A DIVERSE FIELD OF EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES: BALLOT STATEMENTS ARE NOW AVAILABLE

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By Jonathan Goetz

Ten candidates, including two incumbents, are running for three City Council seats in El Cajon. Councilmember Tony Ambrose has chosen not to run for re-election, which means the Council will see at least one new face after the November 8 election.   

The candidates reflect the growing diversity in El Cajon, including Latino, African-American, and Middle Eastern candidates.  Though the race is nonpartisan, the list includes several prominent Democratic and Republican community leaders , five with party endorsements,  as well as lesser known challengers-- all vying to pick up an open seat or unseat one of two incumbents on the Council.

Incumbents Bob McClellan and Star Bales have both received the County Republican Party endorsement.  It is unclear whether the party will endorse one of the other Republicans in the race to form a slate. A “slate” is when multiple candidates team up and share resources to support their collective election prospects. But El Cajon’s Council members have traditionally backed conservative candidates with experience on the Planning Commission, making Operations Supervisor Paul Circo a logical choice.

Nonprofit Director Vickie Butcher and Ben Kalasho, President of the East County Chaldean Chamber of Commerce , also begin with advantages. They have both sought seats on El Cajon’s City Council in the past and have substantial community support.  Both are endorsed by the San Diego Democratic Party, as is Stephanie Harper, creating a slate for Democratic voters in the city that now has more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Vickie Butcher has received the endorsement from the San Diego Union Tribune four times in previous bids for El Cajon City Council. The UT was impressed with her twelve years as a Planning Commissioner and believe she has the ability to secure federal grants for things such as downtown revitalization. Her resume boasts international experience, including having helped bring clean water and other resources to at least fifteen countries.  She has also run for Congress in the past and has a long record of community service in many organizations, thus has wide name recognition. If elected she would be the first African-American on the Council.

Kalasho ran for El Cajon City Council in 2012 and came up just 398 votes behind McClellan, or 13.8% to 14.5% in the race with several candidates. Kalasho was the target of hit pieces by the Lincoln Club. A rising star in the business community, earlier this year Kalasho was featured on the front cover of the San Diego Weekly Reader. As president of the Chaldean American of Commerce, he has led a  gift card drive for the homeless,  runs the Miss Middle East Pageant to provide scholarships and empowerment for Middle Eastern women, and grown the Chamber to 532 members.  If elected, he would join  Star Bales to give the large Chaldean population two voices on the Council.

Business Owner Humbert Cabrera, the El Cajon 2016 Citizen of the Year, is well suited to assemble a broad coalition for his candidacy and add a Latino voice on the El Cajon City Council. He was President of the El Cajon Rotary Club last year and is on the Board of The Salvation Army of El Cajon and Community Action Service Advocacy. His memberships in the East County Chamber of Commerce and the Latino-American Political Association may also reap dividends should they choose to invest in his candidacy.  He is a registered Republican and he, too, is well known in many community gorups.

Stephanie Harper, a mother, began campaigning early in this election cycle. She has been visiting community groups and organizations seeking their support and speaking out at City Council meetings about issues such as the East County Performing Arts Center, the Animal Shelter, homelessness and poverty.

Businessman/IT Manager George Glover serves on the El Cajon Veterans’ Commission. He is registered as a Republican. He could draw backing from veterans and the business community.

Joseph Fountain is a special education teacher but did not submit a ballot statement. He is a registered Democrat.  A search of social media indicates he holds progressive views on wage and racial equality issues. He previously ran for political offices in Massachusetts before moving to El Cajon.

 Complete ballot statements and ages for all those candidates who submitted them are found below.

Star Bales

Occupation: Council Member

Party Affiliation: Republican

As an immigrant from Iraq, I have been blessed with the opportunity to experience the American Dream, and I hope I can continue improving this community through public service.

Prior to my time on the El Cajon City Council, I served as on the El Cajon Planning Commission and El Cajon Arts and Culture Commission.

In 2007, I worked side by side with our brave men and women in uniform. My service as a civilian contractor in Iraq provided critical aide to our troops.

As an El Cajon City Council member, I’ve worked to bring great progress to our city. During my term, we’ve:

-Implemented balanced budgets.

-Reduced crime by 25%.

-Enhanced our quality of life with fun public events, and improvements to our parks.

-Supported pro-business policies that help grow jobs and our local economy.

-Approved many new, high-quality residential homes to provide new options for our residents.

Should you elect me to another term, I will continue working hard on issues that matter most including infrastructure, public safety, recreational opportunities, and economic growth.

I have been a resident of El Cajon since 1983 with my husband Gerald and our two children. I would be honored to have your vote.

 

Vickie Knight Butcher

Occupation: Executive Director Water for Children Africa

Party Affiliation: Democratic

Vickie Knight Butcher served on the City of El Cajon Planning Commission for 12 years and had the opportunity to serve as its chair. Vickie is a 35 year resident of the City of El Cajon, where she and her husband, Dr. Richard Butcher, raised five children and actively volunteered in the athletic program of Granite Hills High School.

She earned her undergrad degree in Education for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and continued her education by earning a law degree. She worked at the East County Regional Center Municipal Court in El Cajon. Civic service includes both Rotary and Kiwanis clubs. Vickie brings state, national and international leadership to this race. She served on the State of California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the State Advisory Board on Drug Programs and on the Grossmont Hospital Foundation Board. She is a past president of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association and the World Affairs Council.

As Executive Director of Water for Children Africa, Inc., she has led many humanitarian efforts to provide safe, sustainable water to needy children in rural African villages and has headed 20 international trade business conferences.

 

Humbert Cabrera

Age: 49

Occupation: Business Owner/Citizen of the Year

Party Affiliation: Republican

Let’s journey together to make El Cajon great once more!

Humbert Cabrera is an El Cajon native. Being born and educated in El Cajon gives him a unique perspective. After working with small businesses and Fortune 500 companies around the world, Humbert returned home to create a business in El Cajon.

Together, we can bring jobs back. Let’s work to address homelessness. Let’s create solutions to the over-burdening Government regulations and free up workers and businesses to bring American prosperity back to El Cajon. Real Plans for Real People.

Humbert was named El Cajon Citizen of the Year for using his leadership skills, bringing jobs to El Cajon, and for his volunteer work and involvement in the Rotary Club, Salvation Army, Elks Lodge, LAPA, The East County Chamber of Commerce, Community Action Service Advocacy, and ECP. He is known for helping businesses, the working poor, and less fortunate in the community. As a community activist; he supported the efforts to pass the Deemed Approved Ordinance, Proposition D, and the elimination of faulty red light cameras.

By bridging gaps, listening to real people, and working together, we can unleash the power of all citizens and make El Cajon thrive.

I am asking for your vote. www.humbertcabrera.com

 

Paul Circo

Age: 35

Occupation: Operations Supervisor

Party Affiliation: Republican

Paul Circo has the local roots, experience, and vision we need for the El Cajon City Council.

Paul has been a resident, employee, and community volunteer in El Cajon for more than 16 years. He met his wife in El Cajon, and they are raising four children in our city. Paul is a dedicated member of Shadow Mountain Community Church and has mentored hundreds of El Cajon children through the AWANA Program.

Paul has been deeply involved in city issues through his role on the El Cajon Planning Commission. Paul has been a leader in the effort to write and implement zoning ordinances that maintain El Cajon’s small-town feel. He was a critical force in stopping the proposed downtown development plan that would have required a minimum of eight stories in certain parts of our city.

As a Councilmember, Paul will be dedicated to focusing on the issues that matter to all residents such as infrastructure, parks, public safety, and a growing local economy. He believes protecting our heritage is critical to the future of El Cajon.

Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions at paulcirco@yahoo.com. I would be honored to have your vote.

 

Joseph Fountain

Occupation: Special Education Teacher

Party Affiliation: Democratic

Ballot Statement: None Submitted\

Note:  Fountain did send a statement about his candidacy later to ECM.  He states: 

My name is Joseph Fountain. I am running for the City Council of El Cajon, because I want to make a difference. I want to help small businesses grow and bring a sense of pride to the City of El Cajon. For far too many years, long before I moved here, many people considered El Cajon to be the dumping ground for desperate people, the homeless. With the growth of San Diego as a whole, we stand to reap the rewards of hard work and increasing real estate values. We need to have a vision for the future of El Cajon that will create high tech jobs and better housing.

As the only professed liberal Democrat running for City Council, I have the business sense, having run my own business and others to know what helps and hurts starter companies. As construction management specialist, I know what it takes to put good commercial and residential projects together and what smart growth looks like. As an educator, my present career I know where we need to improve adult education.

What I need from you is your vote on election day your support to make El Cajon a great place to live and work.

Joseph R. Fountain Ed.D "You can't get very far, until you do something for somebody else," Melvin Jones, Founder Lions Club International and Arizonan from Fort Thomas.

 

George V. Glover

Age: 61

Occupation: Businessman/IT Manager

Party Affiliation: None

El Cajon needs strong leadership, ready for the challenges facing our wonderfully diverse community. Our city must be safe for all, particularly our children. Our children must be able to walk to and from school without fear of crime, abduction, or bullying. I support our police and fire departments and will work to be sure they have all the resources required to assure our safety.

