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El Cajon mayor says state laws are to blame for problems with independent living facilities

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Posted at 5:21 PM, Feb 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 21:03:28-05

EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) -- More than a month after police said a man was beaten and killed with a frying pan at an independent living facility in El Cajon, the city’s mayor says he still doesn’t have much power to regulate such facilities.

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells spoke to 10News about why the city can’t do much when it comes to regulating independent living facilities, or ILFs.

“It’s the state of California and that’s how they want to do this. They’ve been really specific in their legislation that we are not allowed to get involved,” Wells said.

Records show that police were called to the home 78 times in 2018. Even with the dozens of calls to police reporting various types of emergencies from threats to dangerous living conditions, Wells says his hands are tied.

RELATED: 911 calls detail life at home where man was attacked

In December, a 39-year-old man named Matthew was beaten and killed with the pan at the house on Naranca Avenue, according to police.

“Anything we would like to do to try to regulate that and stop that from happening, the State of California has made sure we can’t do that,” Wells added.

On top of not being able to regulate, Wells says staff at the facilities aren’t required to have any sort of experience.

“There’s no regulation that says the staff (at the home) has to have any kind of license or any kind of experience in mental health,” he says.

Despite the road blocks, Wells says he’s doing all he can. “We do take this pretty seriously and we identify places that are problems. We have police out there patrolling and trying to be involved as much as they can.”

“I think eventually California may come to its senses on some of these things. I think giving more local control of these things will make the situation better."