It's been a quiet week in El Cajon, my home town.
Events and Calendar
Concerts on the Green http://www.downtownelcajon.com/event_cotg.shtml
Cajon Classic Cruise http://www.downtownelcajon.com/event_ccc.shtml
The Problem of Homeless Encampments. http://www.popcenter.org/problems/homeless_encampments/print
A La Mesa resident accused of severely beating a 76-year-old man during a road-rage confrontation outside an East County drugstore, leaving him with injuries that required several rounds of surgery, pleaded not guilty Friday to elder abuse and assault charges. Thomas Clayton Sikes, 56, was arrested July 24 in connection with the April 30 attack. Judge Evan Kirvin increased the defendant's previously posted bail of $35,000 to $150,000, and he was taken back into custody. Sikes faces nine years in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Carlos Campbell. The 6-foot-3-inch, 285-pound defendant allegedly attacked the older man about 10 a.m. April 30 during a dispute in a parking lot in the 500 block of Fletcher Parkway in El Cajon, then fled in a red SUV. Surveillance cameras captured images of the incident. "The fight was over an apparent road-rage incident," said Ell Cajon police Sgt. Jason Taub. Officers arrived to find the victim suffering from severe facial injuries that required hospitalization and extensive follow-up medical care, according to police. Sikes was arrested after police received an anonymous tip. http://www.cbs8.com/story/26175910/not-guilty-plea-from-man-accused-in-el-cajon-road-rage-assault
On 07/30/14 at approximately 7:15 PM, officers responded to a 911 call of a possible fight and subject bleeding who was unresponsive at the Villa Embasadora Hotel in El Cajon. When officers arrived they found a black male adult approximately 28 years of age in a room at the hotel, suffering from a stab wound. The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment but later passed away from his injuries. The victim’s name is not being released pending family notification. Detectives are actively investigating this incident as a homicide. A shirtless black male adult with what appeared to be blood on him was seen leaving the scene. His involvement in this incident is unclear at this time. There is currently no suspect information to be released. As suspect and additional information become available a follow up press release will be sent out. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the El Cajon Police Department at (619) 579-3311. Individuals with information on this crime who wish to remain anonymous can contact the Crime Stoppers tip line at (888) 580-8477. http://www.10news.com/news/man-stabbed-killed-in-el-cajon-hotel-room
Civic center plaza in El Cajon filled with more than a thousand people Friday night. They were there to pray and show support for Christians in Iraq who are being kicked out of their ancestral homes. "Many of them will come here," El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said to the crowd. Of course, Wells was talking about the people fleeing their homeland, leaving Iraq, from cities such as Mosul where Christians have lived for nearly 2,000 years. One man held a banner with the symbol for the arabic letter "N", in this case for "Nazarene." That's a slur against Christians in Iraq, but here it was reclaimed as a symbol of solidarity with them. "I've just returned from Washington D.C. We have a resolution crafted, House Resolution 663, to force Congress and President Obama to do something and save our Christians," said Iraqi community leader Mark Arabo. http://www.sandiego6.com/news/local/El-Cajon-plaza-fills-with-supporters-of-Iraqi-Christians-268694202.html
Three people were taken to the hospital Wednesday evening after being stung by bees in Bostonia, an unincorporated area of El Cajon. The incident occurred in the 1100 block of Crosby Street at about 7:30 p.m. Cal Fire says a couple of people were harvesting bees in their backyard when some of the bees got out of the bee box and stung three people, who were transported to the hospital. Their ages and conditions were unknown. http://www.10news.com/news/3-taken-to-hospital-after-being-stung-by-bees-in-unincorporated-el-cajon-05072014
EL CAJON - A woman who went for a late-night walk with two young children is now facing some serious charges after the three were hit by a vehicle. That's because police believe the woman, who was either a babysitter or caretaker, was intoxicated at the time. She and the two children, a 3-year-old and 4-year-old, were hit while walking on Jamacha Road near Lexington Avenue, in El Cajon. They were on the road around 11 p.m. Wednesday. Investigators say the three were mid-block when they were struck. All three were taken to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries. The woman will face felony child endangerment charges once she is released from the hospital. http://www.10news.com/news/police-intoxicated-woman-endangered-children-when-she-took-them-for-a-walk-020614
Jan 27, 2014 TYPE OF INCIDENT: Fatal Motorcycle Collision OCCURRED: 01/26/2014 at 1:50pm LOCATION OF OCCURRENCE: 300 North Mollison, El Cajon RESUME OF INCIDENT: At approximately 1:50pm, El Cajon Police Officers and Fire Department Paramedics responded to reports of a collision involving a passenger van and a motorcycle in the 300 block of North Mollison in El Cajon. The motorcycle was traveling South in the #1 lane of Mollison. The passenger van was traveling North on Mollison preparing to make a westbound turn into a parking lot. The driver of the passenger van did not see the oncoming motorcycle and turned in front of the rider. The motorcycle rider was unable to stop or avoid the collision. After colliding with the passenger van, the motorcycle rider went down in the #1 lane of northbound Mollison. The motorcycle itself continued to skid southbound before coming to rest on the East curb-line of Mollison. A second driver in a pickup truck was unable to stop or avoid hitting the downed motorcycle rider and struck him as he lay in the roadway. The truck came to a stop in some bushes off the roadway in the 300 block of North Mollison.The rider of the motorcycle was pronounced deceased at the hospital despite lifesaving efforts of first responders. The occupants of the passenger van and pickup truck were uninjured as a result of this collision. This is an on-going investigation, however at this time alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this collision. The identity of the 29 year-old male decedent is being withheld pending notification of the family. Anyone with information regarding this collision is encouraged to contact the El Cajon Police Department Traffic Division at 619-441-1632.
El Cajon has moved on pension reform. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jan/25/letters-pension-el-cajon/
EL CAJON — Before former Planning Commissioner Star Bales was appointed last week night to fill an empty seat on the El Cajon City Council, several protesters outside council chambers held up signs asking for a special election to be held to fill the three-year vacancy. “Don’t take away my voice!” one read. “Give us a choice,” another said. “Let us vote!” was written on several signs. But after hours of interviewing two dozen candidates in two meetings, Bales was appointed by a 3-1 vote, with City Councilman Tony Ambrose dissenting. Bales, 52, is an Iraqi immigrant who in 2007 went to Iraq to be a linguist and cultural adviser for the U.S. Army. She served on the city’s planning commission since 2008. Bales will fill the spot on the council vacated by Bill Wells, now the city’s mayor. Wells was unanimously appointed mayor in November after Mark Lewis resigned in October after many found his comments about the city’s Chaldean residents to be offensive. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/Dec/24/change-comes-el-cajon-star-bales/?#article-copy
Mark Lewis resigns from his position as El Cajon Mayor. Lewis cites 'continued health problems'. http://www.10news.com/news/el-cajon-mayor-mark-lewis-stands-by-comments-despite-apology-102413
News, archived Oct 25, 2013
In a statement released to U-T San Diego on Thursday night, Lewis said his decision to resign is primarily due to health reasons, including what he described as a minor stroke in 2010, cancer and a dislocated shoulder. “Unfortunately, at times, this has caused me some difficulties in clearly communicating my thoughts, including during the recent interviews that have caused understandable concern within our community and for which I have already apologized,” Lewis’ statement said. He said he had intended to step down when his current mayoral term ended in 2014. His statement did not indicate when his resignation would become effective. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/Oct/24/mark-lewis-resigns/ http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/oct/25/el-cajon-mayor-mark-lewis-haiku/
Rep. Juan Vargas, who represents the 51st Congressional District, called on Lewis to resign. He issued this statement Thursday: "The remarks made by Mayor Mark Lewis were not only derogatory and racist, but also perpetuate stereotypes of minority communities. I am sickened to see that someone in Mayor Lewis' position would publicly make such disparaging and unfounded comments. Sweeping generalizations and degrading rhetoric only create divides and breed hatred. Today, I call on Mayor Mark Lewis to resign. The residents of El Cajon deserve to be represented by someone who embraces all cultures, not someone who is openly intolerant." http://www.10news.com/news/el-cajon-mayor-mark-lewis-issues-apology-for-comments-made-about-chaldean-community-102413
El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis is apologizing Thursday after outrage erupted over comments he made regarding the Chaldean community. Read his statement below: Several citizens expressed concerns at our most recent City Council meeting about remarks I made a number of months ago during an interview, believing that my remarks could be construed as being anti-Chaldean in nature or were in some manner insensitive to certain members of our community. I believe my remarks have been taken out of context. I want to be clear that it was never my intention to cast aspersions upon either our Chaldean community or any other minority community in EI Cajon. I was simply expressing my opinion that I believe that the limited social services made available to our residents in El Cajon should go to those most in need of them, including those within the Chaldean community. If anyone within our community felt hurt by my comments, I apologize. Again, it was not my intention to harm anyone with my remarks. As Mayor of this great City, I am extraordinarily proud of all of our citizens and especially those within the Chaldean and other immigrant communities who have made the brave choice to leave the difficult circumstances within their homeland and come to America. They represent an important and respected part of the EI Cajon community and we will continue to welcome them as we always have. http://www.10news.com/news/el-cajon-mayor-mark-lewis-issues-apology-for-comments-made-about-chaldean-community-102413
Mark Lewis is mayor of El Cajon. Now sixty-four, he’s been in office since 1998 and grew up here. If he is any indication, cultural misunderstandings are abundant. He says single women have complained to him about not being served in Chaldean-owned establishments, and he’s warned them they must serve women. He says, “In our society the female is the same as the male. They haven’t got that through their heads yet.” Lewis says some Chaldean schoolchildren who receive free lunches are “being picked up by Mercedes Benzes.” He adds: “First time, they come over here, it doesn’t take them too long to learn where all the freebies are at.” This, he says, causes “a lot of resentment in regard to veterans,” who ask, “Why can’t [the federal government] support veterans like they support minorities coming over here?” Lewis says this is creating “white flight.” http://progressive.org/little-baghdad-california
Raw interview with Mark Lewis, the mayor of El Cajon. Chanel10 was it taken out of context? Lewis: No, it's not a contest. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slcn-zep560&list=UUQv44qD9R5Ae6Z3iUeZm7iQ
A rally was staged at the El Cajon Civic Center on Tuesday to call for equality and acceptance of minorities. Protesters claim the mayor of El Cajon recently made racially insensitive comments and has excluded minorities from city politics. They say El Cajon council members, four Caucasian males, are also guilty because of their inaction. In a May 2013 issue of The Progessive magazine, El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis was quoted as saying, some Chaldean schoolchildren who receive free lunches are “being picked up by Mercedes Benzes. First time, they come over here, it doesn’t take them too long to learn where all the freebies are at.” http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/oct/23/protesters-claim-racism-is-alive-in-el-cajon-city-/
Mayor of El Cajon accused of making racist public comments. Mark Lewis' comments appear in The Progressive. http://www.10news.com/news/mayor-of-el-cajon-accused-of-making-racist-comments-10222013
Search warrant shows 13 calls between James DiMaggio, Hannah Anderson on day mom, boy died. http://www.10news.com/news/search-warrants-reveal-details-in-kidnapping-murder-case-081413
He even saved Princess, the gray cat found with him in the wilderness, after she was run over outside his house last year. “He took her in and spent the last of his paycheck saving that cat,” said Spanswick. Asked why DiMaggio may have brought the cat with him, Spanswick replied: “When someone is going to commit suicide often they take items meaningful to them with them. They will kill the animal first. It is pretty creepy.” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/13/hannah-anderson-captor-a-trusted-friend-cat-lover.html
Hannah Anderson reunited with cat after rescue. Hannah brought cat with her during kidnapping. http://www.10news.com/news/hannah-anderson-reunited-with-cat-after-rescue-from-james-dimaggio-08212013
Man killed in Idaho mirrored father's actions. http://www.cbs8.com/story/23117575/man-killed-in-idaho-mirrored-fathers-actions
Friend: Murder, kidnap suspect James DiMaggio may have wanted to die like his father. DiMaggio fatally shot by a federal officer. http://www.10news.com/news/friend-murder-kidnap-suspect-james-dimaggio-may-have-wanted-to-die-like-his-father08112013
The search for 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio, suspected of kidnapping 16-year-old Hannah Anderson is bringing back chilling memories for a woman who says DiMaggio's dad did something eerily similar to her. an article from December 1989 details the alleged attack. It says 35-year-old James Everett DiMaggio, was arrested in July after breaking into an ex-girlfriend's home in El Cajon, wearing a stocking mask and carrying a sawed-off shotgun. His ex-girlfriend was not at home, but DiMaggio held the woman's teenage daughter and her boyfriend at gunpoint, said Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wadsworth, who prosecuted the case. "It was almost a déjà vu... It was weird." She says the man we now know as 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio, was someone who she knew as 16-year-old Jimmy DiMaggio. Back then, they both attended El Cajon High School and he gave her this message from his dad, at school. http://www.cbs8.com/story/23101843/like-father-like-son-dimaggios-dad-had-violent-past
Police search for armed suspect believed to be responsible in a series of robbery in East County. Sheriff's deputies are searching Monday for an armed suspect who may have robbed several 7-Eleven stores in a span of two hours in East County. The latest robbery took place in the 10000 block of Lake Jennings Park Road in Lakeside at 3:12 a.m. Deputies say that the same robber may have hit another 7-Eleven in the 700 block of Bradley Avenue in unincorporated El Cajon at 3 a.m. Two separate stores on Jamacha Road were also robbed at 1:33 a.m. and at 2:30 a.m. Deputies say the suspect was armed with a gun and wore a red Halloween mask and a black hoodie. http://www.10news.com/news/police-search-for-armed-suspect-believed-to-be-responsible-in-a-series-of-robbery-in-east-county-021813 http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/02/18/police-looking-for-man-they-say-robbed-at-least-four-stores-at-gunpoint
El Cajon police are investigating a shooting on Saturday that left three people injured. The shooting occurred at about 12 p.m. in the 1000 block of Leslie Road, police said. When officers arrived, they found three victims with non-life threatening injuries. The first victim, a 24-year-old man, was found by officers in the 1000 block of South Magnolia Avenue. The man ran to that location after the shooting, police said. He had a minor head wound and was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. The other victims, a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl, were located in the 1000 block of Leslie Road. The 19-year-old suffered a minor wound to his back and the 17-year-old suffered a minor wound to her wrist. They were treated by paramedics at the scene and later released. A number of witnesses at the scene were uncooperative and many reported that they did not see anything, according to police. Police described possible suspects as three black men in their mid-20s and one Hispanic man in his mid-20s. Police say the suspects may have possibly arrived to the location in a newer model, black, four-door vehicle. http://www.10news.com/news/police-investigate-el-cajon-shooting-that-left-3-injured-01122013
Ex-El Cajon councilwoman sentenced to prison. A former El Cajon city councilwoman who stole $3.5 million from her Kearny Mesa employer by writing unauthorized checks was sentenced Monday to 30 months in federal prison. Jillian Hanson-Cox, 53, pleaded guilty in September to mail fraud and wire fraud. http://fox5sandiego.com/2012/12/03/ex-el-cajon-councilwoman-sentenced-to-prison/
Census: El Cajon Has Highest Poverty Rates In San Diego County. Thursday, September 20, 2012 http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/sep/20/census-el-cajon-has-higest-poverty-rates-san-diego/
October 4, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – When we launched East County Magazine in 2008, we published a story on the high rate of poverty in El Cajon, which was then 20.6%. Today, it’s soared 50%, to 29.7%--by far the highest of any city in our county. But a growing number of individuals and families throughout the San Diego region are falling into poverty, with children being especially hard-hit, according to new Census data recently released. Countywide, the poverty rate grew to 14.8% in 2010, up from 12.6% in 2009. More than one in ten children (11.6%) are living in poverty locally. Statewide, the poverty rate is 13%, while nationally it is 15.1%--with the highest number of people in poverty (46.2 million) since the Census began tracking poverty 52 years ago. Even more alarming, 22% of children under 18 are being raised in households below the poverty line. http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/7449
September 29, 2009 (San Diego)--Poverty in San Diego County shot up in 2008, rising at a much faster pace than in California or the nation. This plunge in quality of life for many San Diegans is documented in U.S. Census data released today. The data shows that 850,000 county residents--29% of the population--were living in economic hardship in 2008, according to analysis by the Center on Policy Initiatives. That measure, using a threshold double the federal poverty level, is a more realistic gauge in cities like San Diego where living costs such as housing and fuel are higher than the national average, CPI reports. "The starkest case is that of El Caj on, which has 21% living below the poverty rate (compared to 12.6% countywide)," said CPI director of research Murtaza Baxamusa. "One in five is pretty dire. El Cajon, in terms of poverty, is the worst city in the County...The City of El Cajon really needs to examine their public policies and their investment in people." Even worse, nearly half (46%) of all people in El Cajon are living in economic hardshp, using the threshhold of double the poverty level. http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/1967
Former El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox pleaded guilty on Friday to two felony charges, nearly six months after resigning from the City Council. According to documents entered as part of her plea deal, Hanson-Cox over a course of four years embezzled $3.5 million from Kearny Mesa based machine manufacturer Century Design Inc., where she was the controller. She used the money to pay off her credit card bills and, according to court documents, “to support her community activities.” The Watchdog confirmed that she used some of the money to pay for B-list celebrities to appear at El Cajon’s Mother Goose Parade in 2007. She pleaded guilty to mail fraud and filing a false tax return in U.S. Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo’s federal courtroom. Hanson-Cox stepped down from the council in March. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/14/former-councilwoman-pleads-two-felonies/
Summer of Hate concert came to El Cajon. Hammerskins filled veterans hall two weeks before Wisconsin Sikh shooting. http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-10854-summer-of-hate-concert-came-to-el-cajon.html
El Cajon police are investigating the appearance of an "extensive amount" of racist graffiti, including swastikas, discovered Monday morning on buildings at Kennedy Park. The graffiti included words, phrases and symbols used by hate groups, police said. "There have been no other recent incidents similar to this," according to a statement approved by Chief Jim Redman. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/09/racist-graffiti-san-diego-county-park.html
another exciting day in my home town. 5:30AM attempted robbery at the bus stop Third and East Main. 6:40PM multiple CHP units hauling ass south on East Main from I8. ??
