Controversy over public comments at Gainesville City Commission meeting

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - At the Gainesville City Commission meeting on July 18, there was some applause during the public comment portion, which is technically prohibited.

That prompted Mayor Lauren Poe to have some residents evicted by a police officer.

At the August 15 meeting, once again, a man was escorted out of the room.

Prior to the August 15 meeting, retired attorney Gabe Kaimowitz was urging people to join him in boo'ing during the evening session.

Although there was no audible boo'ing, Kaimowitz did express his concerns during the public comments, and when he continued speaking past his allotted time, things got tense.

Mayor Poe told Kaimowitz that his actions were "inconsistent with the orderly function of the meeting," and had him escorted out of the room.

"I'm asking the sergeant of arms, the city manager to have him removed from this site and, if deemed necessary, to remove you from the building," announced Mayor Poe. "We are in recess."

The public comment period continued after the short recess, with many residents using their time to criticize the way recent Gainesville City Commission meetings have been handled, especially when it comes to public comments.