El Cajon

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: ESTELA DE LOS RIOS SPEAKS OUT ON HOMELESSNESS IN SAN DIEGO REGION

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Hear our interview, originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio in January,  by clicking the audio link, and scroll down for highlights of how Esetela de los Rios believes  our region’s homeless problems could and should be solved .

February 18, 2017 (San Diego)—Estela de los Rios with CSA, a fair housing and human rights organization in El Cajon since 1969, is calling for  a change in how the homeless are treated in the city of San Diego and across San Diego County.  San Diego now has the fourth highest number of homeless people in the nation according to the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency statistics.  Yet instead of providing meaningful help to homeless people, San Diego has often resorted to criminalizing homelessness—passing out citations for sleeping in public places and having police seize tents and sleeping bags even amid cold winter storms.

Homeless has affected every city in San Diego County,  including East County cities of El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Santee, as well as unincorporated areas of the County. As San Diego cracks down on homelessness, more homeless people have resorted to camping along river banks,  in parks and on the streets of communities in East County, where homelessness is a problem for every city.

Audio: 

REVITALIZING ECPAC: WILL THE FAT FINALLY LADY GET TO SING?

 

 

El Cajon City Council approves negotiations with major concert promoter Live Nation to manage shuttered East County Performing Arts Center.

By Paul Kruze

 

February 17, 2017 (El Cajon)—As the old saying goes, “It isn’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.”  Just a few years ago, the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) faced possible demise.  It’s remained closed since December 2009.  But the curtain may soon rise again, bringing back stellar entertainment to our region.

LIVE NATION SEEKS TO MANAGE A RESTORED EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dancers performed in front of ECPAC in its heydey.

February 9, 2017 (El Cajon) – The long-shuttered East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) may finally be reopened under management of Live Nation, which claims to be the global leader in live entertainment. According to the company’s website,  Live Nation operates in 7 nations, has produce shows in nearly 40 countries, and has a concert somewhere in the world every 20 minutes.

The El Cajon City Council will vote Tuesday, February 14th at its 3 p.m. meeting on authorizing the City manager to negotiate a draft management agreement with Live Nation .  View agenda and attachments. 

CHALDEAN CHRISTIAN REFUGEES COULD BENEFIT FROM TRUMP EXECUTIVE ORDER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

File photo:  Prayer vigil for Iraqi Christians in El Cajon

January 28, 2017 (El Cajon) – President Donald Trump’s sweeping order restricting refugees from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. has been greeted with optimism by some in San Diego’s Chaldean Christian community, since Trump has stated on a Christian broadcasting station that he would give priority to persecuted Christians, after a tougher vetting process is implemented.

Mark Arabo, president of the Minority Humanitarian Foundation in San Diego, voices hope that the order could help save lives of Christians facing death at the hands of ISIS in the Middle East.  An estimated 400,000 Iraqi Christians have fled Iraq and another 80,000 have been killed or tortured, some by crucifixion and beheadings 

Some have suggested Trump's order could be unconstitutioal for discriminating against Muslims.

Arabo, while hopeful to get help for persecuted Christians,  also expressed a wish for the order to be expanded to protect other people persecuted by ISIS, regardless of their faiths.

ROAD HAZARDS ACROSS REGION, SNOW IN MOUNTAINS, FROST WARNING TONIGHT IN URBAN AREAS

 

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

December 24, 2016 (San Diego's East County)--Heavy snow is blanketing Mt. Laguna, with several inches reported in Boulevard.  Snow could dip to 3,000 feet tonight, with frost possible even in urban and suburban areas such as El Cajon and La Mesa tonight and tomorrow, according to forecaster Alex Tardy with the National Weather Service.

The storm, combined with accidents, has resulted in numerous accidents and other road hazards across our region.

FREE CHRISTMAS TREE GIVEAWAY FOR EL CAJON RESIDENTS DEC. 23

 

Source: City of El Cajon

December 21, 2016 (El Cajon) --Newly elected El Cajon City Councilmember Steve Goble and the El Cajon Police Department are hosting a “Free Christmas Tree” giveaway this Friday, December 23rd.

These free Christmas trees will be given out from 7:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon at Cartwright Pest Control, located at 1376 Broadway in El Cajon.   There will be 150 trees, up to 8’ tall and some will include flocking.  The trees will be given out first come, first serve, while supplies last.

EL CAJON SETS DEC. 13 PUBLIC HEARING ON MARIJUANA GROWING BAN

 

 

East County News Service

December 1,  2016 (El Cajon) –El Cajon’s City Council will hold a public hearing on Tuesday,  December 13 at 3 p.m. in Council Chambers (200 Civic Center Way) to consider extending an ordinance banning outdoor marijuana growing for the next year.