An El Cajon woman wounded by police gunfire when she allegedly pointed a shotgun at officers at her apartment died of her injuries, authorities reported Monday. Jamie Renee Fitzgerald, 35, succumbed to her injuries at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego about 11:15 p.m. Friday, according to the county Medical Examiner's Office. The events that led to the shooting began shortly after 10:30 a.m. July 8, when Fitzgerald called police and said she wanted to turn over a shotgun to them, Lt. Mike Moulton said. Officers said they arrived to find her standing with the gun in her hands on a balcony outside her second-floor residence in the 200 block of Jamacha Road. http://www.cbs8.com/story/19039202/woman-wounded-in-police-shooting-dies
Police are looking for a masked gunman who robbed an El Cajon hotel early Monday. The thief went into the Quality Inn and Suites on El Cajon Boulevard near Murray Drive at 4 a.m., threatened the clerk with a black handgun and demanded cash, police Lt. Tim Henton said. He left on foot and was last seen heading east on El Cajon Boulevard, Henton said. No vehicle was seen. The robber was described as black, about 6 feet tall and 170 to 180 pounds. He was wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt, black pants, gloves and a ski mask, Henton said. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/16/gunman-robs-el-cajon-hotel/
Woman Hurt In Shooting Involving El Cajon Police Officer. Incident Occurred At Apartment Complex In 200 Block Of Jamacha Road. I walk by here on the way home sometimes. http://www.10news.com/news/31256163/detail.html
El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2011/jan/31/qa-el-cajon-mayor-mark-lewis/
Accidents involving pedestrians are on the rise in San Diego County and most of the time the pedestrians are at fault, according to authorities. To curb the incidents, El Cajon Police Department launched the “Check Before You Step” campaign. Sgt. Rob Ransweiler said he watches pedestrians ignore traffic signals and jaywalk far too often. “The age old adage that pedestrians have the right-of-way couldn’t be further from the truth,” Sgt. Ransweiler said. “Pedestrians have a responsibility to abide by the vehicle code just like every vehicle on the roadway.” http://www.fox5sandiego.com/news/kswb-el-cajon-pedestrian-safety-campaign-takes-off-20120606,0,4496652.story
A federal inquiry into former El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox has spread from her home and workplace to the town’s quirky Mother Goose Parade, which drew an impressive collection of celebrities under her leadership in 2007 and 2008. A Palm Springs celebrity booking agent says he was questioned by FBI agents about Hanson-Cox and how she paid for the stars. Hanson-Cox was president of the parade, which bills itself as the largest in the county. Hanson-Cox resigned from the City Council on March 5, a week after the FBI raided her home and the office of her former employer, Century Design Inc. Hanson-Cox was the company’s controller, in charge of finances of about $3 million a year. The FBI has not said what they were looking for and the search warrant documents remained sealed. For this story, Hanson-Cox did not respond to phone calls, emails and a note left at her home. Hanson-Cox, 52, transformed the parade into a Hollywood production with stars like Mario Lopez of “Saved by the Bell”, Erik Estrada of “CHiPs,” Katharine McPhee of “American Idol,” and Corbin Bleu of “High School Musical.” http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/may/09/mother-goose-parade-bookings-probed/
El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox resigned Wednesday, just days after the FBI raided the home of the longtime community activist and prominent hometown figure. Catching residents and City Hall officials by surprise, the two-term councilwoman submitted a one-page letter saying she was stepping down immediately. “Recent events have given rise to a burden and demands on my time that would possibly detract from the time necessary to continue my commitment to the city and my constituents,” she wrote. The FBI last week obtained a warrant and searched the Catalpa Way house where Hanson-Cox and her husband, Robert Cox, live. The agency has not said exactly who it was investigating or what it was looking for and the warrant is sealed. Hanson-Cox, 52, has been unavailable for comment in recent days. No one answered her door on Wednesday. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/mar/07/el-cajon-councilwoman-resigns/
El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox’s home and business was searched by federal agents Friday, according to FBI spokesperson Darrell Foxworth. The FBI would not elaborate on what the search warrant included, as it is sealed. Foxworth said even if a search warrant was served, it does not mean the person is guilty. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/jillian-hanson-cox-Councilwoman-Home-Searched--141301523.html http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/mar/02/councilwomans-home-searched-fbi/
Sheriff's deputies said Monday they are investigating a fatal stabbing in which both the victim and the suspect are pre-teenage boys. The slaying was reported at 1:18 p.m. in the 12500 block of Royal Road just north of the El Cajon city limits in a trailer park, a sheriff's spokesman said. The 12-year-old victim was taken by ambulance to Rady Children's Hospital, where he later died, the spokesman said. Neighbors said a 10-year-old boy used a sharp object to stab the victim in the chest. The stabbing comes to a surprise to residents at The Knolls Trailer Park as the boys were really good friends, according to neighbors. http://www.fox5sandiego.com/news/kswb-young-boy-stabbed-to-death-in-lakeside-20120116,0,3090598.story
The brother of a 41-year-old Santee man who was fatally shot in the head at an East County home was arrested on suspicion of murder, authorities said Monday. Anthony Tesch was pronounced dead at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at a San Diego hospital, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office reported. The suspect in Friday's shooting, 36-year-old Joseph Todd Hall, was taken into custody Sunday night by the San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force and booked for murder at the Central Jail, sheriff's Lt. Larry Nesbit said. According to the Sheriff's Department, deputies were sent to the 10000 block of Prospect Avenue around 5:10 a.m. Friday and found Tesch suffering from a gunshot wound. He was airlifted to Sharp Memorial Hospital and placed on life support. http://www.fox5sandiego.com/news/kswb-man-arrested-in-shooting-death-of-brother-in-santee-20120116,0,1977329.story
my neighbor is a sick f**k. he sprays weed killer in my yard. why do tea baggers hate America so much? they piss on my yard the same as the constitution and the way marines piss on dead bodies. republicanism is a mental disease.
An El Cajon police sergeant has been under investigation since August for an alleged sexual assault of a male police volunteer, El Cajon police said Thursday. The sergeant, who police did not name, has been on administrative leave since Aug. 28 and will remain on leave until an internal affairs investigation is complete, Police Chief Pat Sprecco said in a written statement. Sprecco said the department learned on Aug. 28 that the Sheriff’s Department was investigating allegations by a 20-year-old man that he was sexually assaulted in Alpine by the sergeant. The man said the assault occurred on Aug. 27. Sheriff’s investigators submitted the case against the sergeant to the District Attorney’s Office for review on Oct. 28, said Steve Walker, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. The office notified the Sheriff’s Department on Nov. 8 that the case was rejected, Walker said. Sprecco said the sheriff’s officials notified El Cajon police the district attorney rejected the case “for lack of evidence to support the allegations.” An internal investigation into the allegations continue, said Sprecco, who added that the case involves only one police volunteer. A Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said she would release no information about the case because of the continuing police internal investigation. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/dec/08/allegations-against-police-sergeant-investigated/
Meadows said they have 35,000 pints of beer at the ready. Food-wise, they plan to serve a variety of meats that “will be smoked by our smokers in the back for 14 hours,” sandwiches, salads and pizzas, all made with a special dough that is sweetened with barley instead of sugar. He said they are planning on serving a couple of vegetarian items and will create their own non-alcoholic root beer. The plan is to offer 10 homemade microbrews created by David Meadows, plus 30 guest brews on a daily basis. Two years ago, the city invested an initial $345,000 in the brewery as part of its plan to revitalize the downtown area. The brothers ended up borrowing a total of $500,000 and were given a $145,000 grant from the city. Stephan Meadows said more than 600 people sought jobs; he said they hired 60, most from El Cajon, La Mesa and Santee. “Since we had so many applicants, we were able to choose some good ones,” he said. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/oct/16/el-cajon-brewing-set-open-monday/
Four arrested in alleged scheme to smuggle stolen cars to Iraq. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/09/smuggling-stolen-cars-iraq.html?lanow
The incident was reported at 5:10 p.m. as "suspicious circumstances" on Prince Street. It appears, authorities said, that one of two officers who went to investigate was shot in the head and his partner dragged him to safety. Police from La Mesa, National City, San Diego, Chula Vista and sheriff's deputies responded to radio dispatches that an officer was "down." Authorities have not identified the wounded officer. The officer was taken to a San Diego hospital, and a police official said after 7 p.m. that he was alert and in stable condition. Residents from Prince Street said they heard gunshots from one house before it went up in flames. The smoke was visible for many blocks, including from Westfield Shoppingtown Parkway Plaza on the opposite side of Interstate 8. El Cajon firefighters initially held back until police allowed them in, a Heartland fire dispatcher said. A sheriff's firefighting helicopter dropped water on the house to knock down most of the flames, a sheriff's official said. The CHP opened the I-8 freeway lanes about 7:20 p.m. A few minutes later, El Cajon SWAT officers entered the burned house and searched it. They requested more lighting to conduct the search. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/aug/21/officer-shot-household-reported-killed-el-cajon/
About 60 people were arrested in connection with a multi-agency probe -- dubbed Operation Shadowbox -- which zeroed in on the business, located at 811 E. Main St., officials said. The club -- described as an "Iraqi social club" -- had been the subject of numerous complaints of drug sales, gambling, prostitution and other criminal activity, according to El Cajon Police Chief Pat Sprecco. A Drug Enforcement Administration investigation corroborated reports of gambling and prostitution on the premises, authorities said. During a search of the club Wednesday night, about $16,000 was seized, as was evidence of illegal gambling, Sprecco said. About 100 people were detained and released. Since January, the DEA and El Cajon police have purchased narcotics, firearms, improvised explosive devices and pharmaceuticals from people at the club, Sprecco said. In April, an undercover operative was shown a hand grenade and was told more were available from a Mexican military source. Suspects in the investigation reportedly arranged narcotics shipments from El Cajon to Detroit. During the course of the investigation, operatives discovered a suspected association with the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexico-based drug trafficking organization, and the Chaldean Organized Crime Syndicate, which began in Detroit in the early 80s and has been linked numerous crimes, including murder, arson and kidnapping, Sprecco said. The investigation resulted in the seizure of drugs including more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine, more than four pounds of ecstasy and pharmaceuticals and about 3,500 pounds of marijuana, Sprecco said. Authorities confiscated more than $630,000 and three luxury cars. Officers seized 34 firearms, including semi-automatic rifles and four explosive devices, which were processed with the help of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department's Bomb Squad and the FBI, Sprecco said. http://www.sandiego6.com/news/local/story/Authorities-Say-Local-Iraqi-Social-Club-a-Hub-For/SwamGM79p0mm8kciuc7spA.cspx http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/6970
My crappy neighbors: I get home from work and my neighbor is blaring this really filthy rap music, f you f me f you. stupid bush huggers, yappy little dogs s*ing everywhere, stinking up the neighborhood with the barbecue. white thrash. fat sloppy smokers.
What Are Your City Leaders Making? Mayor Part-time $24,816 City Manager Full-time $240,572.80 Four council members Part-time $17,208 each http://www.kpbs.org/news/2010/aug/04/what-are-your-city-leaders-making/
New information has been released about an officer involved shooting at an El Cajon elementary school. Police say they were called to the Johnson Elementary School campus at about 11 p.m. Tuesday night. “The reporting party told police dispatch they could hear people on the closed school campus drinking and causing a disturbance,” said Lt. Mark Coit. Officers Ryan Briley, Jason Becker, and Adam Cunningham arrived on scene, police said. One of the suspects made a comment about stabbing someone, police said. As the officers approached the juveniles, they ran in opposite directions. “Officers Becker and Cunningham chased one of the suspects, while Officer Briley chased the second,” said Lt. Coit. The suspect ran around the corner, according to police. “The suspect, Victor Charles Hernandez II, jumped out from behind a planter at Officer Briley and extended his hand towards the officer as if he had a weapon,” said Lt. Coit. Officer Briley fired, hitting Hernandez in the arm, according to police. “The bullet traveled through his wrist and lodged in his chest cavity,” said Lt. Coit. Hernandez was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital. An investigation revealed that he did not have a weapon, police said http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/New-Details-in-OIS-at-Elementary-School--120519379.html
El Cajon city officials are looking at banning the sale of cheap, fortified beer and wine, along with single-serve containers of alcohol, as part of a citywide crackdown on public drunkenness. The City Council is set to consider the idea of a ban Tuesday as it looks for ways to reduce the number of inebriated transients and others along Second Street and other thoroughfares. "It's really causing problems for businesses in El Cajon and citizens in general," Councilman Gary Kendrick said Friday. "For redevelopment to work in the city, we have to make sure the streets of downtown are safe -- and this is one step in that plan." http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jan/21/el-cajon-considers-booze-crackdown/
San Marcos manager has area's top compensation. With benefits, he makes more than San Diego city, county administrators. El Cajon, Kathi Henry, 2010 budget $178 million, population 97,255, city employees 446.5, vacation days 55.5, slary $240,573, total compensation $292,607. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/aug/16/san-marcos-manager-has-areas-top-compensation/
El Cajon, a town literally dying for a solution. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jan/02/letters-el-cajon-town-literally-dying-solution/
Performing Arts Center woes examined. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/dec/19/performing-arts-center-woes-examined/
A 66-year-old man eating breakfast inside a fast food restaurant was hit and killed Sunday morning after an SUV plowed through the corner of the building. The crash was reported at 8:45 a.m. at the Carl’s Jr. in the Madison Plaza on North Second Street and East Madison Avenue, Lt. Jeff Davis said. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jan/03/bn03fatalcrash-el-cajon/
Man killed while eating breakfast when vehicle plows into California fast-food restaurant. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-us-suv-into-restaurant,0,5457224.story?
Main Street now boasts an overarching feature. Span over thoroughfare takes downtown's temperature. http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/jun/06/1ez6arch19593-main-street-now-boasts-overarching-f/?metro&zIndex=111801
Shootings and killings
OCT. 24, 2014 EL CAJON — Two men have been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting of a 38-year-old man in an El Cajon apartment last month in what police believe was a drug-related robbery. Detectives from the El Cajon Police Department and the East County gang task force on Thursday arrested Paul Julian Sosa III, 18, and Homero Viscarroa Palomino, 18. Both men were booked into county jail on suspicion of murder, robbery and conspiracy charges. Officers responding to a 911 call to an apartment on Broadway near North Third Street on Sept. 18 found the victim, John Francis, suffering from a gunshot wound and unresponsive. Francis died before he could be taken to a hospital. El Cajon police Lt. Mike Moulton said officers searched the homes of Sosa and Palomino in Chula Vista and San Diego before making the arrests. He said police do not believe there was a prior relationship between Francis and the two men charged in the case. Investigators believe Francis was a robbery victim who had been targeted for marijuana found in his possession, Moulton said. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/oct/24/cajon-homicide-arrests-francis-drug-robbery/
Woman stabbed to death in El Cajon, son in custody. May 30, 2014 A young man was jailed Friday after he allegedly stabbed his mother and younger brother at their apartment near Parkway Plaza mall, killing the woman and leaving the teenager hospitalized. At about 1 a.m., officers responding to a report of a family dispute in the 500 block of Ballantyne Street in El Cajon found the mortally wounded 39-year-old woman on a staircase. She died at the scene, Lt. Frank La Haye said. http://www.10news.com/news/woman-stabbed-to-death-in-el-cajon-son-in-custody
Son Arrested in Mom's Deadly Stabbing. May 16, 2014 A 59-year-old woman was found dead and stabbed in a home located in the 800 block of Friendly Circle Drive late Wednesday evening, according to police. A 25-year-old El Cajon man has been charged with his mother’s murder, accused of stabbing her to death inside the home they shared. Virgil Richmond is suspected of killing his mom, Diane Mosley, 59, according to El Cajon police. Mosley was found dead from an apparent stab wound Wednesday just after 11:30 p.m. at a home in the 800 block of Friendly Circle. Officers were called to the home to investigate a possible stabbing. When they arrived, they found Mosley dead as a result of multiple injuries consistent with a stabbing. Source: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Womans-Dead-Body-Found-in-El-Cajon-Home-259477241.html
El Cajon, Calif. – A suspect was arrested Friday in connection with the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man at an El Cajon hotel, police said. Ali Joseph, 32, was jailed on suspicion of murdering Mathew Kelly Jr. in the 700 block of El Cajon Boulevard around 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to police. Officials released no alleged motive for the killing and did not disclose the relationship, if any, between the suspect and victim. http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/11/22/suspect-arrested-in-el-cajon-motel-killing/#ixzz2lUxPum5o
Posted: 11/08/2013 EL CAJON, Calif. - A woman who happened upon an argument outside a liquor store in a neighborhood just east of Gillespie Field Thursday was wounded when the quarrel erupted in gunfire. The shooting occurred shortly after 5 p.m. in a parking lot on East Bradley Avenue in the unincorporated Bostonia area, near El Cajon, according to sheriff's officials. The victim, described as a bystander who was not involved in the dispute, was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego for treatment of wounds of undetermined severity, sheriff's Lt. Hank Turner said. Deputies blocked off traffic lanes around the site of the shooting during the investigation. As of shortly before 7 p.m., a possible suspect in the shooting was in custody for questioning, Turner said. http://www.10news.com/news/shooting-reported-on-bradley-ave-and-graves-ave-in-el-cajon-area
EL CAJON, Calif. – An El Cajon police officer shoots a man in a used car parking lot. It happened at 9:30 Friday morning at the BestCAR4U lot near Walter and Main Street. “He got what was coming to him. Absolutely,” said Frank McDermott. McDermott who works at the motel down the street said the man shot by police officers is named “Black”. He has been a problem since he showed up in the area one week ago. “He was urinating on the property apparently and for whatever reason he just wouldn’t leave,” said McDermott. McDermott told Fox 5 he called the police 3 times to complain about Black. “He was more than asking for trouble. Some people ask for trouble, he was advertising it,” said McDermott. Investigators identified the suspect named “Black” as 53-year old Raymond Lee Goodlow. Police said Goodlow was spotted by a police officer riding his bike on the sidewalk. The police officer turned on his lights and proceeded to stop the suspect, but he did not comply and instead turned into the used car lot. “As the officer followed him in he noticed he was turning and look at him reaching into his waistband,” said Lt. Tim Henton, El Cajon Police. Lt. Henton said at one point Goodlow got off the bike and ran further into the lot. “The suspect was still reaching into his waistband the officer gave him orders to make his hands visible, to show his hands, but he was noncompliant. Fearing for his life, the officer fired 5 to 6 shots striking Goodlow in the face. “As paramedics were cutting away the suspects pants, they found two knives,” said Lt. Henton. “We believe the suspect was armed with those knives.” Henton did not specify what type of knives were found. “I hollered across the street ‘Don’t shoot that man, you know? Don’t kill him!!’” A man named Roy told Fox 5 he saw the shooting go down. “Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop! It sounded like Firecrackers!” said Roy. Roy was actually detained for hours by police. “I told the officer I saw everything and I don’t think you had the right to shoot the man,” said Roy. Roy himself has been caught for riding his bike on the sidewalk. He said from what he saw, it was just a minor traffic violation and bullets did not need to fly. “I don’t think he should have been shot. I think it could have been handled a lot more diplomatically, a lot more safely,” said Roy. “It was from being shot for riding on the sidewalk,” said Lt. Henton. “When someone is being stopped and they don’t show their hands and they are evasive, that causes officers to fear for their safety.” Police said Goodlow was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital where he is listed in stable condition. He is currently not in custody as the investigation continues. At this point, police said he could face misdemeanor charges of evading an officer or resisting arrest. The police officer involved has been on the force for two years. He has been placed on administrative leave. http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/01/18/man-shot-by-police-officer-in-el-cajon-used-car-lot
Neighbors didn't like the man they knew as Black. They called him "intimidating" and "belligerent." Littleton added, “I've seen him and I don't like to be near. Either he's hassling people or he's creeping around.” Frank McDermott said, “He was more than asking for trouble; some people ask for trouble, he was advertising. He was selling it. Personal thoughts? He got what was coming to him -- absolutely!” http://www.10news.com/news/shooting-reported-in-el-cajon-011813
Bicyclist Shot by Police in El Cajon. Friday, Jan 18, 2013 | Updated 2:41 PM PST Police in El Cajon shot a man they said was unlawfully riding his bicycle on a sidewalk Friday morning. The shooting happened at about 9:30 a.m. on Walter Way and Main Street, according to the El Cajon Police Department. Police said a man was riding his bike on the sidewalk, which is against municipal code. An officer attempted to pull him over, and the man appeared to be evading officers by pulling into the parking lot of a car dealership. When police caught up with him, police said the man put his hands in his waistband. He was told to show his hands but didn't. Believing the man was arming himself, an officer fired several rounds at the man. At least one bullet appeared to have hit his face, according to a spokesperson with the El Cajon Police Department. The man's injuries are not life-threatening, but he was taken to the hospital. His identity has not yet been released. The spokesperson said he did not know if the man was armed. Investigators are still working to determine what the suspect was reaching for in his pants. The El Cajon Police Department said they would release that information once it becomes available. Residents in the area say the man lived a transient lifestyle. Several streets were shut down in the area after the shooting, and police remained gathered in the car lot where the shooting occurred for hours after it happened. One neighbor recalled hearing police attempting to pull someone over, then several shots. When she came out of her home, she said she saw police surrounding a bicycle, and medics transporting the individual. The incident comes less than a day after an officer-involved shooting in the College Area of San Diego. There, while police were serving a search warrant, they fatally shot one suspect and conducted an hours-long search for the other suspect. The second suspect was eventually taken into custody.
I see dead people. The apparent suicide of a 51-year-old man who leaped in front of a big rig on an East County freeway was under investigation Monday. Passers-by saw the Alpine resident standing alongside Interstate 8 in El Cajon, drinking beer, before suddenly running in front of the tractor-trailer and standing directly in its path about 5:45 p.m. Sunday, according to the county Medical Examiner’s Office. The trucker swerved, but the pedestrian again ran into the path of the commercial vehicle and was struck, police Lt. Tim Henton said. Medics took the gravely wounded man to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Authorities subsequently learned that the man had made suicidal statements by telephone earlier in the evening to his wife, who responded by making a 911 call. Police launched a search for the man prior to his evident suicide on the I-8 bridge over Greenfield Drive. Read more: http://www.sdnn.com/sandiego/2010-05-03/local-county-news/investigation-underway-for-apparent-freeway-suicide#ixzz0n1SkmSsn
Grossmont Union High School District
Children finished last in Grossmont's bumbling bond measure. The school board meeting was surreal, even for the Grossmont Union High School District, which has a reputation for the bizarre. First, a November bond issue to finish campus repairs and construct a 12th school was linked incomprehensibly to the board's voting for a ban on gay marriages. Trustee Jim Kelly and sidekick Robert Shield made it known they would not support the bond unless trustees considered the state's gay marriage issue before or at the same meeting. Second, Kelly ambushed everyone with an amendment to block a high school for Alpine/Blossom Valley, an unkept promise from a 2004 bond issue. The amendment stalled, and Kelly proposed a 10-minute “recess” to let tempers cool. Instead, board members spent 1 hour and 35 minutes huddling two at a time in a back room, with district officials secretly trying to work out a deal. Such serial meetings likely violated the state's open-meetings law, the Brown Act. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080803/news_lz1ed3middle.html
Smoking law murky for some residents, No signs posted as grace period ends
March 14, 2008
EL CAJON – The six-month grace period on El Cajon's strict new smoking law ends today, but it's hard to tell what has changed.
