Jovanka Beckles, the vice mayor accused of cussing out fellow Councilmember Corky Booze during a council meeting earlier this year, is proposing new rules to punish offensive and disruptive behavior at public hearings.
“As a mental health professional, I have serious concerns about the bad behavior that we are modeling for young people and our community,” Beckles stated while introducing her proposal at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The proposal was introduced just two months after Councilmember Nat Bates accused Beckles of cursing at Booze in front of members of the public at a council meeting.
“During the recess Beckles became angry and directed F– Y– at Booze to the astonishment of the audience and other individuals in the council chambers,” Bates wrote in an email April 28. “Beckles was very much out of line not only as a lady but her language to Booze was unprofessional.”
He added the behavior “begs a session in anger management.”
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Beckles said her proposal was directed at members of the public who spew hateful speech such as racist, sexist or generally disruptive and offensive comments. She believes such behavior has been discouraging members of the public from showing up to council meetings. She wants the council to suspend public members who exhibit offensive and disruptive behavior from attending meetings.
“I don’t see how hopeful our young people can be when they see that there are no consequences for bad behavior,” Beckles said.
Bates warned the new rules could violate free speech rights.
The debate over Beckles’ proposal was continued to a future meeting after time ran out at Tuesday’s hearing. Below is the proposal as stated in the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting: