RACISM AND DIRTY POLITICS IN EL CAJON COUNCIL RACE
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.
Gibson (photo, right), in testimony to the council, said that “when Kalasho’s signs showed up…it raised some concerns that he can’t understand English.” He further claimed that some Kalasho supporters support abortion and that he did not want Kalasho signs on properties that he manages.
Kalasho testified in response, calling Gibson’s remarks “way out of line” as “racial profiling.” He added, “I take offense to this and think Chaldeans listening will take offense.” Kalasho, speaking in perfect English, also noted that he has not taken a position on abortion, which is not an issue that local council candidates must vote on.