Ben Kalasho

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 SAYS EL CAJON MAYOR’S PROPOSAL TO BAN COUNCIL MEMBERS' USE OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES IS ILLEGAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 17, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells has proposed banning City Council members from using iPads, cell phones or other electronic devices during Council hearings.

They Mayor says his goal in introducing item 6.3 on the agenda during the March 14th public hearing was to assure that members are giving public hearings their full attention and not engaging in outside communications, assuring transparency.  But Councilman Kalasho claims the move is unconstitutional and targets him.  Members of the public who spoke sided with Kalasho in a testy exchange that can be viewed on video (starting at approximately 52 minutes, 44 seconds):  https://elcajonca.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1049&Format=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..

EL CAJON RESIDENTS SOUND OFF TO KALASHO: BIGGEST ISSUES ARE HOMELESSNESS AND GILLESPIE FIELD

 

By Mike Allen

February 10, 2017 (El Cajon) -- The homeless issue in El Cajon is apparently reaching the boiling point, judging from a Feb. 9 town hall meeting hosted by newly-elected City Councilman Ben Kalasho.

TOWN HALL MEETING WITH EL CAJON’S NEW COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO FEB. 9

 

East County News Service

January 31, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Ben Kalasho is the newest elected Councilman representing El Cajon residents. He will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, February 9 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. to hear the concerns and questions from his community & neighbors.   The meeting will be held at the El Cajon Police Station community room, 100 Civic Way in El Cajon.

EL CAJON VETERANS COMMISSIONER SAYS IRAQI COUNCILMAN SHOULD “GO BACK HOME”

 

Glover insists comment not meant as racist

By Jonathan Goetz

January 26, 2017 (El Cajon) – In the same week that President Donald Trump announced an executive order to block new immigrants from Iraq, El Cajon Veterans Commissioner George Glover stated, “Why doesn’t Ben Kalasho go back home to where he came from?”

STEVE GOBLE AND BEN KALASHO TO JOIN EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL DEC. 13

 

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photos:  Ben Kalasho,  Steve Goble and Bob McClellan

December 6, 2016 (El Cajon) -- Challengers Steve Goble and Ben Kalasho have won seats on the El Cajon City Council, and will be joining Bob McClellan, who won reelection. The swearing-in ceremony will be held on December 13th at Council Chambers.

CLOSE COUNCIL RACE IN EL CAJON; VOTERS APPROVE REDISTRICTING

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 9, 2016  (El Cajon) – With 43.6% of precincts counted,  a 10-candidate race for El Cajon City Council is still too close to call. There are three seats up—and currently, two challengers have edged ahead of incumbent Star Bales.

However voters handily approved Measure S, the redistricting proposal to establish district elections.  Measure S  has nearly 69% of the vote with 43.6% of precincts counted.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: BEN KALASHO SPEAKS OUT ON CHALDEANS' CONCERNS IN THE ELECTION

 

 

March 16, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- Ben Kalasho, president of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, sat down with the East County Magazine Radio Show on KNSJ 89.1 FM to discuss concerns of the Chaldean community in the presidential primary election. In our interview, which originally aired on KNSJ last week, Kalasho speaks about the issues that matter most to the Iraqi Chaldean and Middle Eastern communities from an international and domestic standpoint.

He also discussed the new Mega TV news network that he helped launch, which debuted earlier this month. In addition, he shared his thoughts on the Grossmot Union High School District's redistricting proposal that divides the Chaldean voting block--and what steps he thinks should be done at the state level to assure fairness in elections for Chaldean Americans.

To hear our interview, click the link above.

Audio: 

HEAR OUR RADIO INTERVIEWS: OPPONENTS OF GUHSD REDISTRICTING PLANS SPEAK OUT

 

East County News Service

March 16, 2016 (San Diego's East County) --  The Grossmont Union High School District Board majority's proposed redistricting plan is among the most controversial actions taken by a board long mired in contention over a variety of issues -- many of which stand to be influenced by the outcome of redistricting.  East County Magazine's radio show on KNSJ sat down with several individuals who have voiced strong opposition to the plan approved by the board and now awaiting action by the County Department of Education's Committee on School District Organization.

