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Douglas County Board limits comments on Juvenile Justice Center at meeting

Members of the public removed from the meeting
Posted: 3:45 PM, Aug 30, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-30 22:22:49Z

Discussion about a plan for a proposed new Juvenile Justice Center in downtown Omaha is creating more debate after members of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners moved on to other items after what some say was limited public comment.

Board president Chris Rodgers tried to limit comments to reaction to presentations made at Tuesday's board meeting to meet time deadlines. Some residents, like Tyler Wilson, expressed annoyance about having his comments cut short after waiting while much longer presentations on other issues were allowed.

Commissioner James Cavanaugh told Wilson and others waiting to comment it was not an accident the agenda schedule was set to limit the public's time. Rodgers disagreed with Cavanaugh's comments, saying the board was following normal procedure.

Cavanaugh's motion to consider an alternative to the proposed $120 million downtown project died after none of the other board members would second it. One man walked to the podium to comment but was quickly moved away by a deputy.

Commissioner Mike Boyle began to address those in attendance, asking them to stay before noticing some were being taken out of the meeting by security. Boyle responded: "Oh, officers, please don't escort them out... I really don't want the taxpayers escorted out. I can't believe this — they're not doing anything, being rowdy, they're not a threat."

Afterward, Boyle tried to second Cavanaugh's motion to continue the debate but was told issue already died. Another man walked to the podium to comment before being moved and after more commotion in the room, Board President Rodgers invoked Robert's Rules of Order and moved on to the next agenda items.

 

Watch clips from the meeting

Frustrated commenter

Omaha resident Tyler Wilson got frustrated, saying he didn't feel like he had enough time to comment.

 

Avoiding public comment?

Commission Cavanaugh says agenda stacked to keep public from getting much time to comment. Board President Chris Rodgers takes issue with that.

 

Commenter removed

Cavanaugh's motion died when no one would second it. A man from crowd walked up to the podium to comment before being moved away by the deputy.

 

Comment allowed

Rodgers allows Boyle's statement, then wants to move on.

 

Public escorted out

Boyle says he's upset with how the public is being treated and tries to get them to stay. Boyle asks the officers not to escort people out and tries to second the motion, only to be shut down by Rodgers. Listen to the strong reaction in the chamber.