No signs alert people that smoking is banned in virtually all public places. Visitors may not even know the law – the strictest in the county – exists.
That was the case with Poway resident Kimberly Frederico, 38, who was smoking a cigarette outside the El Cajon courthouse yesterday while on a break from jury duty.
“I think it's a little too extreme,” Frederico said. Smoking is prohibited in many places across the county, but El Cajon's law is the most encompassing and could surprise smokers looking for their fix outside a restaurant or while walking down a busy street.
The El Cajon City Council approved the law in July but agreed to waive fines for six months so businesses and smokers could get used to it. Police aren't expected to patrol for violators, but lawbreakers could face fines of up to $500. Police received some complaints, but so far no tickets have been issued.
El Cajon has done little to advertise the law. The cash-strapped city is wrestling with a $6.1 million budget deficit and can't afford a public education campaign.
“The nonsmokers will be telling the smokers, that's what's going to happen,” said Councilman Gary Kendrick, who pushed for the law as a way to protect people from secondhand smoke. “I see this as being 99 percent citizen-enforced.”
El Cajon's ordinance prohibits smoking anywhere people are likely to be, such as outdoor restaurants, festivals or even the common areas at an apartment or condominium complex. Instead, smokers would have to go to designated areas, which the city calls “smoking outposts.”
Cities throughout the county have either restricted smoking or plan to do so. In February, smoking was outlawed at Encinitas beaches, parks and trails. Lemon Grove is expected to consider a ban at city parks. Smoking is forbidden on restaurant patios in Chula Vista, parks and trails in Poway, county parks and campgrounds, parks in La Mesa, and parks and beaches in San Diego, Oceanside, Coronado, Solana Beach and Del Mar.
Last year, the Escondido City Council considered a smoking ban at its parks, trails and open-space areas but rejected the idea.
“Smoking is awful, but I don't think we should be overly restrictive,” Escondido Councilman Dick Daniels said.
Some elements of the El Cajon law still need to be ironed out. It's unclear how out-of-town visitors will know about the ordinance, and crowds tend to flock to downtown El Cajon in the summer for the weekly concerts and car shows.
Claire Carpenter, president and chief executive of the El Cajon Community Development Corp., said the organization will try get the word out through its roving ambassadors, who wear yellow shirts and provide directions, pick up trash and check in with downtown businesses.
The San Diego County Apartment Association is concerned that the law places an unfair burden on landlords and has been meeting with city officials.
“How do you evict a tenant that otherwise has been a model tenant, but they've been caught smoking in a common area?” asked Michelle Miller, public-affairs manager for the apartment association.
Building owners are eager to comply with the law, she said. The group is providing sample notices that owners can give to tenants, and a seminar about the law is planned next month for its El Cajon members.
Smokers can still legally light up outside the El Cajon courthouse because the property is under the county's jurisdiction. A spokeswoman said the courthouse plans to “opt in” to El Cajon's ordinance but hasn't received an official response from the city.
James Zabka, 23, was smoking a cigarette there yesterday morning, even though he had heard about the law.
“They haven't really posted it or advertised it in any way where people know about it,” Zabka said.
The Santee resident said he would probably continue to smoke in El Cajon if “I have the urge.”
Posted: 12/04/2002 Approximately 150 people live at the camp at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, with the approval of the Rev. John Conrad, who said he will allow the homeless to stay until the city establishes a new shelter. http://www.10news.com/news/el-cajon-calls-homeless-camp-a-public-nuisance-
closings and other news
Misha Jovanovic, who owns a travel agency on the north side of East Main Street, called the south side of the road, “a disaster.” “Everything is empty,” he added. Jovanovic has been working in and around downtown El Cajon since 1985. He said that things have been worse in the past, but nobody batted an eye at empty shops before there was redevelopment. Now, because so much effort has been made, the abandoned storefronts are far more noticeable. “There is some improvement, but not enough to satisfy these people here,” said Jovanovic, referring to his fellow business owners. “I hope they improve it. It’s not visible right now.” http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/dec/30/downtown-el-cajon-expecting-new-additions/
It's the end of an era: Closing time at Kip's. Much-loved restaurant ending a 52-year run. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20081115/news_1ez15kips.html
Sales tax measures going on ballots
El Cajon, La Mesa consider increases
July 24, 2008
El Cajon and La Mesa city officials will ask the voters for a sales tax increase to help solve an ongoing fiscal crisis that threatens services in both East County cities.
Both city councils voted at separate meetings Tuesday to place sales tax measures on the November ballot. El Cajon is asking voters to approve a half-cent increase while La Mesa is looking for a three-quarter-cent increase.
If approved, the measures would raise El Cajon's sales tax rate to 8.75 percent and La Mesa's to 8.5 percent. El Cajon residents and shoppers already pay higher sales tax because voters approved a half-cent increase in 2004 for new public safety buildings. No other cities appear to be considering a sales tax increase, although Vista and National City voters have approved increases in the past.
The discussion over higher taxes drew a full house to the La Mesa meeting, where 40 people – split evenly – spoke. In El Cajon, two people showed up to speak against the proposed increase.
At both meetings, some worried that higher sales tax would drive shoppers to cities with lower rates, but city officials said no data exist to support that. Taxpayer advocates also have criticized the measures, saying both cities – particularly La Mesa – could save money by renegotiating pension plans with employee unions.
El Cajon and La Mesa are trying to bridge budget gaps that are projected to reach $6 million and $4 million, respectively, in fiscal 2009, which begins next July 1. El Cajon estimates the tax increase would generate $8.5 million a year, while La Mesa predicts it would bring in $7.2 million annually.
Officials in both cities said the slumping real estate market and an economy in dire straits have caused the financial problems.
El Cajon City Manager Kathi Henry said her city has cut costs by eliminating or combining jobs. The financial situation is so severe, Henry said, that police and firefighter positions could be eliminated, a community center could close and other services, such as park maintenance, would suffer without a sales tax increase.
Ron Pennock, a member of the East County Construction Council, said higher taxes will hurt business owners.
“We need incentives, not disincentives, to attract business people,” Pennock said.
El Cajon Councilman Dick Ramos said the public should decide.
“We have made all the cuts and done everything we possibly can to save money,” Ramos said. “The only place left to cut is fire and police.”
The El Cajon council voted unanimously to put the measure on the ballot. In La Mesa, the vote was 4-1, with Councilwoman Ruth Sterling dissenting.
“A tax increase in these tough economic times is outrageous,” Sterling said.
She said the city shouldn't ask voters for help and instead should wait to see if various residential and commercial real estate projects that are in the works or on hold bring in more money.
But other council members said the city couldn't afford to wait.
“Right now we have no flexibility, no choices,” Councilman Ernie Ewin said. “It's that tight.”
Some residents said the city was asking for too much, while others said they feared losing essential city services.
“I do not feel an increase in the tax would be as painful as it would be to cut our services,” said La Mesa resident Lois Knowlton.
City budget deficit tops $6 million
January 23, 2008
EL CAJON – East County's largest city is facing a financial crisis.
El Cajon's budget deficit has ballooned to $6.1 million, nearly double the estimate of seven months ago, forcing elected officials to consider tax increases and deep cuts to city services. The shortfall, caused by declining sales tax revenue and the troubled housing market, isn't confined to El Cajon. Other cities, such as Chula Vista and La Mesa, also are suffering.
El Cajon City Manager Kathi Henry, who publicly warned the City Council about an impending emergency when the budget was adopted in June, laid out options yesterday. Possibilities included increasing the sales tax rate, utility taxes or ambulance transport fees, combined with cuts to services. Closing City Hall on alternating Fridays or trimming public safety services were other options.
Raising taxes would have to be approved by voters, who four years ago approved a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for new police and fire facilities.
Councilman Dick Ramos said raising taxes is never popular, but he would be willing to place a measure on the November ballot if the rest of the council agreed.
Online: To view El Cajon's budget and a memo regarding the deficit, go to http://ci.el-cajon.ca.us/content/forms/Fiscal_Emergency_Council_Workshop.pdf
“We're all in this together, and we're all going to get hurt,” Ramos said.
Mayor Mark Lewis said the police and fire departments should be shielded from cuts, but Henry said that would be impossible.
“You can't balance the budget without touching public safety,” Henry said.
Police and fire account for 70 percent of the city's general fund.
The council is expected to vote on options Feb. 12.
Other struggling cities have raised sales tax rates or are considering it. Voters in Vista and National City approved increases in 2006, though the National City's increase is being challenged with a repeal measure on the November ballot.
La Mesa is thinking about pursuing a sales tax increase, and Chula Vista has slashed expenses – last month elected officials voted to cut $15.5 million from the budget.
In El Cajon, a quarter-cent sales tax increase could bring in $5 million a year. Voters would be polled first to see what kind of tax they would support, Henry said. A failed measure would have dire consequences.
“At that point, we'd be talking about (eliminating) the recreation department, not just centers, but the whole department, maybe a fire station and definitely police officers,” Henry said in an interview yesterday.
El Cajon has long been dealing with a structural deficit, which is an ongoing gap between revenues and expenditures.
New agreements with the city's bargaining units pushed the deficit from $3.8 million to $4.1 million, although the contracts called for a modest increase in health benefits, $1,000 stipends, and no raises. The shortfall grew to $6.1 million because of lower sales-and property-tax revenues, inflation and the rising costs of retirement benefits.