Click the link above this story to listen online now to a podcast of  our interviews and comments from trustee Priscilla Schreiber, Diego Valley Charter Net principal Craig Beswick, former Citizens Bond Oversight Committee member Nick Marinovich, and Chaldean Chamber President Ben Kalasho on this important issue (originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio).

The County's committee plans five upcoming hearings to get public comment on the proposed redistricting plan, as well as the GUHSD's request to waive a public vote. The five hearings are set for March 17 in La Mesa, March 28 in El Cajon,  April 4 in Alpine,  April 5 in Jamul, and April 11 in Lakeside.  The public can testify at the meetings and also submit written comments up until April 7. 

Audio: 

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: GROSSMONT VOTES FOR TRUSTEE DISTRICTS, BYPASSING PUBLIC VOTE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Controversial plan outrages Alpine voters, Chaldeans and other district residents

Photo: Priscilla Schreiber will be forced off the board in November if the county approves the GUHSD's redistricting proposal.

February 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Grossmont Union High School District voted 4-1 to ditch district-wide elections and break up the district into five areas that will each elect its own trustee. (View map)  The board also voted to ask the San Diego County Committee on School Board Reorganization to waive a requirement that would ordinarily allow the public to vote on redistricting.

CHALDEAN CHAMBER PRESIDENT THREATENS LAWSUIT IF “GERRYMANDERING” SPLITS CHALDEAN VOTERS IN GUHSD

 

 

District board expected to vote on redistricting plan today at 4 p.m.

"...Our Chamber will not accept any gerrymandering or divisive planning for political purposes and would be readily committed to engage either legally or politically to ensure a fair and equitable approach for the betterment of our community.” -- Ben Kalasho, Chaldean American Chamber president

By Miriam Raftery

February 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Ben Kalasho, president of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce in East County, has issued a press release calling on the Grossmont Union-High School District board to be “transparent and pragmatic” in its decision on how to transition from at-large to district elections. A vote on which map to approve is expected at today’s GUHSD board meeting at 4 p.m. at the East County Regional Education Center, 924 East Main St. in El Cajon.

LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES BRIAN JONES AND RANDY VOEPEL SPEAK OUT AT 2ND CHALDEAN CHAMBER'S "MEET YOUR CANDIDATE" EVENT

 

By Janis Russell

August 17, 2015 (La Mesa)- The San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce hosted its second Meet Your Candidates event at Sammy’s Woodfire Pizza in La Mesa on August 5. The speakers were Assemblyman Brian Jones, who is running for Senator Joel Anderson’s seat, and 71st state Assembly district candidate Randy Voepel, who has been Mayor  and served on Santee’s city council since 2000. Voepel is running against Mike Harrison, who currently serves on Duncan D. Hunter, and Tony Teora, an engineer. (Harrison spoke at a prior Chamber event and Teora is invited for the future.)

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE WINS 3 AWARDS FROM SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS

 

 

East County News Service

July 31, 2015 (San Diego) – East County Magazine picked up three more awards from the Society for Professional Journalists San Diego pro chapter last night during the annual awards banquet at the Bali Hai restaurant.   Two of the awards honor coverage on our East County Magazine Show on KNSJ Radio while the third is for an investigative report at our online news site (www.EastCountyMagazine.org), bringing our total awards to 83 since our founding in 2008.

Last night’s honors, all second place awards presented to Miriam Raftery (photo, left), include our radio interview series with local Chaldeans’ efforts to halt genocide in Iraq, a radio interview with a Kurdish woman about her family’s ordeal fleeing ISIS, and an online investigative report on a San Diego company’s failure to disclose negative impacts of a proposed energy project.

You can read and hear our award-winning entries here:

SOCIALITES FASHION EVENT REVS UP CROWD AT NEW MERCEDES BENZ DEALER IN EL CAJON

 

East County News Service

March 3, 2015 (El Cajon) - Over 200 guests turned out for the first annual Socialites Fashion Event hosted in partnership with the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and  Mercedes Benz of El Cajon on February 27th.

