El Cajon mayor threatens to censure councilman over smartphone use on dais

El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho clashed with Mayor Bill Wells on Tuesday over the use of his smartphone on the dais, and now the council is moving toward censuring Kalasho.

Council policy forbids using personal cellphones and tablets during public meetings unless in an emergency.

When the council reconvened after a closed session on Tuesday, Wells twice asked Kalasho to put his phone away and added, “We’re not doing this to hurt you.”

Kalasho interrupted Wells and said, “You absolutely are doing it to hurt me.”

When asked if there was an urgent need for him to be on his phone, Kalasho told Wells it was because of an emergency.

“You have no right to tell me if I’m having an emergency on my phone,” Kalasho said. “And so if I’m having an emergency on my phone, not you or anybody else in this room could tell me to put my phone down. Do you understand?”

Wells told The San Diego Union-Tribune on Wednesday that there are other troubling matters with Kalasho that affect the City Council, including a fraud lawsuit against his business. Among other allegations in the lawsuit, contestants in a beauty pageant run by Kalasho have accused him of sexual harassment. Kalasho denied the allegations in a counter-suit.

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