14, 2018 (El Cajon) -- As the executive director of CSA-Center for Social Advocates, Estela de los Rios cares about the well-being of the community. She also has a strong sense of justice, which she developed at an early age. As a human rights activist, she strives to make the world a better place and doesn’t want others to feel the pain of discrimination, something she herself has faced in her life.

CSA is a place where people can come and voice their concerns. It is made up of six agencies that provide community services to East County, including fair housing, immigrant and refugee rights, civic engagement, hate crimes, and human trafficking. It is a place that in her words, “embraces newcomers and community.”

COMMUNITY MEMBERS URGE KALASHO TO RESIGN OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT FINDINGS AND ALLEGED THREATS

 

 

A group of people in a roomDescription generated with very high confidence

 

 

 

By Briana Ghaffery

View video of Council meeting: https://elcajonca.swagit.com/play/07112018-1233

 

July 11, 2018 (El Cajon) – Eleven speakers called on Councilman Ben Kalasho to resign during public comments at Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting, where the audience included protesters who held signs reading “hands off our daughters” and “sex predator Kalasho belongs in jail” complete with a photoshopped picture of Kalasho as an inmate.

Kalasho has also announced his intention to run for Mayor, challenging incumbent Bill Wells.

MEDITERRANEAN FEAST! JULY 15 WITH EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB AT EAT-A-PITA IN EL CAJON

 

UPDATE: WALK-INS ARE WELCOME! BUT PLEASE RSVP.

July 4, 2018 (El Cajon) -- You're invited to our next East County Dining Club event, which benefits our nonprofit East County Magazine and our East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts.  

Please join us in a Mediterranean Feast on Sunday, July 15 at 1 p.m. at Eat a Pita! (1255 Avocado Road in the Vons shopping center at Chase and Avocado in  El Cajon).

$28 INCLUDES: Mediterranean feast!  Beef kebab, chicken kebab/souvlaki, falafel, dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), rice, Greek salad, pita bread and hummus, tax, tip, beer or wine, soft drink & refill, & 1 opportunity drawing ticket. Prizes include restaurant gift certifictes, a night's stay at Triple H Ranch Bed and Breakfast in Lakeside, jewelry, cookbooks, novels, Kamp's Propane gift certificate, ladybug planter, Prete-a-Porter Salon haircut, Club Pilates class and more!

RSVP BY JULY 10 for earlybird prize drawing: editor@eastcountymagazine.org   or 619-698-7617.

PROTEST TUESDAY IN EL CAJON OVER CHILD IMMIGRANT DETENTION CENTER

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Child migrant detention facility in El Cajon

July 8, 2018 (El Cajon) – Activists are organizing a protest rally Tuesday, July 10th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in front of El Cajon’s City Hall (200 Civic Center Way) to call for a public hearing on a federal internment facility holding immigrant boys, including some who were separated from their parents at the border and others who arrived as unaccompanied minors.

The activity is part of the national #familiesbelongtogether movement following disclosure that thousands of children have been separated from their undocumented immigrant parents at the border.  Following exposure in media, children as young as one year of age have been ordered by the government to represent themselves at immigration hearings and some parents deported without their children.

“Our mission will be to apply extreme and persistent pressure upon the El Cajon City Council to hold one or more Public Hearings providing full discloser as to population welfare, and operational practices, of El Cajon's Migrant Youth Internment Facility," organizers state on a Meetup page for the event.

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.

CREMATORIUM REJECTED BY EL CAJON PLANNING COMMISSION

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo:  Existing Mortuary at 374 North Magnolia Avenue in El Cajon

 July 1, 2018 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon Planning Commission again denied the Conditional Use Permit sought by El Cajon Mortuary and Cremation Service to build a crematorium at its existing site near El Cajon’s city center. The vote was 3-0 at the June 19th meeting, with commission members Mroz and Longoria absent.

EL CAJON’S 4TH OF JULY PICNIC AND FIREWORKS INCLUDES LIVE MUSIC, KIDS’ FUN AND MORE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 28, 2018 (El Cajon) – The city of El Cajon will present its annual Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration at Kennedy Park (1675 East Madison Ave.) starting at noon Wednesday and ending with a 9 p.m. fireworks show synchronized to music.  1675 East Madison Avenue. Bring  a picnic or buy food from vendors, plus enjoy live music by two bands, inflatables, crafts, games and a “kiddie train.

Schedule of events:

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