Bill Wells

MAYOR WELLS LEADS EFFORT TO OPPOSE SANCTUARY STATE BILL, LAUNCH “SAFE CITIES” EFFORT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery and Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

March 31, 2017 (El Cajon )—El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells is leading efforts among local officials opposed to Senate Bill 54, which would declare California a sanctuary state.  Officials from several local cities joined  Wells in a press conference March 29th at the El Cajon Police Department, where about 25 protesters who support the sanctuary measure also turned out.

Opponents of SB 54 claim it would make communities less safe and put federal funds at risk.  They have launched their own website, www.mayorsforsafecities.org

Critics disagree, and one local official contends that backers of the Safe Cities website have disseminated "alternative facts"  that mislead the public on SB 54.

KALASHO THREATENS LAWSUIT OVER EL CAJON’S PROPOSAL TO LIMIT NUMBER OF ITEMS A COUNCIL MEMBER CAN ADD TO AGENDA

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

View video:  This agenda item can be viewed from 1:06:16 through 1:57:45

March 17, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council spent a full hour Tuesday debating a proposal by Mayor Bill Wells that aims to save Council time and staff resources by limiting how many items a Council member could place on an agenda single-handedly to just one per quarter, a maximum of four a year.  To bring forth any additional item, a Council member would have to gain support of one additional member. 

But that raises potential Brown Act violations andconcerns over suppressing citizen’s representation, the American CIvil Liberties Union (ACLU) warns in a letter sent to the City's attorney, Mayor and  Council members..

Newly elected Councilman Ben Kalasho strenuously objected to the proposal, leading to a testy exchange in which he threatened to sue Wells and fellow Council members to protect what he views as his right to represent his constituents.  Several members of the public also spoke out,  all opposed to sttifling their representatives’ ability to put items of concern on the agenda.

KALASHO HOSTS SECOND TOWN HALL TONIGHT, ACCUSES MAYOR OF SEEKING TO MUZZLE HIS VOICE

 

 

 

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..

MAYOR WELLS STATE OF CITY ADDRESSS CITES ACCOMPLISHMENTS, CHALLENGES IN EL CAJON

 

By Janis Russell

December 12, 2015 (El Cajon)- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells delivered his State of the City address last Tuesday, listing El Cajon’s accomplishments and improvements, as well as the outlook for the city’s future.

Mayor Wells began by noting that El Cajon was a farming community a hundred years ago. “Now it’s the largest city in East County…There are over 100,000 residents,” he observed. “We also have new friends who have gathered thousands of miles away,” he added, referring to the city’s large immigrant and refugee population. “There’s a multitude of stories that bind El Cajon.”

EL CAJON MAYOR TO PRESENT “STATE OF THE CITY” ADDRESS DEC. 8

 

East County News Service

December 8, 2015 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Mayor bill Wells will present his State of the City address on Tuesday, December 8  at 2:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber. The Mayor will detail accomplishments of the City over the past year, as well as where the City is headed in the next year and beyond.

“SHOP EAST COUNTY” LAUNCHES TO BOOST LOCAL ECONOMY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 20, 2015 (El Cajon ) – Santa Claus joined with East County Chamber of Commerce leaders, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and Parkway Plaza officials at the mall for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch the “Shop East County” program.

“We’re excited today to celebrate the idea of Shop East County,” said Eric Lund, Chamber president.  The average person spends $805 each sopping season on gifts, decorations and food, according to the National Retail Association – money that when spent locally creates sales tax revenues that can be used to fund police, firefighting and other things that benefit the people of East County.

EL CAJON COUNCIL APPROVES SHIFT TO DISTRICT ELECTIONS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2015 (El Cajon) – El Cajon currently holds at-large elections where everyone in the city votes for all five Council races.  But on Tuesday, the City Council voted 5-0 to have staff move forward with implementing a shift to individual districts each electing its own representative.  The concept of districts aspires to provide greater representation for minorities to elect representatives reflective of their neighborhoods' concerns.

SMOKING HOT DEBATE: EL CAJON COUNCIL VOTES TO SUPPORT RAISING AGE FOR TOBACCO USE

 

"I will support this in honor of my sister, and my mother and my father-in-law," -- Councilman Bob McClellan (photo, left), who lost all three family members to smoking-related illnesess.

"The American Revolution was about individual liberty...doesn't freedom to make a decision include freedom to make a poor one?" --Eric Anderson (photo, right), Rock Church and Caucus Chair for the San Diego Republican Party Executive Committee

By Juwan Armstrong and Miriam Raftery

June 12, 2015 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council voted 3-1 on Wednesday to send a letter asking Assemblyman Brian Jones and Governor Jerry Brown to support Senate Bill 151, which would raise the minimum legal age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Jones has taken over $25,000 in campaign contributions from the tobacco industry.  East County’s State Senator, Joel Anderson, took nearly $40,000 and voted against the bill when it passed the Senate.

EL CAJON COUNCIL TO CONSIDER BALLOT MEASURE FOR STRICTER ALCOHOL CONTROLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 10, 2015 (El Cajon )—At Tuesday's El Cajon City Council meeting, the City Council will discuss a proposal for a ballot initiative to crack down on alcohol sales to minors and chronic drunks, as well as potentially ban sales of powdered alcohol.

“My goal is to make this the strongest law in the United States to stop sales of alcohol to children and serial inebriates,” Vice Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kendrick told East County Magazine.

MAYOR WELLS, COUNCILMAN KENDRICK SCORE STRONG WINS IN EL CAJON

 

 

Photo: Mayor Bill Wells celebrates victory with suporters; photo by Randy Jordan, R. Jordan Photgraphy

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Russell

November 5, 2014 (El Cajon) -- Mayor Bill Wells thumped two opponents to win 81.6% of the vote, winning reelection handily over Allen Theweny and Jonathan Wright.  Councilman Gary Kendrick took over two-thirds of the vote (64.14%) over his opponent, Elwood Alexander.

The incumbents had the benefit of an improving economy and new policies such as the city's outreach to car dealers to bring more revenues to El Cajon, a city with the county's highest poverty rate.  El Cajon's leaders have also had success in healing relations with the city's large Iraqi Chaldean population, with Mayor Wells speaking out publicly in support of bringing persecuted Christian Chaldean refugees to El Cajon.

READER'S EDITORIAL: WHY TAXPAYERS COULD LOSE IF EL CAJON LEASES ECPAC TO ROCK CHURCH

 

Update Nov. 8, 2014 -- Prior to publishing this editorial we contacted Mayor Wells for comment. He did not respond at the time but today contacted us to state that he did not estimate the renovations at $5.5 million.  He clarified,  "The renovations will actually be closer to $2.5 Million. If we are to lease space to the Rock their costs would only be what is above and beyond what we would normally do for the renovations. The costs associated with running the theater have roughly been $600,000/year. The expected negotiation with the Rock could bring in approximately $250,000 per year."

 

By Robert Clark

October 27, 2014 (El Cajon) --   The October 7 interview with Bill Wells, Mayor of El Cajon, contained a real bombshell. He said that renovations to re-open the East County Performing Arts Center would cost $5.5 million, with the Rock Church paying "much" of the cost.

EL CAJON CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE JONATHAN WRIGHT HOPES TO ALLEVIATE POVERTY

 

 

By Janis Russell

October 24, 2014 (El Cajon)- Jonathan Wright is running against incumbent Mayor Bill Wells and challenger Allen Theweny  for Mayor of El Cajon.

Wright participated in an exclusive interview with East County Magazine. Wright discusses his values, what his main priorities will be once elected, and his views about the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) among other topics.  He  has a background in business management, marketing and IT support. He decided to run for Mayor to serve the people and lead the city into the future, helping get the people and the city back on track to prosperity by working to alleviate poverty for the elderly and to get people off the streets.

MAYOR WELLS SHARES VIEWS FOR FUTURE IN EXCLUSIVE ECM INTERVIEW

 

Update October 27: Jonathan Wright has now participated in an interview with ECM, which you can read here.

By Janis Russell

October 7, 2014 (El Cajon)- Mayor Bill Wells is up for re-election this November against challengers Allen Theweny and Jonathan Wright. Wells participated in an exclusive interview with East County Magazine below.  We invited all three candidates to be interviewed, but only Wells responded by deadline. In the interview, he discusses the city's achievements during his tenure on Council and as Mayor, the issues facing El Cajon, and his goals for the future.

RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL LEADERS OFFER HOPE AMID DESPAIR TO PERSECUTED IRAQI CHRISTIANS AT PRAYER VIGIL IN EL CAJON: HEAR AUDIO

 

By Miriam Raftery

Hear our audio highlights from the vigil, as reported on KNSJ 89.1.  Listen now:  http://kiwi6.com/file/31hofx5nbg

July 26, 2014 (El Cajon)--Local political and religious leaders offered messages of hope for Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution and genocide in Iraq, many of them seeking to find refuge in America.   They offered a safe haven here in East County, as well as political actions now underway in Washington D.C. and Sacramento to aid Christians in their homeland.

“When they come here, I want you to tell them they will be safe here,” Mayor Bill Wells told the crowd during a prayer vigil in El Cajon’s Centennial Plaza last night  that was attended by an estimated 2,000 people.

The Mayor denounced the “unconscionable” slaughter of Iraqi Christians by ISIS terrorists who have declared a caliphate, or Muslim state, in the Mosul area, where churches dating back to Biblical times are being destroyed and Christians ordered to convert to Islam or die by the sword.

SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT: EL CAJON COUNCIL VOTES TO FUND SAN DIEGO YOUTH CHOIR

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 24, 2014 (El Cajon) – By a unanimous vote, El Cajon’s City Council on Tuesday voted to grant $10,000 to fund the San Diego Youth Choir, a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural community youth choir based in El Cajon. The group’s mission statement is to empower young leaders through musical excellence.  It’s mantra is “Empowering San Diego County youth, one note at a time.”

“What it really is, is an investment in children’s future,” Councilman Gary Kendrick told East County Magazine. “$10,000 today could save us $100,000 tomorrow in police costs and property crimes.”  He added that performing together also builds self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment, as well as forging bonds that can last a lifetime.  “My son still has close friendships in Hollywood that started when he was in Christian Youth Theater in San Diego,” Kendrick recalled.

 The San Diego Youth Choir (www.youthchoirsd.org) aims to be housed in a central location in El Cajon with state of the art rehearsal space, practice rooms, dance rooms, and a recording studio.

CANDIDATES FOR EL CAJON COUNCIL REFLECT DIVERSE POPULATIONS AND VIEWS

Photo:  Ben Kalasho, Instar Bales, Humbert Cabrera, and Vickie Butcher are among 27 candidates vying for appointment to the El Cajon City Council.

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2013 (El Cajon) – Twenty-seven El Cajon residents have applied to fill an open seat on the El Cajon City Council.  This past Tuesday night, Council members interviewed half of the applicants during the Council meeting.  The rest will be interviewed next Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The candidates came from all walks of life – reflecting diverse races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, political parties and economic status.

WELLS APPOINTED MAYOR IN EL CAJON, OPENING COUNCIL VACANCY

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2013 (El Cajon )--El Cajon’s City Council voted unanimously yesetrday to appoint Councilman Bill Wells to fill the vacancy left by Mayor Mark Lewis’s resignation.  Council also voted to have an application and list of qualifications drawn up within a week for residents interested in seeking appointment to fill the vacancy on the City Council  left by Wells’ ascension to mayor.

A crowd filled the Council Chambers, with many community members came to voice their views on how the city should fill its leadership positions.

EL CAJON'S MAYOR LEWIS RESIGNS

 

October 25, 2013 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis has resigned, effective immediately.  In his resignation letter, the Mayor  cited health reasons, including cancer, a dislocated shoulder and a minor stroke in 2010. “Unfortunately at times, this has caused me some difficulties in clearly communication my thoughts, including during the recent interviews  that have caused understandable concern,” he wrote, adding that he is stepping down to avoid further concerns by citizens and to “allow our City Council and community o move forward in their work to make this City the finest place it can be.”

He added, “I deeply love our town and have given a major portion of my adult life to its wellbeing and, so, this is a bittersweet moment for me."

QUIETER STREETS? IT'S ALL PART OF NEW PAVING IN EL CAJON

By Janis Mork

April 28, 2013 (El Cajon)- This past Tuesday, Michael Griffiths from the El Cajon Public Works Department gave a PowerPoint presentation to El Cajon City Council about the pavement maintenance program underway since 2006 and set for completion in 2014. City Manager Doug Williford stated that this program affects businesses and residents.

Before Griffiths began, he acknowledged junior engineer Katie Odiorne, who put the PowerPoint slides together. First, he presented a scale of old to new street pavings from 1-100.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL PASSES UNANIMOUS RESOLUTION TO CONDEMN CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF HANSON-COX

By Janis Mork

January 8, 2013 (El Cajon)--By a unanimous vote, El Cajon’s City Council voted to condemn former Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox’s embezzlement of funds from her former employer, Century Design. Council also added language to strip Hanson-Cox of any recognitions received from the City.

“Stealing is wrong, no matter what,” said Councilman Gary Kendrick, introducing the resolution. “I want to give an opportunity for the council to collectively and individually condemn her actions…I want to personally say I’m sorry to the Basso family and to what’s happened to them.”

TWO INCUMBENTS WIN HANDILY IN EL CAJON; THIRD SEAT STILL IN CONTENTION AS REGISTRAR COUNTS REMAINING ABSENTEE AND PROVISIONAL BALLOTS

Update November 8, 2012,  5 p.m.:  McClellan's lead has grown to over 600 votes, making it appear likely that he has secured reelection.

November 8, 2012 (El Cajon) – Councilmen Tony Ambrose and Bill Wells  appear to have won reelection to the El Cajon City Council, while Councilman Bob McClellan retains a slim 114-vote lead over challenger Ben Kalasho. The Registrar of Voters still has 475,000 absentee and provisional ballots left countywide to count.  Asked how many are in El Cajon, the Registrar’s office declined to provide that information but said updates will be posted daily at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/voters/results/election.xml. The election must be certified by December 4, meaning close races could take weeks before a final outcome will be know.

