Divergent takes on El Cajon

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Natives of El Cajon tell me downtown Main Street was entirely “trashy” before Chaldeans and other immigrants started opening up businesses.
Image by Evgeny Yorobe
El Cajon, ad nauseam

Wow at first I was excited to pick up this week’s Reader (El Cajon is my city, Cover Story, June 13) and was looking forward to read an updated and fair overview of a city , I’ve grown up in, critiqued, often complained about but at the end of the day, see it changing and is not unlike many other growing communities in San Diego county. Instead, we got a lazy, amateur overview of all the stereotypical aspects of El Cajon. Wait what – there’s homeless here? Racist comments in the middle of the day dive bar? Who knew? Race car track references that closed over 20 years ago? I’m surprised Eric didn’t walk around Parkway mall and refer it as a cultural high mark of east county. El Cajon like all communities is what you want to make it to be.

I hope Eric doesn’t consider himself a real journalist who has decided to just scratch the surface of a community and highlight all the negative stereotypes. How long did you spend time in El Cajon? Did you talk to anyone other than homeless, racist bar patrons and disgruntled Chaldean business owners? Without going into a longer discussion of what El Cajon has to offer, perhaps the most compelling is the larger number of everyday hard working middle class and lower class people who call El Cajon home. Decent hard working people, with a variety of backgrounds, who own older homes, are struggling and succeeding in keeping the American dream alive. I envision a renaissance in this area due to the simple fact that housing prices are going to push people out “east” (a whole whopping 15 miles from the ocean) and that there really nice large pockets of houses with relatively large plots of land not found anywhere else without the exorbitant prices.

Downtown El Cajon has been revamped and is unlike other small urban city “village” centers throughout San Diego albeit it could use more investments especially on the western end as you exit into El Cajon. But instead on focusing on those topics you decide it would be easier to focus on the topics that have already been covered ad nauseam about El Cajon. So let’s review, there’s bikers, Chaldeans and homeless in El Cajon- got it. What next, an article on La Jolla and how it’s pretty and how there’s a lot of wealthy people and seals are making a mess? Save us the high school journalism piece.

Nelson Cortes
El Cajon

Grateful for the truth

Thank you for your honest portrayal of El Cajon. I moved to El Cajon in 1958 during my first grade year and everything people say in the story is true. I thought maybe it would be a feel good piece when I opened your paper, but you did a good job. Thanks again.

Sam King
El Cajon

Race box town

Please let Eric Bartl know that Jimmy Johnson never raced @ Cajon Speedway. Great article, though!!!