Following passage of Proposition 64, the statewide ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana including growing up to six plants per household,  El Cajon’s City Council on Nov. 15 passed an emergency ordinance banning outdoor growing of marijuana plants until Dec. 30 in all zones within the city.  The hearing on Dec. 31 would be on a proposal to extend that ban until  Nov.14, 2017.

PASSAGES: DR .RICHARD BUTCHER, 77, HEALTHCARE HERO

 

Hear our 2015 radio interview with Dr. Butcher:  http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/9ljhcdy6y7/Newsmaker-RichardButcherMD-heal...

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 18,  2016 (El  Cajon)—Dr. Richard O.  Butcher,  77, an El Cajon resident and  prominent San Diego physician honored nationally for his dedication to serving patients in poor and minority communities,  died of heart failure Saturday while attending the American Medical Association’s annual meeting in Florida.

Dr. Butcher was  highly respected in San Diego’s medical, philanthropic and sports communities,  as well as at the national  level.   Last year, he received the National Medical Association’s Practitioner of the Year Award.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: SIGN OF THE TIMES

 

November 5, 2016 (El  Cajon)—Anonymous citizens have added commentary above and below a sign touting three conservative candidates for El Cajon City Council: Paul  Circo,  Star Bales and Bob McClellan. 

New signs cheekily note that these three candidates “did not show for debates,  did not show for a prayer vigil” (in response to a  police shooting), and “can’t spell their own name on their own signs,” a reference to a misspelling in McClellan’s name.

EL CAJON POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES GRANT FOR SPECIAL TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT AND CRASH PREVENTION

Source:  City of El Cajon

October 31,2016 (El Cajon)--The El Cajon Police Department has been awarded a $170,000.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries.  The El Cajon Police Department will use the funding as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to keep roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education, according to a release issued today.

“The El Cajon Police Department is looking forward to working with OTS, our partners in Law Enforcement, and our community stakeholders to reduce injury and death related to traffic collisions,” stated El Cajon Police Lieutenant Randy Soulard. “With an emphasis on the prevention of pedestrian and bicycle-related collisions, we will work collaboratively using a multi-pronged approach in addressing education and enforcement aspects of collision reduction.”

BRUSH FIRE IN ELCAJON

 

Photo credit:  Dave Nunes

October 24, 2016 (El Cajon) -- A SIG Alert has been issued for I-8 east due to a two-acre brush fire burning alongside the freeway just east of Greenfield in unincorporated El Cajon. The fire is burning uphill toward the Wal-Mart store, according to the CHP incident page.

ECM has a reporter en route to the scene; check back for details.

A TRUE STORY OF LOVE AND WAR

 

A Foreign Affair: A True Story of Love and War, by Amanda Matti (Available at Amazon.com, 2016, 354 pages).

Preview by Dennis Moore

October 19, 2016 (San Diego) - I can’t wait to get my hands on this book, as the author, an El Cajon resident has indicated to me just today that she will be mailing it out to me for my review in the East County Magazine. She will also appear on our “East County Magazine Live!” radio show to be interviewed with all the salacious details of this book. A Foreign Affair has all the ingredients of true love and intrigue in a foreign country, which the author describes as “love at first sight” between herself, as a U.S. Navy Analyst, and her Iraqi translator Fahdi, in war-torn Iraq.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS FROM EL CAJON CANDIDATE DEBATE

 

October 13, 2016 (El Cajon )-- Mega Network has created a video montage with highlights from the recent El Cajon candidate forum at Grossmont College.  Seven candidates fielded questions from moderators and the audience on a wide range of issues, from the recent police shooting to reopeningthe East County Performing Arts Center to ideas for strengthening the community

Candidates participating were Stephanie Harper, Ben Kalasho,  Humbert Cabrera,  Steve Goble, George Glover,Joseph Fountain and Vickie Knight Butcher, all challengers. (Photos below) Incumbents Bob McClellan and Star Bales did not attend,nor did challenge Paul Circo.

DETAILS ON PAST SHOOTINGS BY EL CAJON POLICE EMERGE

 

ECM records document 9 of the 12 ECPD shootings in the past decade

By Miriam Raftery

October 9, 2016 (El Cajon)—Yesterday,  the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that El Cajon Police Department had 12 officer-involved shootings in the past 10 years, including five fatal shootings.  According to the U-T,  El Cajon had the highest rate of shooting per 100,000 people of any law enforcement agency in the county.

The U-T story mentioned only two shootings specifically: the recent fatal shooting of Alfred Olango, an African refugee reportedly having a mental health crisis who pointed a vaping device resembling a gun at an officer, and Kelsey Hauser, a white female passenger fatally shot in January 2016 following a high-speed chase of a stolen vehicle that had rammed a police car.

East County Magazine searched our records, which date back to late 2008 when we began publishing,  and found details on a total of nine of the 12 shootings.  At least four of those were fatal, including the two listed above.

