(Hesperia) – On March 15, 2011, the Hesperia City Council considered the concerns of citizens who attended the City Council meeting regarding the second reading of a new City ordinance. The ordinance allows disabled citizens to continue using service animals other then dogs and miniature horses after the March 14, 2011 deadline imposed by the federal government to narrow the types of animals available for use. During the meeting approximately 20 people spoke both for, and against, the ordinance which was approved at the March 1, 2011 on a 4-1 vote of the City Council. After closing public comment on this item a second reading vote was taken and the Council again approved the item 4-1. At the end of the vote, some audience members became very upset, yelling comments at the City Council at which time a recess was called as the audience left the Chambers.
One audience member approached the dais with angry comments and threats toward the Council. Mayor Pro Tem Russ Blewett regrettably was caught up in the emotion of the moment and responded inappropriately.
“I regret that I became caught up in this emotional issue and responded in an intemperate manner, and I apologize to my constituents,” said Blewett.
The video of the meeting had been edited to remove the five minute break and the variety of inappropriate comments, for future viewers of the meeting.
“We routinely have high school students and service groups view our meetings as part of their school assignments and service projects,” said City Manager Mike Podegracz. “The portion removed was not in any way related to the business at hand and was done to protect the audience members who were visible on camera.”