We must be fiscally responsible. I’ll keep a close watch on spending, and be sure the budget is balanced. El Cajon needs new businesses. New business expands the tax base, keeps taxes down, creates jobs, and keeps our city thriving during though times. As a small business owner, I understand the challenges facing our local businesses.

I am a Vietnam Era Veteran, American Legion member, and serve on the City of El Cajon Veterans’ Commission. To honor our veterans I authored, and won city council approval for the City of El Cajon Veteran of the Year award.

I’m a member of the East County Chamber of Commerce Veterans Round Table, Citizen of the Year nominee, and recognized for my community work by many elected officials. I ask for your support and your vote.

 

Steve Goble

Age: 55

Occupation: Franchise Marketing Executive

Party Affiliation: Republican

I am running for El Cajon City Council because, like most residents, I want to ensure we have:

safe neighborhoods, quick access to emergency services, roads in good condition, a sound infrastructure for utilities, a pro-business environment, recreational and community programs, a clean community, a rainy day fund for the unexpected, to care for those who can’t care for themselves where appropriate, and to honor the heritage of a friendly El Cajon.

As a former small business owner and now a corporate executive, I will add my experience to the Council, with the goal making El Cajon a more valuable place to shop, dine, play, and live. There are many good things happening in El Cajon’s revival; I’d like to use my experience as a marketing executive to help get others to talk about El Cajon for all the right reasons.

Throughout the years, others have tested and trusted my leadership, elevating me to positions which serve not only business owners, but also clients of charitable organizations such as The Salvation Army, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Please join me in continuing the great work already underway in El Cajon and vote for Steve Goble for El Cajon City Council. Learn more at GobleForCouncil.com.

 

Stephanie Harper

Occupation: Parent

Party Affiliation: Democratic

Elect a real citizen who understands you, not a politician.

I am proud to have been East County born and raised. I’m inspired by the dreams of children who want a future in El Cajon. I am passionate about family, fairness and justice, with the courage to fight for all of them.

Transparency, accountability and responsibility are the qualities I bring to the table. I am an advocate for the underdog and a voice of citizens. I am a problem solver. I believe that if one way doesn’t work you try another way until you get it right.

If elected, I will eliminate waste from our city government budgets and stop the unnecessary spending. I will work to reopen ECPAC. I will collaborate with local unions to ensure that our middle class doesn’t disappear. I will create a plan to help our homeless people.

I attend city council meetings voicing concerns for those who cannot do so. I believe that everyone deserves to have a voice and be heard.

By not voting for three and just voting for me, you will be making change happen.

Thank you for your vote.

Votesharper2016.com

 

Ben Kalasho

Occupation: Chamber of Commerce President

Party Affiliation: Democratic

 “The most important issues for El Cajon residents are that our families live in a clean and safe community. I will ensure that our taxes and fees are justified and spent effectively.”

BEN knows El Cajon’s concerns first hand. He will work to ensure that immigrants coming to El Cajon are vetted and will work to uphold American Values.

BEN is the Founder & President of the fastest growing Chamber of Commerce in San Diego.

BEN considers El Cajon a city of opportunity for business. He will work to attract new businesses and create more jobs for El Cajon residents as he has done throughout his successful Organizations.

BEN went to school in East County and studied Economic at the University of California San Diego. He has been a local community leader for over 12 years.

BEN will be a councilman concerned about public issues, not politics. He is supported by local elected officials from all Republican, Democratic and Independent parties. More importantly, he is supported by thousands of local residents.

BEN is walking door to door and is working hard to earn your vote. A vote for BEN is a vote for the kinds of results that renew El Cajon and your neighborhood! www.BenKalasho.com 619-663-7710

 

W.E. “Bob” McClellan

Occupation: Retired Businessman

Party Affiliation: Republican

BACKGROUND: Born and raised in San Diego’s East County. Family resides in El Cajon.

EDUCATION: Grossmont High School. Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Economics from Whittier College.

QUALIFICATIONS: Local business owner 37 years. Extensive understanding of economic challenges facing small businesses and families. Track record as a council member validates my fiscal responsibility. Knowledge and effective use of business expertise, together with good common sense, affords me the necessary qualifications to continue as a member of the El Cajon City Council.

I believe strongly in continued growth for our city. Our current council has established limits on alcohol sales to serial inebriates, and continues to apply pressure on sale of alcohol to minors. Ordinance changes allowing apartments to be converted to condominiums have provided a sense of pride in ownership for residents, as well as enticing more families and business owners to El Cajon. This includes a major downtown hotel.

El Cajon has become a welcoming and desirable place to live. Continued development and beautification are high on my list of continued goals for our city.

I hold great respect for our Police and Fire Departments and continue to be an ardent supporter.

Your continued support is appreciated.

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