POLICE: 7TH GRADER MADE KILLER CLOWN THREAT TARGETING MIDDLE SCHOOL IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

October 7, 2016 (El Cajon )—El Cajon Police provided extra security today at Montgomery Middle School after a series of threats circulated on Instagram by a user named “elcajonclown.”

 ECM obtained a copy of one threat, which read, “Who wants to get hired killing teachers?” 10 News reports an additional threat posted, which stated, "Tomorrow we attacking Montgomery at 9:30 AM send this [expletive] to montgomerys teachers we will kill all teachers and kidnap students we will have 19 people age 17+ be ready.”

7 EL CAJON COUNCIL CANDIDATES WILL BE AT TONIGHT'S JOURNALISM FORUM AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 5, 2016  (El Cajon) –El Cajon residents are invited to attend a Journalism  Forum featuring candidates running for the  El Cajon City Council.  The forum, co-moderated by journalists from four major media outlets, will be held on Wednesday, October 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Grossmont College at Griffin Gate in Griffin Center. (See map.)

Bring your questions, meet the candidates and hear their ideas and goals for El Cajon.

The moderators will be: Miriam Raftery,  editor of East County Magazine, Karen Pearlman, reporter for the San Diego-Union Tribune, Albert  Fulcher,  editor of the East County Californian, and Marya Fani, broadcast journalist at Mega Network. 

DEMONSTRATIONS CONTINUE IN EL CAJON; LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPERTS OFFER OPINIONS ON SHOOTING

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 1, 2016 (El Cajon)—No arrests were made overnight as protests continued for a fourth night and into today, following the shooting of Alfred Olango by El Cajon Police on Tuesday.

Tensions remain despite video released yesterday and a photo showing Olango in a shooting stance, aiming a vaping device at Officer Richard Gonsalves, who has said he believed it to be a gun. 

VIDEO OF EL CAJON POLICE SHOOTING RELEASED

Unrest continues for fourth night, prompting business closures

By Miriam Raftery

Warning:  Graphic content in video

September 30, 2016 (El Cajon)—At a press conference in El Cajon this afternoon, authorities released two videos  in the fatal shooting of Alfred Olango, 38, by police.  The first is surveillance video from a taco shop; the second is cell phone video taken by a witness.

DEMONSTRATIONS CONTINUE OVERNIGHT IN EL CAJON: TEAR GAS DEPLOYED AS PROTEST TURNS VIOLENT

 

2 men wanted for stealing photojournalist’s $15,000 camera Wednesday night

By Miriam Raftery

September 30, 2016 (El Cajon)--Demonstrations continued overnight in El Cajon over the killing of Alfred Olango Tuesday by police.

  After receiving several 911 calls of 50-70 protesters blocking cars and breaking car windows, police declared an unlawful assembly. 10 News reports that tear gas and pepper balls were deployed by police. The station posted video of the incident and reported that protesters also knocked a motorcyclist off a motorcycle. Glass bottles were also thrown at officers. Two arrests were made, according to police.

 “A large group of demonstrators marched through the streets throughout the evening and into the early morning hours,”said Lieutenant Rob Ransweiler.

Police are also investigating theft of a $15,000 camera taken forcibly from a photojournalist.   A video viewed by 250,000 people on social media has led to identification one suspect, San Diego News Video reports.  Public help is requested to identify a second subject shown at the end of a video here: https://www.facebook.com/SDNVtv/videos/918156954956981/

OFFICER INVOLVED IN EL CAJON SHOOTING HAD BEEN DEMOTED FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT

 

Women officers have fewer use of force incidents, but only 9% of ECPD officers are women. Could more females on the force have prevented death of Alfred Olango?

By Miriam Raftery

September 29,2016 (El Cajon)—Mayor Bill Wells has confirmed that the officer who fired the fatal shots in Tuesday’s controversial shooting of Alfred Olango was  Richard Gonsalves—the same officer embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal last year. 

Could a culture that encouraged women officers to join the force have perhaps prevented Tuesday’s tragedy, before Olango pulled out a vaping device mistaken for a gun?

Multiple studies over 40 years have shown  that women police officers  are better at defusing tense situations and have significantly lower use-of-force rates than male officers,  the Washington Post recently reported.

For example, A 2002 study by the National Center for Women & Policing of excessive force incidents in seven major city police departments found that “the average male officer is over eight and a half times more likely than his female counterpart to have an allegation of excessive force sustained against him … [and] two to three times more likely than the average female officer to have a citizen name him in a complaint of excessive force.”

But the El Cajon Police Department has long drawn criticism for tolerating sexual harassment  and other sexual misconduct by male officers toward women on the force--hardly a history conducive to attracting women seeking careers in law enforcement.