Money is set aside to cover the gap this year, but if nothing is done, Henry said, El Cajon would be insolvent in two years. And after five years of cuts – the city has lost 40 positions through attrition and a selective hiring freeze – little fat remains.
Fees for city services have been raised and capital projects suspended, and subsidies to most outside organizations have been cut.
El Cajon would have to ax 50 city jobs just to make up the $6 million, said Mike Shelton, finance director and assistant city manager. He said cutting costs 10 percent across departments would bring in $5.5 million but cripple City Hall.
The $186.7 million budget has a general fund of about $55 million. The city has reserves equal to 20 percent of the general fund, but that money is supposed to be used for one-time costs and cash flow during the first part of the year.
East County Performing Arts Center
Curtain calls or curtain to fall for ECPAC?
October 25, 2007 The East County Performing Arts Center is a white elephant. There, the El Cajon City Council has said it.
Well, not in so many words exactly, but that was the tenor of the conversation as the council authorized David Cooksy, redevelopment and housing director, to recruit qualified companies interested in building a hotel next to the concert hall.
The council's collective advice to Cooksy was to give potential developers a clean slate, not limit them to a specific concept. Meaning, if someone wants to tear down the facility, build a new one with hotel rooms over it, let's talk. If someone believes demand for a hotel is lacking but a new theater and high-rise condos will work, well...
The realization may be slow in sinking in, but “white elephant” aptly describes the facility's status today. It is too big for some events, and lacks the ancillary rooms for others. ECPAC cannot handle the fly lot scenery for touring plays. It is ideal for concerts, but East County lacks the philanthropy base to underwrite major cultural events. And fading headliners – forget them, the casinos can pay exorbitant performance fees and use the events as loss leaders.
The talk about the facility is a turning point in El Cajon. Previously, the controversy has been over who manages the theater and the city's on again, off again approach to subsidizing it.
Currently, it is mostly off again. Off again at $85,000 or so for subsidy, $80,000 for utilities and untold amounts for repairs. But that is down $300,000 or more from last year.
Controversy still smolders over Art Beat Management, a Christian Community Theater affiliate, and whether the selection was done at less than arm's length. It will flare up in the future – probably about whether Art Beat is energetically marketing the facility. Art Beat's Paul Russell is proud of their booking figures. Yet, a lowered city subsidy will lead to a lower marketing budget and more kindling.
The city, under Cooksy, is about to vet groups willing to be private partners in transforming the site. A hotel next to, or above, the theater would provide catering services, meeting rooms and patrons. Determining the expertise and financial resources of interested parties is very important. The city previously got mixed up with a group that either did not have the hotel franchise rights it claimed or certainly did not have them long enough to cut a deal.
Fortunately for El Cajon, there's a role model to follow. Escondido and Marriott are further along in adding a hotel to the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. City Manager Kathi Henry may want to add a hot line to her Escondido counterpart.
Perhaps this is a good time to remember the purpose of a civic performance hall. The goal is not to fill it willy-nilly with any old events just to break even. (If break even is the goal, why bother having one?) The goal is not to subsidize restaurants with evening patrons, as worthwhile as that might seem. (If that were the only purpose, why not just cut them subsidy checks and be done with it?) No, the goal of a civic performance hall is to enrich our lives through the arts.
El Cajon needs to remind itself of this goal from time to time. The trouble is, a city government on a path toward $4.8 million in red ink – maybe $6 million if the Heartland Foundation Building debacle escalates – is hardly inclined to hear the words, “subsidize the arts.”
Decaying arts center closed as city weighs repair costs
August 14, 2007 EL CAJON – The East County Performing Arts Center has been temporarily shuttered after chunks of plaster fell from the ceiling, renewing concerns from city officials about the troubled venue's future. No one was injured when the pieces fell last month. El Cajon officials conducted a floor-to-ceiling inspection afterward and determined that more than $2.8 million worth of work is needed. Some repairs are so urgent that the city-owned theater has been closed and shows have been rescheduled.
Today, the City Council will consider spending $230,000 to fix the most pressing problems, including $60,000 for interim ceiling repairs and $95,000 for stage-rigging equipment.
The expense comes a month after El Cajon slashed its subsidy to Art Beat Management, the nonprofit group running the theater, because the city is facing a $3.8 million structural deficit. The council approved $100,000 for theater operations but doesn't yet know where the money will come from.
City Manager Kathi Henry said the theater has become “a money pit.” Mayor Mark Lewis acknowledged the problems.
“We cannot keep dumping money into a facility that is going to increase the costs to us year in and year out,” he said.
The city budget is still tight, but Henry and others say they're expecting about $300,000 from the theater's former manager, the Arts Center Foundation. That money could go toward the emergency repairs and operations, but the dollars aren't guaranteed.
City officials and an attorney for the foundation say the money has been in a foundation account but will be turned over to the city. It's mostly ticket revenue taken in as the foundation turned over control of the theater to the city.
Art Beat Management, a division of Christian Community Theater, took over the center in December 2005.
The 1,142-seat venue has a long and difficult history. It's more than 30 years old and showing its age. It's too small to host conferences and seminars and too big to sell out most performances, the bulk of which are staged by community organizations.
Even city officials acknowledge the needs seem never-ending. El Cajon has spent about $130,000 on capital improvements since Art Beat took over, but that doesn't include subsidies for operations or utilities – or the money the city spent in other years.
“We need to make a decision at this point,” Henry said yesterday. “Does the city continue spending on the venue at the expense of other city services?”
During its meeting today, the council also is to decide whether to put out a “request for qualifications” to redevelop the site. The city is hoping a developer will come forward with ideas.
Lewis wants a hotel, a restaurant and other activity on the property.
As for the falling plaster, Henry said annual inspections of the building didn't include a look at the ceiling. The pieces came from five panels fastened to the ceiling and covered with plaster. In some spots, the ceiling is more than 30 feet from the ground.
“We were fortunate that it happened between performances,” Henry said.
The biggest chunk – about 3 feet in diameter – fell July 11, said Melissa Hill, Art Beat's director of operations. The city inspected the center July 30 and it was closed the next day. The venue had been slated to close for regular maintenance between Aug. 20 and Sept. 7.
Paul Russell, Art Beat's executive director, said all but one group rescheduled their performances, resulting in a loss of about $15,000 in rental revenue.
'Enough,' El Cajon says of deal with nonprofit
EL CAJON – A brown stucco office building sits on a busy street in the middle of the city. Inside are the quiet, cluttered headquarters of the Heartland Foundation, a nonprofit that seven years ago embarked on a novel plan.
The building at 1068 Broadway was supposed to be the hub of the foundation's Project Destination, an expansive job-training center that connects people to community colleges, internships and new careers.
Yet visitors won't find any mention of Project Destination on the building's directory. The brochures, when Heartland volunteers can find them, are outdated. There is no reception area for drop-ins.
Heartland bought the building with $1.3 million in federal money borrowed from El Cajon. Last month, the City Council voted to declare the loan in default and foreclose on the building after years of making loan payments that Heartland should have made but didn't.
As of October, the nonprofit paid less than $12,000 toward the loan while El Cajon has contributed nearly $1 million. The city has been paying down the debt with its limited share of Community Development Block Grants, money that could have been used to aid some of El Cajon's poorest residents.
Heartland now owes nearly $2.2 million for the loan, unpaid interest and late charges, said David Cooksy, the city's director of housing and redevelopment. The city plans to recoup the money by selling the Broadway building, but there's no telling when.
It's clear the nonprofit was overly optimistic when it applied for the loan in 1999. Less than two years old at the time, the foundation wooed the city with promises it couldn't fulfill, and the City Council was quick to believe them.
What the foundation claims to have delivered – help to 2,000 residents countywide – is difficult to verify.
“They looked good on paper, like a lot of other projects look good on paper, and sometimes it doesn't pan out,” said El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis.
The mayor, quoted as a supporter in Project Destination's brochures, now says, “We don't even know if they're doing what they're supposed to be doing.”
'We bought into it'
The outstanding loan payments do not affect the city's budget. But the loan payments have taken away from the federal grant money that the city receives annually to revitalize neighborhoods, spark economic development or improve community facilities and services for low-and moderate-income residents. El Cajon receives about $1.2 million a year in Community Development Block Grant funds, Cooksy said.
“The council determined enough is enough,” Cooksy said. “We've done what we can. They've (Heartland) created a lot of jobs but the financial requirement to keep the program up and running is depleting money for other CDBG programs.”
Lewis, the only person still on the council who voted for the project in 1999, said Heartland's concept was so impressive that the majority of the council backed a nonprofit with virtually no track record and no proven fundraising ability.
“We bought into it at the time,” the mayor said.
Mark Hanson, Heartland's president and founder, said today's Project Destination may be different from the original vision. Still, he said, it has helped 2,000 people, about 20 percent of them from El Cajon.
He said Project Destination offers career and apprenticeship preparation, a community technology center, job training and placement. It has a second location in San Diego.
Hanson has filed monthly progress reports with the city listing those served. But El Cajon provides little oversight. The San Diego Union-Tribune reviewed the reports, obtained through a public records request, but the city redacted names and Social Security numbers for privacy reasons.
Heartland officials said they had the best intentions but were overwhelmed by the scope of renovations needed at the Broadway building. The nonprofit pinned its plans on a grant in excess of $300,000 that never came through. There was no Plan B for funding.
Yet Heartland's detailed proposals to the city seven years ago confidently claimed that Project Destination would reap more than $1 million in profits each year and plow the money back into the program.
“We did our best given the situation,” Hanson said.
Ideal on paper
When Heartland took its proposal to the city in 1999, city staff, which often makes recommendations on whether projects should move forward or need more work, didn't take a position on the loan application. “We didn't know a lot about this group, so we thought the council really needed to make this decision,” said Community Development Director Jim Griffin, whose department oversaw the distribution of CDBG money in 1999.
The council agreed to secure a $1.3 million loan on Heartland's behalf from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money would be used to buy and renovate the two-story office building and provide some start-up money for a wide-reaching vocational center that would partner with the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and local businesses.
In return, Heartland would handle all upgrades and rent offices to businesses supporting its mission. There would be enough money to make loan payments to the city and turn a profit, organizers promised.
The council approved the plan in a split vote. City leaders say Project Destination sounded ideal on paper, and Heartland offered up a slew of local business leaders who pledged to make the program a success.
