Councilman speaks out against Mayor Wells' proposal to prevent any councilmember from placing items on the agenda without support of another member
By Miriam Raftery
March 9, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho will hold his second town hall meeting tonight from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the El Cajon Police community room, 200 Civic Center Way in El Cajon.
In a video posted on his Facebook page, Kalasho asks public support to block a measure introduced by Mayor Bill Wells that would prevent any individual councilmember from adding an item to the agenda without support of another member. The only Democrat on the Council, Kalasho contends that the proposal is targeting him. That measure is expected to be on the agenda for the March 14th Council hearing at 3 p.m..
Bonnie Price, president of the East County Democratic Club, says she believes Mayor Wells is trying to “silence democracy,” adding, “This is an affront to representation of the people.”
Wells, in the last Council hearing, praised a similar proposal in La Mesa that he said would "take away the ability...to policitize items and putting things on an agenda even if it has no chance of passing," but failed to mention that the La Mesa measure was not adopted. The La Mesa measure was introduced after Democrat Colin Parent won appointment to the otherwise all Republican Council.
Since his election, Kalasho has placed three items on the agenda: a measure to increase the length of time new businesses can keep up a grand opening sign, a proposal to fund a new nonprofit to help seniors, and a proposal for the city to hire homeless people. To date none of the proposals have been adopted.
He contends his proposals reflected wishes of his consituents and that barring him from agendizing items would restrict his ability to represent the wishes of voters.
The City Attorney noted that the measure could create a serial violation of the Brown Act if a councilmember had to consult multiple members to put an item on an agenda.
Kalasho says if he had to go to multiple board members to discuss a possible agenda item, that could violate the Brown Act. He indicated that if the measure is adopted he would talk to County Counsel and the ACLU regarding possible litigation.
View Kalasho’s video on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ben.kalasho.7/videos/1629818897032202/
The agenda for Tuesday’s Council hearing will be posted here when available: