El Cajon appointment of new council member called a sham

EL CAJON, Calif. - Some residents of El Cajon feel they are being denied their right to elect their city leaders.

El Cajon has had its share of political scandals recently. Former Councilwoman Jillian Hansen Cox is in prison for embezzling millions from her employer. Mark Lewis was mayor for more than two decades until he resigned after making racist comments about Chaldeans.

In both cases, instead of having a special election for their replacements, members of El Cajon City Council appointed them. Now, they want to appoint another council member.

Mark Arabo lives in El Cajon and is president of the Neighborhood Market Association.

"They could have spent $50,000 to do an election. They said no," he said. "A week later, they choose to spend $68,000 to rebrand a website. Where are their priorities?"

Arabo has pleaded with the city to hold an election so the people can decide, but council created a four-page application.

Twenty-seven people are now in the running, but Arabo said the process is a sham and that the council has already narrowed the field down to three before even finishing all the interviews.

"They want to do politics as usual and backdoor deals and they want to pick their own person and it's not right," said Arabo.

10News reporter Itica Milanes asked Councilman Bob McClellan to name the most important thing he wanted in a council member.

"Someone who will speak well and handle themselves well in front of a microphone," he said.

McClellan said government experience is not necessary.

The council is expected to pick its new appointee Tuesday evening.

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