The public meeting of Tuesday’s was cancelled within minutes
The mayor of Lemon Grove tried unsuccessfully to evict a coworker of a meeting for the public on Tuesday, sparking a lengthy dispute that has frequently stalled city debates.
Racquel Vasquez quit after Liana LeBaron who is the council’s new member, refused the council’s demands to relocate. LeBaron was heard speaking off-topic for at most four occasions in the first two twohours even though the mayor was in agreement with the legitimacy of a few of the requests that were thrown out.
“We are not trying to silence anyone,” the mayor stated her voice breaking occasionally. It was hard to accomplish anything in a world where people could talk at any time they wanted, she added. “We’ve had enough.”
LeBaron often disrupts council meeting as well as being accused of intimidating city employees and using a racial slur to insult the mayor which is Black. The council was close to passing the formal censure that would have rebuked LeBaron’s actions in March.
Council member LeBaron was taken into custody in April after her husband had accused her of punching and biting him. A judge dismissed the restraining order against her two months after.
LeBaron has admitted using the use of profane language, such as calling coworkers “f—ing buffoons,” but she has denied racism, harassment or violent acts and has said she’s the true bully.
“You’re speaking down to me and everybody here can see that,” LeBaron said to the mayor Tuesday.
In a recent meeting, LeBaron argued against the vote on a spending plan she claimed was missing crucial details. Her colleagues ruled against herbut then reversed their decision when they realized they was correct.
The city has begun an investigation into the LeBaron and Vasquez’s actions, however, officials haven’t announced the results.
Since the censure debate during March, the meetings had often been violent, but have been able to avoid more confrontation.
Tuesday’s computer failed within minutes.
Just after a few minutes afterthe meeting started around 6 p.m. The mayor inquired whether any council members would like to alter the agenda.
Vasquez was waiting for three seconds before continuing. A few seconds later LeBaron turned his back to the microphone, and was asked to change the subject.
The mayor refused to acknowledge LeBaron and lashed out at her for not having spoken earlier.
Similar incidents occurred at least three times, and LeBaron made remarks or asking questions, even though she was not legally allowed to and causing the mayor to engage in the rebuke of her colleague.
The result was that a portion of the people who were in the crowd became angry on behalf of LeBaron.
Council members from various East County cities frequently break Robert’s Rules of Order, which regulate the conduct of public meetings in various ways.
Lemon Grove has been more rigid, particularly after an especially disastrous gathering in February which turned into shouting.
At seven-and-a-half p.m. Tuesday night, following 2 “final” warnings, the mayor ordered LeBaron out.
“I will take a break, a five-minute break, so that you can gather your things and leave,” the mayor announced. “If you do not leave, then you will be escorted out.”
LeBaron has defended her actions and claimed she was making legitimate requests to residents.
“The public is not going to allow you to kick me out of this meeting,” she declared.
The crowd gathered at the community centre throughout the lunch break LeBaron didn’t move off the stage.
Lieutenant. Pat McEvoy, leader of the local sheriff’s office and the head of security during council meetings, didn’t make any move to kick her out. (The city’s mayor called him previously when the crowd would not stop screaming.)
After the meeting resumed just a few minutes later the mayor was hesitant and said that LeBaron was still on her final warning.
LeBaron did not have any interruptions over the next two and-a-half hours.
The mayor didn’t immediately respond to a query asked late on Tuesday as to why she had changed her decision.