San Diego Adopts New Rules to Curb Chaos at Board Meetings

Changes are coming to San Diego County Board of Supervisors meetings. In response to recent disruptions, including a racist tirade against Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, the Board has adopted a new set of policies on decorum. The vote was 3-1. Supervisor Joel Anderson voted no and Jim Desmond was absent.

The following is a list of changes attendees can expect to see as of the next meeting on November 16:

  • A statement on county policy regarding harassment and discrimination will be read before the meeting
  • Disruptive conduct, including loud or threatening language, whistling, clapping, stomping, and interrupting is prohibited
  • Group presentations will be limited to adjudicatory matters and land use issues with a maximum time period of four minutes per individual and a 10-minute maximum for the group
  • The public comment period will be limited to one minute per person if there are more than 10 individuals who wish to speak
  • A consent calendar will be adopted for routine or administrative items which aren’t expected to entail debate
  • Members of the public must bring their own technology for presentations
  • Continued remote participation by the public in board meetings will be codified

The policy changes were proposed by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas and can be modified as necessary. Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer called the matter “an emergency.” During last week’s meeting, an attendee said he’d like to see her hanging from a tree.

While Supervisor Anderson said he strongly condemns last week’s hateful remarks, he believes residents – especially those in rural areas – need more time to review agenda items and address the board.

“For them to drive an hour, to get one minute, concerns me greatly,” he said. “We’re allowing the hecklers’ voice to force our hand to shut down legitimate input.”