WELLS, AMBROSE WIN REELECTION IN EL CAJON; MCCLELLAN LEADS KALASHO BY SLIM MARGIN

November 7, 2012 (El Cajon )—In one of the few victories for local conservatives thus far in the November 2012 elecitons, Councilmembers Tony Ambrose and Bill Wells have won reelection to the El Cajon City Council with 18.25% and 16.26% of the vote in the 8-person field. Councilman Bob McClellan is the likely victor in the third seat, with a narrow edge over challenger Ben Kalasho, 14.95% to 13.95%.

COULD GRAND JURY PROBE INTO GUHSD BOND MONIES EXTEND TO COUNCILMAN BILL WELLS?

Update: February 13, 2013:  Councilman Wells indicates that three months after this story ran, he has not been contacted by a Grand Jury and believes that he is not a target of the investigation. 

By Miriam Raftery

November 5, 2012 (El Cajon ) – Updated November 6, 2012 -- Three people, including two members of the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) board, have confirmed that a Grand Jury is investigating why money from Prop H and Prop U was not used to fund a new high school in Alpine as mandated by the bond language.  

El Cajon Councilman Bill Wells chaired the Prop H Citizens Bond Oversight Committee  (CBOC) and according to multiple witnesses, played a lead role in killing plans to build the district’s 12th high school in Alpine.

ONE STOP SHOP FOR EL CAJON VOTERS: FULL COVERAGE OF COUNCIL CANDIDATES

October 10, 2012 (El Cajon)--Eight candidates are vying for three seats on the El Cajon City Council in a hotly contested race: incumbents Tony Ambrose, Bob McClellan and Bill Wells and challengers Ben Kalasho, Lily Schworm, Kathy Spacone, Chris Shamoon and Duane Swainston.

ECM invited all candidates to be interviewed; six responded.  Below are our in-depth interviews with candidates, listed in alphabetical order. In addition, here are links to coverage of a candidate forum, as well as candidates’ websites and Smart Voter pages from the League of Women Voters, prior stories on candidates who ran before, and additional news stories.

COUNCILMAN WELLS MAKES HIS CASE FOR RE-ELECTION

By Miriam Raftery

October 9, 2012 (El Cajon)—Councilman Bill Wells, a conservative who staunchly opposes new taxes and led efforts for El Cajon to become a charter city, seeks reelection to the El Cajon Council.  He is one of seven candidates in the hotly contested race. 

In an exclusive interview with East County Magazine, Councilman Wells discusses his accomplishments and plans for the future.

RACISM AND DIRTY POLITICS IN EL CAJON COUNCIL RACE

By Miriam Raftery

October 4, 2012 (El Cajon)—Three challengers running for office in the El Cajon Council race have made allegations including sign-stealing, racism and pressure on local merchants to back incumbents and suppress messages from other candidates.

On September 25, John Gibson with the Hamann Companies, a backer of  incumbents Bill Wells and Tony Ambrose,  made racially-charged remarks  about Iraqi Chaldean candidate Ben Kalasho in a City Council meeting.  The comments came after the Kalasho campaign accused Gibson, along with an incumbent Councilman, of involvement in removing and defacing Kalasho campaign signs.

ECPAC SAVED! EL CAJON COUNCIL REJECTS PLAN TO TEAR DOWN THEATER AND BUILD HOTEL ON SITE

Update May 28, 2012 with a video news report by Paul Kruz, exclusive to East County Magazine, including interviews with the developer and Councilman Wells:

 

By Janis Mork and Miriam Raftery

May 23, 2012 (El Cajon)--El Cajon Council drew applause yesterday when by a unanimous decision, Council members rejected a proposal to tear down the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) and build a hotel on the site.

Instead, Council agreed to work with community members and a newly formed ECPAC Foundation to reopen the theater long heralded as a centerpiece of El Cajon's downtown revitalization. 

 

EL CAJON TO ASK VOTERS FOR CHARTER CITY STATUS; COUNCIL SEEKS TO “FAST-TRACK” APPROVAL


By Jonathan Goetz

 

October 27, 2011 (El Cajon)--The City of El Cajon may become another in a string of cities to remove itself from the safeguards of state law and give “supreme authority” in municipal affairs to the city council. The measure is touted as a cost-savings step. But in some areas, charter city status has led to abuse and even fleecing of taxpayers—notably in Bell, California.

CANDIDATES SOUND OFF AT POLITICS IN PARADISE FORUM

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 22, 2010 (El Cajon ) – Two Congressmen and four local lawmakers fielded questions from the audience Friday night, trading quips and barbs on topics ranging from healthcare to gay marriage. The occasion was the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Politics in Paradise” event in the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, where the weather was sultry and the politics even hotter.

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