UNREST GROWS IN EL CAJON: MAN KILLED POINTED VAPING DEVICE AT OFFICERS,HAD CRIMINAL RECORD

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, by Rebecca Williamson, during vigil at shooting sight this evening

September 28,2016 (El Cajon) –Amid mounting tensions and protests this evening,  El Cajon Police released updates in yesterday’s fatal shooting of Alfred Okwera Olango.  

The updated information reveals the Olango, an El Cajon resident, drew a vape smoking device from his pocket and pointed it at officers. The release also indicates a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team was unavailable due to being dispatched to another call.

A 10 News investigation found  Olango had a criminal record including  a 2005 arrest in Colorado as a felon in possession of a firearm—a semi-automatic pistol in the vehicle he was driving. He also pled guilty to receiving stolen property and driving under the influence in 1999, as well as selling cocain in 2001.

In this confrontation, however, Olango was unarmed.  The Ugandan refugee who came to America  after death threats to his famliy was shot and killed after his sister called officers for help due to her brother's erratic actions.

Tonight, crowds clashed with police.  While organizers of a march and vigil sought to keep the peace, some protesters reportedly threw bottles at police and chased a counter-protester wearing a Trump hat after he shouted racial slurs.

PARKWAY PLAZA EVACUATED, CAR SHOW SHUTDOWN AMID UNREST AFTER POLICE SHOOTING

 

 

By Rebecca Williamson and Miriam Raftery

Photo, left,by Rebecca Williamson: Marchers at Mollison near Broadway

September 28,2016 (El Cajon) – Parkway Plaza regional shopping center is shut down for tonight after protests spilled into the mall over yesterday’s fatal police shooting of Alfred  Olango, 38, an unarmed African-American man with mental health issues.  Marketing director Ken Gray told  ECM the mall shut down for the night on advice of police.

“ Where I work, a lot of people were crying and screaming,” Gage Miller told  East County Magazine shortly after police evacuated the Walmart store where he works and escorted everyone outside. He said around 3 p.m., “lots of people were marching in the mall and going into the movie theatre…Walmart had to put its gates down. Protesters were spraying water from water bottles all around.”

PROTESTS ERUPT IN EL CAJON; BLACK MAN SHOT BY POLICE DIES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: El Cajon Police

Photos (rest) by Robert Gehr (c)

September 28, 2016 (El Cajon)—A shooting of a mentally ill African-American man by El Cajon Police yesterday  has sparked anger among some community members, though police have released a photo suggesting the man assumed a “shooter’s stance” before he was shot and killed.

Following a press conference this morning by police, civil rights leaders spoke at a press conference calling for a federal investigation.  Marches were held downtown and a candlelight vigil is planned tonight at 6 p.m. the El Cajon Police Station forAlfred Olango, 38.

HAVE YOU SEEN OUR NEWSLETTER?

 

September 2, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- Our latest newsletter just came out --with all the hottest news and events impacting you in East County all in one single-page newsletter.  You can view the latest edition here.   

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FROM POT SHOPS TO SCHOOL BONDS TO A BUILDER’S BONANZA: INITIATIVES ON EAST COUNTY BALLOTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 1,2016  (San Diego’s East County) – Beyond the blizzard of ballot measures statewide and candidates on your November ballot, East County voters will be asked to weigh in on a variety of local initiatives with big impacts.

Those include countywide measures:  one a tax to fund transportation, the other  a measure that would set a precedent for developers to  evade environmental reviews by taking projects directly to voters.   There are also medical marijuana dispensary measures on the ballots in Lemon Grove and La Mesa, a redistricting proposal in El Cajon, and school bond measures in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College, Grossmont Union High School, and Cajon Valley  Union school districts.  Here are details:

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

 

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.

FILING DEADLINE EXTENDED TO WEDNESDAY IN THESE RACES WHERE INCUMBENTS ARE NOT SEEKING REELECTION

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 16,2016  (San Diego’s East County)—The deadline for candidates to file, submit signatures and run for local offices has been extended to 5 p.m. tomorrow in  races where incumbents  did not file ot seek reelection. This includes key city council and mayor races in East County, as well as many school boards and special districts such as fire and water boards,as well as community planning boards.

EL CAJON REJECTS FINDINGS OF GRAND JURY REPORTS ON HOMELESSNESS AND POLICE OVERSIGHT

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photos:  Councilman Tony Ambrose, left, leveled harsh words at Richard Graydon, right, a citizen seeking more help for homeless people.

August 11,2016 (El Cajon) – Tempers grew heated during Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council hearing, where  Council member Tony Ambrose scolded a citizen, Richard Graydon, who had criticized the City's approach to homelessness.  The agenda included the city’s responses to two critical Grand Jury reports, one on homeless issues and the other calling for formation of a citizens’ police oversight board. 

The City determined it already does enough to help homeless people--more than other East County cities-- and also concluded there is no need to allow citizens'oversight of any complaints against El Cajon Police.

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