SAN DIEGO — Content warning: This story includes language that may be offensive to some readers
San Diego County Board of Supervisors have seen an increase in incivility at the meetings throughout the pandemic, but Tuesday night’s meeting was different.
“The situation is just getting worse and worse for every meeting,” said board chair Nathan Fletcher.
There was a heated back and forth exchange at the meeting after one speaker from the audience named Jason Robo lashed out a litany of insults to the board members.
"Vargas, I can't wait for your arteries to clog, they are not doing it fast enough. Nathan, you should kill yourself. I don’t know where you are but a dishonorable discharge would be you blowing your brains out. So let’s see you tweet that. Blowing your bird brains out. Lemur, as I’d like to call you, Lawson-Remer, you are a little monkey I’d like to see you hanging from a tree,” said Robo, whose self-titled website lists him as a self-employed standup comedian.
Robo didn't stop there, he also insulted San Diego County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten by using a racist remark and expletive, to which County Supervisor Nora Vargas clapped back and even cussed at the speaker.
“You are not to say that to her," Vargas said. "I am going to ask you to apologize to her.”
Robo said "no," and “oh wow, so this is the first time that you responded. Oh they actually respond. Let's have a dialogue.”
San Diego NAACP President Francine Maxwell said Robo's remarks went too far.
“The NAACP San Diego branch and its membership were appalled. [Dr. Wooten] is employed. She is not elected and she is the top official. It was disgusting. Maybe that man would like people to come to his place of employment and do what he did last night,” Maxwell said.
Chairman Nathan Fletcher also responded at the meeting.
“Jason Robo, your comments earlier were blatantly racist. I don’t think you believe anything that you say. I think you come down here to see how outrageous you can be,” Fletcher said.
Maxwell said the board needs to prevent future, racist outbursts from continuing to happen by setting new protocols in place.
"Someone yelling expletives; talking about someone's weight; and someone being called a monkey, have we really sunken that low?" Maxwell said. "The problem was is that he was race-baiting. Calling a Black woman of her stature with her credentials, with her degrees an Aunt Jemima - it was completely disrespectful. She has consistently been attacked for over 18 months. We need to go ahead and have the chairman set a policy and create a safe work environment because that man should’ve been stopped well before Nora had said something."
Fletcher says under current bylaws, speakers can say whatever they want in their allotted time, but that could change if the board decides to make revisions and vote on new rules on its Nov. 17. meeting.
“I'm going to assess the rules and procedures. We are going to always comply with all applicable laws, but I think we can expect some changes to come to how the meetings are conducted. This isn’t about free speech or disagreement, this is about decency,” Fletcher said.
WATCH RELATED: Heated exchange after racially charged comments at San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting