EL CAJON, Calif. — El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells is at odds with the County of San Diego when it comes to the homelessness crisis and is being vocal about it.
Wells held a news conference in front of the county administration building Tuesday morning prior to the county board of supervisors meeting. He told FOX 5 he doesn’t think the county needs to declare a state of emergency over the homeless crisis.
“Look, homelessness is a very serious problem, I don’t know that it constitutes a state of emergency,” Bills said. “When I think about a state of emergency, I think about a hurricane or an earthquake or something where people can’t get food or water. We can deal with this problem. The problem is we don’t have the political will to deal with this problem.”
Wells also said he will continue to fight against the county’s motel voucher program for the homeless.
“I really see this as a war on El Cajon and trying to make El Cajon into a homeless ghetto,” Wells said.
“When I heard that the county board of supervisors, led by Nathan Fletcher, is planning on making homelessness now a state of emergency — a public health crisis — it reminded me of what happened with COVID. I think it’s an end-around run to get more power to circumvent the rule of law, circumvent the normal ability for a city to defend itself through its codes and through its laws.”
Meanwhile, California’s attorney general has gotten involved in El Cajon‘s fight. Earlier this month, Wells notified some of his hotels that they were in violation of the city’s code because they were operating in an authorized shelter and then directed them to reduce their voucher occupancy. Attorney General Rob Bonta said what the mayor did was illegal and immediately ordered the city to reverse course or face legal consequences.
El Cajon City Council will meet at 3 p.m., when city leaders will discuss what to do about the state’s cease-and-desist order.