ISIS SEIZES HUNDREDS OF CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA

 

Trials by ISIS underway as some captives reportedly freed; local Chaldean leaders speak out on crisis

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Open Doors

March 1,2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Fears mount for hundreds of Assyrian Christians taken captive by ISIS last week, amid reports that the self-proclaimed Islamic State militants are putting hostages on trial, though some reports indicate that a handful have been freed. 

The hostages include at least 262 men, women and children taken from villages in northeastern Syria, CNN reports.  Open Doors USA, an organization serving persecuted Christians worldwide, reports the captives include 72 families.

READER’S EDITORIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO CHALDEANS, ASSYRIANS AND SYRIACS WORLWIDE

 

By Ben Kalasho, Founder and President, San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce

March 1, 2015 (El Cajon)--When news broke six days ago of more than 200 Assyrians kidnapped by (Da’ash) ISIS, I was on a telephone conference with my high profile contacts on the ground in Kurdish Controlled Areas of Northern Iraq discussing the destruction of Iraqi antiquities dating from the 9th Century BC by ISIS thugs. The report came to me that over 200 Assyrians were kidnapped in the town of Tal Tamr in the Hasaka Province, and other villages in Syria including Tal Hurmoz, Tal Shamiram, Tal Rumman, Tal Nasra which are home to many Assyrians and Syriacs.

CHALDEAN CHAMBER MARKS ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Chamber President Ben Kalasho with Lemon Grove Councilwoman Racquel Vasquez

December 11, 2014 (San Diego) --The East County Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce celebrated its one-year anniversary in late November with a gala anniversary party at Barfly in La Jolla.

ISIS CAPTURES IRAQ'S LARGEST CHRISTIAN CITY: IRAQIS IN SAN DIEGO & MIDDLE EAST ISSUE WARNING FOR THE WORLD

 

"Your sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future…You are in danger." -- Exiled Iraqi Archbishop Amel Shimoun Nona

By Miriam Raftery

August 25, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Qaraqosh, the largest Christian city in Iraq (photo, left), has been overrun by Islamic State terrorists (formerly known as ISIS, the Islamic Sate of Iraq and Syria), CNN reports.

Sean Malone from Crisis Relief International (CRI) sent a heart-wrenching text message stating, “We lost the city of Queragosh (Qaraqosh). It fell to ISIS and they are beheading children systematically.”

KALASHO CALLS FOR NEW PROVINCE TO BE FORMED IN IRAQ AS SAFE HAVEN FOR PERSECUTED CHALDEANS AND OTHER MINORITIES

 

By Nadin Abbott, Reporting San Diego

Reporting San Diego sat down on August 22 in Santee with Ben Kalasho, a leader in the Chaldean community, to discuss genocide in Iraq. Excerpts below are reprinted with permission.

Aug. 24, 2014 (Santee)--“All those people who you see on the mountain side on Sinjar, sleeping on what seems to be the front of churches, those people were homeowners, they owned vehicles, they had jobs or owned businesses and are now homeless,” said Ben Kalasho, a leader in the Chaldean community and President of the East County Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce.

According to Kalasho,600,000 people are internally displaced in Iraq. This is an almost incomprehensible number, but we cannot turn away from it.

Our leaders, starting with the President, have mentioned the Yazidis, who are an ancient people that precede Islam and Christianity in Iraq. But the plight of other minorities, including Christian Chaldeans, Siriacs and others has not drawn the same level of national media attention.

LOCAL CHALDEANS FIGHT TO REMOVE ISIS RECRUITMENT SITES FOR TERRORISTS

 

Pins pop up to show solidarity with people displaced by ISIS

By Miriam Raftery

August 23, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – After finding that the Islamic extremist group ISIS had an Instagram page for recruiting potential terrorists and next finding an ISIS Facebook page boasting of atrocities, Ben Kalasho of El Cajon set out to shut down ISIS online.

WORLDWIDE PROTEST AUGUST 2 OVER VIOLENCE AGAINST CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ & SYRIA

 

August 1, 2014 (El Cajon) – Tomorrow, nearly 12,000 people worldwide will be staging protests over the violence against Christians in Iraq and Syria.   In San Diego's East County, Ben and Jessica Kalasho have organized a local protest at 6 p.m. in Prescott Promenade Park  on Main Street in downtown El Cajon.

ISIS terrorsts have sprayed the red letter for "Nazarene" shown at left on Christian homes, where residents face a choice of converting to Islam or death.  Many have fled, seeking safe refuge.

A Facebook page for the local event lists 156 participants so far.  “Join us to stand in solidarity with our Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac brothers and sisters around the world to protest the violence against the Christians in Iraq and Syria,” Kalasho writes.  Guests can RSVP at the Facebook page here locally:  https://www.facebook.com/events/813180182039823/permalink/815478478476660/

In other cities visit  https://www.facebook.com/events/653888978028664/ or scroll down for a list of events listed as of now:

RALLY TO SAVE IRAQI CHRISTIANS: FRIDAY, JULY 18

 

 

July 18, 2014 (El Cajon) – East County is home to an estimated 40,000 Iraqi Chaldean Christians as well as many Assyrians and Syriacs. 

Local Iraqis including the Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce, churches and other groups, ask the community to join them in a rally today, July 18 at El Cajon City Hall , 200 Civic Center Way, to urge protection and humanitarian help for those now fleeing Iraq, where a terrorist group has declared an Islamic caliph and is slaughtering Christians and other minorities.

A petition has also been launched calling on U.S. representatives to consider creating a safe haven for Assyrians and other minorities in the Nineveh Plains.

IRAQ VIDEO: BEFORE THE WAR

 

East County News Service

July 2, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- Ben Kalasho, president of the East County Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce, has posted a video on his Facebook page to show what Iraq was like before the war and the violence currently tearing the nation apart.  He writes,

"A lot of people always ask me what IRAQ was like before U.S. intervention. I always hear the same things; Was it all desert? Was it hard to live there? Was it safe? Was it clean? Sometimes I wondered if they thought we were nomads living in tents. Perhaps even huddled on a sidewalk somewhere begging for change.

I am glad to see this video being made. For those who have never been to IRAQ pre U.S. occupation, this should serve as a great visual tool." 

EAST COUNTY CHALDEAN CHAMBER ISSUES STATEMENT ON IRAQ: KALASHO CALLS FOR EQUAL TREATMENT OF MEN AND WOMEN IN MIDDLE EAST

 

June 25, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –The  San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce has issued a statement on the escalating violence in Iraq.

EAST COUNTY'S CHALDEAN CHAMBER AWARDED TRADEMARK AMID CONTINUING DISPUTE

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 7, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—The U.S. Patent and Trademark office has issued a trademark to the San Diego East County Chaldean Chamber of Commerce.

IRAQI ELECTIONS APRIL 30; LOCAL VOTING APRIL 27 & 28 IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 25, 2014 (El Cajon) – Iraq will hold elections for parliamentary offices including Prime Minister on April 30.  All Iraqi-born people living in the U.S. are eligible to vote, the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce announced today.  Locally, eligible voters can cast their ballots on April 27-28 at the Crystal Ballroom, 414 North Magnolia Avenue in El Cajon from 12-2 p.m.

“This is arguably the biggest election since the fall of Saddam Hussein due to the unique circumstance of post-troop withdraw and immense violence,” said Ben Kalasho, president of the Chamber.

CHRISTIAN VOTERS POLITICAL PAMPHLET SENT BY DEMOCRATIC BACKER IN EL CAJON VIOLATED CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW, FPPC ENFORCEMENT OFFICER ADVISES

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 23, 2014 (El Cajon)—The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is weighing a proposed stipulation order that if signed, would impose a $2,000 fine against Bonnie Burns Price for a mailer from “ Christian Voters for a More Transparent Government in East County."  Price is the former chair of the East County Democratic Club and a supporter of Ben Kalasho, a candidate who ran for El Cajon Council and lost by a narrow margin in 2012.

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