The agenda item was requested by Councilwoman Martiza Hurtado, who brought up the subject during closing comments in the Dec. 20 meeting.
Speaking directly to Castro, Hurtado said, “There is an immense amount of important business to discuss here in these chambers and many more issues to vote upon. This has not been the professional atmosphere in which to achieve our goals. This problem continues to escalate, as you can see with the arrest of this individual today and as you have stated today, you cannot control this anymore.”
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Gonzalez, who is a staple at City Hall meetings, was arrested on a warrant for driving with a suspended license after allegedly disturbing the peace and threatening a public official at City Hall. A restraining order from the city of Calexico was served on Gonzalez while in jail.
“The citizens of Calexico deserve progress and nothing more, and although what I’m going to ask of this board is a very hard question, I also realize that we all deserve to work for the citizens of Calexico in a healthy and professional environment,” Hurtado said. “I believe the present situation will only become worse as days go by. I am very sorry to say that I believe there needs to be a change in our leadership and that we must regain order in this meeting room.”
The mayor’s position is not a directly elected position and is instead appointed by a majority vote by council along with the position of mayor pro tem.
Castro responded to Hurtado that he didn’t believe the council maintained control when he wasn’t present at the Nov. 15 meeting either.
Several council meetings this fall contained profane language, personal insults and speaking out of turn by some community members. On two occasions, council members threatened to have Gonzalez specifically removed from the chambers.
All of the council members, including the mayor, have agreed in the past that the meetings’ decorum needed to be addressed. Councilman Bill Hodge said in the Dec. 20 meeting that he felt it would be beneficial to have a workshop on the subject.
All regular meetings are recorded and available for viewing on Calexico’s Web site.
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org