Yet some who wrote letters of support had little to do with the program after the loan was received.
Buddy Wilkerson, Heartland's executive director at the time, said he gave up his position when it became clear there was no funding for the dental hygiene school and other programs he wanted.
“I think everybody had real good intentions,” Wilkerson said. “It would have worked” if the $300,000 grant had come through.
The college district backed Heartland's concept in the beginning. It offered computer classes at the Broadway building until 2002, said district spokeswoman Dana Quittner, but it was never affiliated with Project Destination.
Yet the building still has a sign for the Grossmont College Business & Technology Institute out front. A mention of the district as a community partner in Project Destination's brochure is a “misrepresentation of a nonexistent relationship,” Quittner said.
Recouping the money
Hanson, who has led Heartland since 2002, said he and many others have worked hard without pay. Heartland and Project Destination are run by volunteers, he said. Hanson said he worried about taking the loan in 1999 and voted against the idea as a board member. He said he talked up the program to the city because the board wanted to move forward.
“Nobody said, 'We guarantee we are going to get all this money,' ” Hanson said.
But no one at Project Destination warned the city the grants might not come through either, according to city documents.
The Broadway building is finally fully occupied with 13 tenants, including Heartland, Hanson said. He estimates Heartland has paid for about $1 million in upgrades, including carpet, paint, air conditioning and fire code compliance.
“It was a dream and an idea and once the building sells, it's a win-win,” Hanson said.
The city is banking on eventually recouping its money. While Heartland holds the deed to the property, the city holds a note on it, meaning the city would be repaid before Heartland receives money from a sale.
Heartland is trying to sell the building now. Hanson said he has three offers. If El Cajon forecloses before the building is sold, the city will probably take over the sale.
City officials said it's likely such an agreement between the city and a nonprofit would be handled differently now. This is the only arrangement of its kind in El Cajon.
Councilman Dick Ramos, who along with Councilman Bob McClellan voted against the plan in 1999, said he hopes the building sells soon.
“It currently is a mess but it remains to be seen what's going to happen,” Ramos said. “I think we'll be able to get most, if not all, of our money back.”
Christo Fascists on the City Council
El Cajon mixing religion into government
Regarding El Cajon City Council's advocation of religion in government:
The United States Constitution with its Bill of Rights outlines the rights and protections of citizens from the government. The Constitution protects the citizens against the abuse of power of the government. The government is restricted by the Constitution on how it can exercise power of citizens.
Those of us who care to can argue all day long about the separation of church and state. Each of us can pull out our lists of quotes from long dead people about the intentions of our country's founders. Fortunately, for each of us, the Constitution empowers the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution and how imposed laws conflict with it. With the collective experience and education, the Supreme Court has concluded time and time again that the government cannot aid one or any religions or make a preference over another. In addition, the court clearly defines the restrictions of the government on its attempts to enforce a belief or disbelief in any religion.
The Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
In its interpretation of the Constitution, the court has found that there is a separation of church and state. That doesn't mean we can't have God in our hearts when performing our duties as government officials. No one is taking your God away from you. It means that the government cannot discriminate against those who don't believe in a specific religion. It simply means the government is restricted in its dealings with citizens when it pertains to religion.
The individual members of the El Cajon City Council are citizens when they are not sitting as the council. Citizen Bob McClellan has the right to speak about religion. Of course, citizen McClellan has the absolute protected right to be ignorant of history and to advocate Christianity in government and to proselytize until Jesus returns. Absolutely, no one is trying to take those rights from him.
While in a meeting of the council, however, he is part of the government. Contrary to the assertions McClellan made from his council seat on the dais at the Oct. 9 meeting, he does not have the right to speak about religion from his seat. When McClellan does so, he is speaking as the El Cajon City Council (the government) that the separation of church and state is a myth and that our founding fathers intended religion to be in the government. Unfortunately for him, by doing these things from his council seat or speaking to the press as a council member, McClellan is violating his oath of office by not protecting and defending the Constitution. The others on the council are just as guilty for allowing it.
While I'm not happy with the current leanings of the Supreme Court, I certainly wouldn't unilaterally decide that it is wrong and just do what I pleased. Per our United States Constitution, the government has restrictions that our El Cajon City Council doesn't honor.
KAREN MARIE OTTER, El Cajon
I applaud McClellan for expressing his right to freedom of speech regarding the Lord Jesus Christ. I think most Christians like myself are tired of being shouted down, ridiculed and told we can't have Christmas scenes, etc. They use the excuse of separation of church and state, being politically correct, fear of offending someone, or any other excuse.
RON SEES, Santee
Recounting history on church, state
So it's unanimous. El Cajon Councilman Bob McClellan's claim that the nation's founders intended ours to be a Christian nation was flatly rejected in every letter published on Oct. 4 (“Purge council meetings of 'religious moments' ”). It's important not because it calls out Councilman McClellan's distortion of well-documented history, but because of the light it shines on the almost certain protestations from Christians who accuse of religious persecution.
The Founders were clear: The Constitution guarantees your right to practice whatever religion you want, or no religion at all. It neither assures nor denies any religious foundation for this country. But most of all, Thomas Jefferson, in his Danbury letter, and elsewhere, clarified the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
Stay tuned for the uproar.
DAVID SALOW, Escondido
Councilman still sharing his beliefs
Public comment time becomes new pulpit
October 10, 2007 A warning from the city attorney has pushed “Bob's Constitutional Moments” off the El Cajon City Council agenda, but Bob McClellan is still sharing his religious beliefs during meetings.
Last month, the four-term councilman started adding “Bob's Constitutional Moments” to the agenda, using quotes from early Americans to argue that the nation's founders didn't want a separation of church and state. McClellan's “moments” were removed from the agenda after the city attorney sent a confidential memo to the council last week. At yesterday's meeting, McClellan instead spoke during the public comment portion.
After citizens had their turn speaking, McClellan, an evangelical Christian, talked about the importance of religious freedom and said removing religion from government “is a detriment to our society.” He never mentioned “Bob's Constitutional Moments” and gave no reason for the change in the agenda.
In a three-page memo dated Oct. 3, City Attorney Morgan Foley recommended that the city “discontinue agenda items allowing council members a forum to express his or her opinions and beliefs on United States Constitutional issues.”
Although some cities begin their meetings with prayer, they are usually careful not to endorse one religion over another.
Allowing McClellan to opine on religion, Foley wrote, “increases the risk that the City will be embroiled in long, protracted, and expensive litigation over the allegation that the City Council is 'establishing' Christianity as an accepted official religion of the City of El Cajon.”
If the council wants to bring back “moments,” the matter should be discussed during a council meeting. Otherwise, the memo says, McClellan can voice his opinions during the public comment portion.
In El Cajon, speakers are given three minutes and must speak at the podium. McClellan adhered to the time constraints, but spoke from his seat – against Foley's advice.
The memo says McClellan should “be required to leave his seat on the dais and stand at the podium in order to send the clear message that his comments express opinions of his own and not necessarily those of the entire City Council, or the City of El Cajon.”
By law, legislative bodies must set aside time during every meeting to allow the public to talk about issues that are not on the agenda.
It is unusual for elected officials to speak during public comment but there is nothing in the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state's open meeting law, that prevents it, said Terry Franke, general counsel for Californians Aware, an organization that advocates for open government.
“If the council wants to indulge its members, to give them a kind of bully pulpit for simply saying anything . . . it's their time to waste,” Franke said.
Purge council meetings of 'religious moments'
Regarding “Councilman takes 'moment' for Christianity at meetings,” Sept. 27, A-1:
El Cajon Councilman Bob McClellan has taken it upon himself to teach us, as your reporter put it, that “the nation's founders didn't want a separation of church and state – especially when it came to Christianity.” “People need to be informed about our true history,” McClellan says.
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Yes, they do need to be informed – so that McClellan can't bamboozle them with his biased and bogus “constitutional moments.”
Our true history, as expressed in Article 1 of the Bill of Rights and by many of our Founding Fathers themselves, is one of staunch secularism.
To James Madison, the “fruits” of Christianity were “superstition, bigotry and persecution.” “Lighthouses are more useful than churches,” said Benjamin Franklin. “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it,” said John Adams. “Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man,” said Thomas Jefferson, who also called on us to “fix reason firmly in her seat” and “question with boldness even the existence of a God.”
If, as McClellan asserts, “the problem in this nation” is “that we're trying to eliminate religious activity, especially Christian, in our public lives,” then that “problem” was created, quite intentionally, by the very men who McClellan mistakenly believes wanted to meld church and state.
“The fact that the United States was not founded as a Christian nation,” writes Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion,” “was early stated in the terms of a treaty with Tripoli, drafted in 1796 under George Washington and signed by John Adams in 1797.” That treaty begins with these words: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion...”
That is America's true and admirable history – keeping church and state safely apart so the former will never usurp the powers of the latter.
CHARLES HARRINGTON ELSTER, San Diego
I don't know where McClellan got his information on the founding fathers, but he had better read again. The reason they left England was to avoid religious persecution!
I am sick and tired of these so-called religious Evangelists. It is bad enough we have them on TV milking people for their gain, and preaching 2,000 years of lies. Only 1 percent of the people could read and write in Jesus' time, and they created and changed what they wanted in the Bible, old and new. The libraries in Alexandria and Byzantium were burned by these Christians to hide the truth. Some 32,000 volumes were burned in the square in Spain to hide the truth, let alone half of the population that was killed in the name of Christ. More people have been killed in religious wars than all world wars put together.
I suggest that people open their eyes and read Anthony Freke and Peter Gandy's book, “The Laughing Jesus” and Charles Guignebert's “Jesus” and “The Vatican Condemned.” These books have all been heavily documented and researched.
Instead of getting out of the Dark Ages, we are going back.
I deplore the fact that you put this individual on the front page of the newspaper. I would love to see him on a panel show with Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy and a few other authors who have researched the truth.
JOHN COCHANES, San Ysidro
Bob McClellan's “moments” during City Council meetings are clearly unconstitutional. The article says “no one has challenged the legality of them” before, but I, for one, will now. I hope others follow.
And Mayor Mark Lewis says, “Until they elect all heathens we're going to sneak a prayer in once in a while.” So he thinks that anyone who isn't for prayer at a government meeting is a “heathen”? Nice. To hell with his non-Christian constituents, I guess.
