Hesperia councilman apologizes for off-color remark; city removes video segment from website
March 18, 2011 5:09 PM
From Staff Reports
HESPERIA • City Councilman Russ Blewett apologized Friday for making an obscene remark following a heated discussion on a service animal ordinance during a break in Tuesday’s council meeting.
“I regret that I became caught up in this emotional issue and responded in an intemperate manner, and I apologize to my constituents,” Blewett said in a prepared statement.
Blewett reportedly said, “Eat s— and die, lady,” according to knowledgeable witnesses.
The remark came after the council voted on an ordinance that allows rats and other animals to be deemed service animals therefore are allowed in restaurants, grocery stores and other public places.
The council voted 4-1 in support of the broader definition of service animals. 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, the city said in press release.
During the break, a woman approached the dais and announced that she was going to “get” the city council members who had voted in favor of the service animal ordinance.
“Mayor Pro Tem Russ Blewett regrettably was caught up in the emotion of the moment and responded inappropriately,” the city press release continues.
All Hesperia City Council meetings are recorded and are available on the city’s website. Video of the earthy remark was initially posted on the city website. But Blewett’s comment, which was made during the five-minute recess, was later edited out.
“Anything that takes place during city business has to remain,” city spokeswoman Kelly Malloy said on Friday. “Since the action had already happened and we called for recess … it’s cut at the break.”
“We routinely have high school students and service groups view our meetings as part of their school assignments and service projects,” City Manager Mike Podegracz is quoted as saying in the press release. “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.”
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