EL CAJON, Calif — The California Attorney General is demanding the City of El Cajon rescind warning notices sent to local hotels participating in San Diego County’s Bridge Housing Voucher Program.

This follows a growing dispute between El Cajon and San Diego County.  

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells is set to address the notice sent from Attorney General Rob Bonta in a city council meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.

“Our problem is not with the fact that there was a homeless voucher program. We understand that. What surprised us was that 45% of the program was in our city,” said Mayor Wells. 

Tuesday’s key topic of discussion centers around the cease-and-desist notice from Attorney General Rob Bonta, who claims the city is violating California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

He alleges the city has ordered hotels to cut back capacity on guests in the program and in some cases has banned hotels from accepting vouchers altogether.

“Let me be clear: Housing discrimination in any form will not be tolerated. The city of El Cajon’s threats to local hotels are a clear violation of the law, and the city must immediately reverse course or face legal consequences,” Bonta said in a statement.

The El Cajon mayor did not agree with Bonta’s claims. “We’re not pushing anybody onto the streets. We’ve told the hotels that yes they have to comply but we’ll give them time to comply because we don’t want to be forced out onto the streets and it’s really up to the county to find everyone a place,” Wells said.

He also referenced 20 voucher participant arrests over the past few days. Mayor Wells says the county has failed to properly screen participants in the voucher program, alleging a spike in crime, recent calls for police presence and increased drug usage and sales.

“One of them was harboring a fugitive in their hotel rooms. Many of them have scales and other drug paraphernalia from selling drugs in their hotel rooms,” Wells said.

Tuesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is also meeting to discuss whether or not homelessness should be a public health crisis.

“Access to housing is a healthcare issue. If you don’t have a home, you’re going to end up in a really bad situation. We know that the reasons why people end up unsheltered are because there is no affordable housing, because of lack of access to healthcare and jobs that don’t pay well,” said Vice Chair, Nora Vargas.