J.B. REYNOLDS, La Mesa
Separation of church and state has always been a cornerstone of the democratic political systems of our nation.
In the past few decades, there have been concerted efforts to either blur or destroy that line. McClellan's “Bob's Constitutional Moments” are a perfect example of such attempts.
Using only material that supports his particular agenda, he ignores historical facts and writings that completely refute what he says.
McClellan, as a private citizen, has every right to pursue his religious beliefs. McClellan, as an elected official of the city of El Cajon, does not.
He has brought ridicule upon our city and certainly hurt the “Cosmopolitan City” image that we have been trying to project.
JIM WILLIAMS, Santee
El Cajon yanks religious programs off city channel
- The opening of an El Cajon city DVD (top) showed God government. Below, it was morphed into good government.
October 25, 2006 EL CAJON – Until recently, viewers clicking on El Cajon's government access channel might have seen statistics linking the rise in teen pregnancy to the ban on school prayer, and heard lines such as, “God makes it clear that the purpose of government is to reward the righteous and to punish the wicked.” That's what Raymond Lutz found one night while watching TV.
Lutz's complaints prompted the city manager to yank the programming from Channel 24, but the debate continues over what is appropriate for a government channel.
Lutz, president of the East County Democratic Club, said the videos skew history. He wants the City Council to air another viewpoint, such as a film about the separation of church and state.
Most council members said they would have to review new material before allowing it on Channel 24, even though most haven't seen all, if any, of the five programs pulled.
They include “The Role of Pastors & Christians in Civil Government” and “America's Godly Heritage,” which intertwine lessons in American history with Bible scriptures.
The videos, and the request that they be shown, came from Councilman Bob McClellan in 2002. They aired regularly until Lutz's complaint.
“I think its important for people to understand the history of our nation,” said McClellan, who rejects the separation of church and state.
“There is no separation. If you read the First Amendment, you'd understand that. It doesn't say anything about separation of church and state.”
The videos are produced by Texas-based WallBuilders.
The group was founded by David Barton and is focused on “presenting America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built,” according to its Web site.
Last year, Barton was named one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America by Time magazine. He is politically active, having worked for years as vice chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.
Lutz said the videos promote religion, which violates city policy.
Three of the five council members – McClellan, Gary Kendrick and Mayor Mark Lewis – said the videos are based on historical documents.
A key point of the videos is to connect Christianity to government. In the opening of one called “Keys to Good Government According to the Founding Fathers,” Barton says America has been blessed by God. “Ironically, in a nation once distinguished for its faith and made great by its people of faith, public expressions of that traditional faith are now viewed as a threat to government,” Barton says. “This is nowhere more evident than in our courts.”
In the video, Barton links a rise in teen pregnancy, divorce and violent crime to the 1962 U.S. Supreme Court ban on sectarian prayer in public schools.
Lutz is proposing a slew of changes for how Channel 24 is run.
He asked that his plan be part of yesterday's City Council agenda, but was denied. Lutz and three others still attended to voice their objections during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“This is the only kind of video they've had for four years,” Lutz said. “There haven't been any other points of view on. None.”
At least one watchdog group says the material doesn't belong on city-controlled TV.
Barry Lynn, executive director of Washington, D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the videos are better suited to public-access television.
“It's bad government to adopt this very controversial view of Barton's and then put it on a channel that seems to be dedicated to official government programs,” Lynn said.
Barton's supporters have pushed for his videos to be shown in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Lynn said, but he has “never heard of an actual city or county that has officially been running this on a government access channel.”
Barton, who describes himself as a historian and educator, said his programs are based on the more than 70,000 historic documents and texts he has acquired over the years. “We document heavily and we challenge (critics) to disprove us,” Barton said in an interview.
City Manager Kathi Henry said the final decision on whether to show the videos lies with the council, which is expected to discuss it later this year.
Henry, city manager since 2004, said she watched at least one of the five videos. Whether they are educational is debatable, she said. Henry decided they were inappropriate after receiving Lutz's complaint.
“It looked pretty clear to me that it didn't fit the guidelines,” she said.
No taxpayer dollars were spent to air them, Henry said, but Lutz is skeptical.
The city pays El Cajon-based Video Technics about $25,000 a year to record council and school board meetings, post city events and play tapes or DVDs.
The city extended the company's contract at least once, in 2003, to allow videos – including those from WallBuilders – to be shown.
The council agreed to show the videos in 2002. Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox had not yet been elected.
McClellan, an evangelical Christian, disagrees with Henry's decision to pull the videos. McClellan sometimes shows the videos during talks he gives on American history, and he has staffed a booth for WallBuilders at Christian Coalition events. Councilman Dick Ramos said he objected to the videos from the start but was outnumbered on the council. Ramos said he only would support a neutral presentation of American history on Channel 24.
Lewis and Kendrick said they have seen some of the programs and defended their content. Both said they want to hear from the city attorney before deciding whether to continue airing them.
Ramos is Catholic. Lewis said he is a born-again Christian, and Kendrick calls himself an evangelical.
“From what I saw, it was a fair and accurate portrayal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” Lewis said. “If you don't agree, just turn the channel.”
Kendrick said viewing the videos is no different than taking a college history class.
“Anything that doesn't profess hatred should be allowed some time on government access,” he said.
Lutz's complaint came a little more than a month before the Nov. 7 election, which includes runs by Lewis and Kendrick. Lutz denied any connection.
“If I would have known about this earlier, I would have brought this up earlier,” he said.
El Cajon mayor not taking race for granted
Lewis has money edge against two challengers
September 30, 2006 EL CAJON – Mayor Mark Lewis has the power of incumbency and a pile of money to spend in the race to lead East County's largest city for the next four years.
His challengers, former El Cajon Councilman Charles Santos and current El Cajon Planning Commission chairman Tom Black, know it won't be easy to unseat him.
Santos, who lost his seat to Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox in the 2004 election, said residents encouraged him to enter the race. “I would not run if I didn't think I had a good chance to win,” Santos said. He's hoping to sway residents unhappy with some of the council's recent decisions, particularly its support of a proposed Home Depot east of the city.
Black, the other challenger, has served on numerous city commissions and civic organizations and last year launched El Cajon's first video and film festival. He said he isn't raising any money and plans to spend little. He knows he's a longshot.
“I'm up against big bucks and the vote is split with Santos in the race,” Black said. “I am going to hang in there because I do want to be mayor someday.”
Lewis said he's running on his record and highlighting the changes in El Cajon during his eight years at the helm, including ongoing downtown revitalization and a voter-approved sales tax measure that will fund a new public safety building and a new animal shelter.
“I think (voters) have seen changes for the good in El Cajon,” Lewis said.
But he's not counting out his opponents.
“I feel good, but I'm not going to sit back on my laurels, either,” he said.
That's obvious, considering Lewis collected more than $36,000 in donations during the first half of the year. Santos, who didn't announce his candidacy until mid-August, has about $5,000. Black says he will only spend about $3,000 of his own money.
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ECPD posts pictures of hookers and johns
RECORD KEEPING May police maintain gun sale records? Yes
California - State law authorizes law enforcement to keep a record of every handgun sold or transferred in the state, but the state does not keep any records on the sale of rifles or shotguns. The handgun sale records are maintained by state law enforcement for use in gun tracing and related criminal investigations. People who move into California with guns must provide a record to state law enforcement. Also see: Registration.
REGISTRATION Are all guns registered with law enforcement? Partial
California - State law only requires registration of assault weapons. No state requirement that other firearms be registered. Police do not known how many guns are in the state or where they are. The lack of registration makes it difficult for police to trace guns used in crime, identify illegal gun traffickers or hold gun owners accountable for the illegal use of their weapons. State law enforcement has kept records on handgun transfers (not rifles or shotguns) since 1990, but there is no way of knowing whether the buyers still have those handguns - there is no requirement for reporting of lost or stolen guns. The state does compare the existing handgun sale records with recent criminal convictions to identify gun owners who are no longer allowed to possess handguns. Also see: Record Keeping.
Mother Goose Parade
Duane 'Dog' Chapman has been nixed from the lineup in El Cajon's Mother Goose Parade
November 04, 2007 EL CAJON - Duane "Dog" Chapman, the flamboyant, born-again bounty hunter in trouble recently for his use of the n-word, has been nixed from the lineup in El Cajon's Nov. 19 Mother Goose Parade.
"It was mutually agreed between Duane "Dog" Chapman and the Mother Goose Parade Association that Dog would not participate in the parade this year. Dog did not want to cause any disturbances with the parade," according to statement from the city.
The parade is primarily for children.
The National Enquirer recently published a story, quoting Chapman using the n-word as he talked about his son's girlfriend.
Chapman is an ex-con who did time in a Texas prison for a 1977 murder and later became a bounty hunter. He is probably best-known for nabbing Southern California date-rape suspect Andrew Luster, an heir to the Max Factor fortune, in Mexico in 2003.
The arrest helped Chapman, now based in Hawaii, get a reality show on A&E.
for entertainment there was the Bostonia Ballroom, a huge dance hall and country music honkey-tonk near Second and Broadway. In 1952 the Ballroom was being managed by a fiddle player named Cactus Soldi and a bandleader and television host named Smokey Rodgers. Under their direction the Ballroom turned into a major stop on the West Coast circuit and for decades El Cajon was treated to the biggest names in country music: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Lefty Frizzel, Bob Wills, Patsy Kline, Jerry Lee Lewis and so many more that are now long forgotten. http://local.sandiego.com/news/the-secrets-and-history-of-el-cajon
El Cajon Municipal Code http://qcode.us/codes/elcajon/
Lend A Hand program
a long-running project of the El Cajon Community Development Corp., a nonprofit group whose mission is revitalizing downtown. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080131-9999-1ez31cleanup.html
If you have any questions, please contact Jenny Flanagan at (619) 572-2021 or via email at Jenny@downtownelcajon.com
Over the past several years, El Cajon has experienced tremendous success in revitalizing its historic downtown core. While other communities continue to struggle with the thorny problem of redevelopment, El Cajon has not only blossomed, it has gained the momentum of a full-fledged juggernaut. http://uteast.signonsandiego.com/?q=node/1417 contrast to this: http://www.city-data.com/forum/san-diego/121765-el-cajon-gang-activity-esb.html