May 23, 2022

2022–2023 Pocatello City Council: Rick Cheatum, Josh Mansfield, Linda Leeuwrik, Brian Blad, Roger Bray, Chris Stevens, Claudia Ortega (left to right)

The Thursday, May 19, 2022, Pocatello City Council meeting abruptly ended when Council members Claudia Ortega and Roger Bray walked out, causing a loss of a quorum (see article, Pocatello City Council Meeting Ends Abruptly as Two Council Members Walk Out | Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer (pocatellochubbuckobserver.com)).  Council Member Bray has issued the following statement on the incident:

At our last council meeting, I left because Claudia Ortega was mistreated.  Her mistreatment happens too regularly.  The way we operate keeps shifting to ensure that as a Latina woman, she is subject to the white majority.  She requested to have two items removed from the consent agenda and discuss them as separate items.  She was not even allowed to address those items.  Instead, a motion was made and seconded to combine the items and approve them.  The mayor nixed the process of being able to debate motions.  The mayor and some council members ignore how governance is supposed to function!

It is a calculated insult not to extend the opportunity to discuss the motion.  I left to support her and give impetus to having business conducted in a more orderly and appropriate fashion.  All she was seeking was the opportunity to address finance items for which she desired clarification.  Respecting everyone’s chance to be engaged in the decision-making process is a fundamental right that should be honored and safeguarded.

What people fail to realize is that the democratic process allows everyone the opportunity to be heard and shuns the idea of fencing out people.

 

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