Residents protest Gillette’s racist comments
KINGMAN – More than a dozen people staged a peaceful demonstration before Monday’s Mohave County Board of Supervisors meeting in Kingman, drawing public attention to their view that Planning and Zoning Commission member Lajuana Gillette recently posted insensitive comments on her Facebook page. They held signs and placards as they positioned along a sidewalk area at the entrance to the county complex downtown.
Several of them attended the meeting and addressed Board members during the Call to The Public. They repeated their allegation that Gillette’s comments about the browning of America represents racism and they continued to call for sanction, if not her removal from the Commission.
Jennifer Esposito countered that any action toward Gillette would infringe upon the First Amendment. “We have a free speech right to be offensive,” she said.
Mark Shaver urged each supervisor to make statements so that the public will know where they stand on the controversy. Board members declined comment, the meeting began and there was no change in the status of a battle that Gillette critics promise to continue.
Supervisors picked a site for a new animal shelter that will be constructed over the next year. The county has designated use of up to $2 million to fund construction of a new shelter to replace a dilapidated facility on Buchanan Street.
Supervisor Gary Watson said he did not like one proposed location near the old National Guard Armory downtown because he thought sewer connection expenses would cut too deeply into the project budget. Supervisor Buster Johnson said he liked the Armory area site because it was closer to the county’s cluster of buildings downtown and because he thought the other site could net better return if sold by the county.
Johnson and supervisor Ron Gould dissented in the 3-2 vote on Watson’s motion to build the new shelter on 3.5-acres of a 25-acre county-owned parcel just west of Centennial Park on Burbank Street, and north of the county district library. Watson said the site is more central to the community and that he thought adoption rates might be better suited given recreation and other traffic in the area.
County Manager Mike Hendrix said staff will develop a new fee structure that will cost more for the City of Kingman to place an average of about 600 dogs at the shelter each year. “I believe that the City of Kingman has been getting a good deal for a long, long time,” Hendrix said.
Hendrix, Watson and supervisor Jean Bishop said there will still be sufficient room for proposed development of a community lake in the same area, should the City of Kingman support moving that project forward.